GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Florida has reason to celebrate, although it's not enough to elicit much reaction from coach Will Muschamp or his players.
Mike Gillislee took a screen pass and went 45 yards for a touchdown, and the No. 8 Gators used stifling defense to stave off Southeastern Conference newcomer Missouri 14-7 on Saturday.
Florida rebounded from a turnover-filled loss to rival Georgia, clinched at least a share of the SEC's Eastern Division and eclipsed last season's win total.
The Gators hardly seemed to care.
"I took this job understanding fully the expectation is to go to Atlanta and win a championship," Muschamp said. "I've made my comment about how I feel about your season if that's not accomplished. We've made strides, but we're not where we want to be."
Florida could still get there.
The Gators (8-1, 7-1 SEC) need the Bulldogs to lose one of their remaining games, against Mississippi on Saturday or Auburn next week, to clinch a spot in the league title game.
At times, Florida looked less than interested in staying in the SEC hunt. The Gators were shut out in the first half, managing just 111 yards and failing to contain Missouri quarterback James Franklin.
But like it has in so many other games this season, Florida played considerably better in the second half.
The Gators turned two short fields into touchdowns, with Omarius Hines scoring on a 36-yard jet sweep to tie the game in the third before Gillislee put Florida ahead for good in the fourth.
"We gave up too many big plays," Missouri linebacker Will Ebner said. "We put this loss on our back because we allowed them to score more points than our offense scored. We're never going to blame someone else. You've got to have each other's back. We shut them out the first half, why couldn't we do it in the second half?"
Jeff Driskel lofted a pass to Gillislee in the right flat, and with two blockers out front, Gillislee made one cut and went untouched for his eighth score of the season.
The defense did the rest, stopping Missouri on six consecutive drives that ended in Florida territory.
"I always tell them, 'You're the firemen. Go put the fire out,'" Muschamp said. "I don't care how bad it's blazing. Go put it out. And regardless of the situations and circumstances, when you walk on the field, your job is to stop them. ... It's an opportunity for greatness. You go out and make a stop on the goal line. You want to be great, be put in those situations and do it."
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