KICKOFF: Saturday, 12:21 p.m. ET
SITE: Faurot Field, Columbia, Mo.
TV: SEC TV/ESPN 3
SERIES: Florida and Missouri are tied 1-1(Last meeting, 2012, Florida 14-7)
AP RANKINGS: Florida No. 22, Missouri No. 14
KEYS TO THE GAME
Banged-up Florida is still holding out hope that it can turn its season around.
That challenge will begin Saturday at surging Missouri. Coming off a 17-6 loss to LSU, the Gators (4-2, 3-1 SEC) can still rally to win the SEC East division.
"We still would like to have that game (LSU), but we do have everything in front of us that we want to accomplish this season which is winning the SEC East and going to Atlanta," Florida senior defensive back Jaylen Watkins said. "We have to just refocus and get ready to go."
Missouri will present a second straight tough road test for Florida. The unbeaten Tigers (6-0, 2-0 SEC) are coming off a 41-26 upset win at Georgia.
But the win came at a price. Missouri starting quarterback James Franklin suffered a separated shoulder against the Bulldogs and will be out 3 to 5 weeks. Redshirt freshman Maty Mauk will start at quarterback against the Gators.
But Florida has its own injury issues. On Monday, Florida coach Will Muschamp announced starting running back Matt Jones will be out for the season after suffering a knee injury against LSU. Jones underwent surgery Monday to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee.
"I hate it for Matt," Muschamp said. "He's a great young man."
Jones is the seventh season-ending injury the Gators have endured this season -- a list that includes QB Jeff Driskel (broken leg), DT Dominique Easley (torn ACL), right tackle Chas Green (torn labrum), WR/KR Andre Debose (torn ACL), LB Matt Rolin (torn ACL) and DB Nick Washington (shoulder surgery).
"It's unfortunate," Muschamp said. "More than anything, I hate it for the young men. They put a lot of time and effort into playing this game and for that to happen, I'm disappointed for them first of all. That's what hurts the most, to see guys go through the struggle and having to make that phone call and tell them what's going on or having to walk them in the training room to tell them what's happening. That's very frustrating for a young man with as much time and effort as they put into it."
There is a reward coming for the Gators beyond the likely jump in the debut BCS standings this weekend.
"We have a bye week the week after, so this is a big week for us. Nothing would be worse than losing to Missouri going into a bye week. That's in the back of everyone's head. Everyone is ready to go and ready to get this game on the road," quarterback Tyler Murphy said.
It could have been worse for 14th-ranked Missouri (6-0, 2-0 SEC).
Reports surfaced on Saturday that the injury to Franklin's throwing shoulder would end his season. Coming hours after Missouri's biggest road win under Gary Pinkel, it served as a sobering reminder for how important Franklin is to Missouri.