COLUMBIA, Mo. — Harrison Mevis kicked a 30-yard field goal with five seconds remaining, and Brady Cook completed 20 of 34 passes for 326 yards and a touchdown to help No. 11 Missouri rally past Florida 33-31 on Saturday night.
“It’s what they brought me here to do,” Mevis said. “I’m an operation kicker. I’m supposed to go in and make those kicks for the team and help us win. It’s a testament to the offense for putting me in position to go do that.”
Cody Schrader carried the ball 23 times for 148 yards and a touchdown, Luther Burden III caught nine passes for 158 yards, and Mevis converted all four of his field goal attempts as Missouri (9-2, 5-2 SEC, No. 9 CFP) narrowly avoided losing to an unranked opponent for the first time this season.
Montrell Johnson Jr. had 12 carries for 85 yards and Trevor Etienne ran 15 times for 82 yards and a touchdown as Florida (5-6, 3-5) gained 261 yards on 40 carries in its fourth straight loss.
Gators starting quarterback Graham Mertz completed 14 of 21 passes for 183 yards and two touchdowns with an interception before exiting with 2:09 remaining in the third quarter with a non-displaced collarbone fracture.
Mertz left the field holding his collarbone after handing off to Johnson. Mertz appeared to hurt himself initiating contact with Missouri defenders Tre’Vez Johnson and Ennis Rakestraw Jr. on the previous play.
“He’ll be out for a little bit,” Florida coach Billy Napier said. “We’ll have more information whether it’s surgical or not. I think right now the belief is it may not be, but we’ll need to get more images before we make that decision.”
Redshirt freshman Max Brown completed four of five passes for 56 yards in relief of Mertz and gained 42 yards on seven carries.
“Give Max some credit,” Napier said. “Max settled in there a little bit and made a few plays. Obviously, he’s a good athlete and we were able to use his legs a little bit and the read game. He made some throws as well.”
Cook connected with Burden on a 27-yard reception with Missouri facing fourth-and-17 from its own 33-yard line with 38 seconds remaining to help put the Tigers in field-goal range for Mevis.
“It’s Luther,” Cook said. “He’s getting healthier and you can see that on the field. He’s confident. He’s back on the field making plays.”
Trey Smack kicked a 35-yard field goal with 1:35 remaining to give Florida a 31-30 lead.
Etienne scored his second touchdown of the game on a 9-yard run with 7:49 left to cut Missouri’s lead to 30-28.
Missouri went up 30-21 with 13:14 to go when Theo Wease Jr. hauled in a 77-yard touchdown pass from Cook two plays after Kristian Williams recovered a fumble by Brown as he attempted to hand off to Montrell Johnson Jr. at the Missouri 19-yard line.
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“I thought it was really big, the takeaway in the red zone and then to score to go up nine,″ Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz said. “I really felt like that might have been the dagger that put them away. Defensively we were just not consistent tonight. We had them behind the chains, we let the quarterback scramble and they were able to get the fourth down. We were just really leaky in our run fits and we’ve got a lot of work to do this week to get that stuff fixed.”
Burden hauled in a 48-yard reception from Cook with a roughing-the-passer penalty tacked on, but Florida’s defense held in the red zone for the third time as Mevis kicked a 25-yard field goal to give Missouri a 23-21 lead with 3:53 remaining in the third quarter.
Florida pulled ahead 21-20 when Ricky Piersall scored on an end around from 38 yards out.
Cook scored from inside Florida’s 1-yard line with 8:53 remaining in the third quarter to put Missouri back on top 20-14.
Etienne pulled in a 37-yard touchdown reception with 11:54 to play in the third to push Florida ahead 14-13.
Mevis connected on a 38-yard field goal with 1:49 left in the first half to expand Missouri’s lead to 13-10.
Missouri pulled ahead 10-7 after Schrader ran unimpeded for 43 yards into the end zone on the Tigers’ second play of the second quarter.
Mertz connected with Eugene Wilson III on a 9-yard touchdown pass to put Florida up 7-3 with 7:49 remaining in the first quarter.
Florida: Hosts rival Florida State next Saturday night needing a win to earn bowl eligibility.
Missouri: Plays at Arkansas on Friday.
By DAVID SOLOMON, Associated Press