GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Jaydon Hill intercepted two passes, including one he returned 49 yards for a touchdown, and Florida held on to beat Missouri 24-17 on Saturday to end a six-game skid in Southeastern Conference play.
Hill’s pick-6 was among a bevy of big plays that gave the Gators (4-2, 1-2 SEC) their first league victory in a year. His second interception ended a third-quarter drive that had reached Florida’s 16-yard line.
It was a breakout performance for Hill, a third-year sophomore who was playing his second game since returning from a knee injury that wiped out his 2021 season. Hill had been a projected starter this past spring but needed arthroscopic surgery in the summer after tweaking the same knee again.
Hill’s play against the Tigers (2-4, 0-3) also backed up his comments earlier this week when he said Missouri is “just not supposed to” beat Florida.
Of course, it happened five times in the previous 10 meetings. The Gators, who entered the game as 10 1/2-point favorites according to FanDuel Sportsbook, looked like they might be in trouble again after gaining just 65 yards in the first half.
But coach Billy Napier turned to the ground game in the second half, getting long runs from Montrell Johnson (36, 41), Trevor Etienne (39) and Anthony Richardson (32) to find the end zone.
The Gators finished with 231 yards rushing, including 212 in the second half. Johnson led the way with 86 yards and a touchdown.
Still, it was Florida's defense that clinched the game. The Gators stopped a fourth-and-2 play with 1:17 remaining to put the Tigers away.
Richardson completed 8 of 14 passes for 66 yards, with a touchdown and an interception. It was his fifth straight game with at least one turnover. He also ran for 45 yards.
Brady Cook was 22-of-30 passing for 220 yards for Missouri. Nathaniel Peat ran for 117 yards and a score.