GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Missouri and Florida got into a benches-clearing scuffle at halftime that included several players throwing punches. Coaches Eli Drinkwitz and Dan Mullen got in the middle of it, too.
Florida’s Mullen had to be pulled away several times and was so irate by the end of the exchange that he came back out of the tunnel for a rousing curtain call from the home crowd.
It all started when Missouri’s Trajan Jeffcoat delivered a late hit on Florida quarterback Kyle Trask after he released a desperation pass at the end of the second quarter. The ball fell incomplete, and Trask landed hard on his back. His linemen came to his defense. So did Mullen, who started screaming at the officials and the opposing sideline.
Mullen was already seething over what he believed were several missed calls in the opening 30 minutes of play.
Players from both teams and benches converged near Missouri’s sideline, and wild punches could be seen flying from different directions.
Officials and coaches eventually regained control. The referee huddled Drinkwitz and Mullen near the goal line and then announced three ejections: Missouri defensive lineman Tre Williams, Florida defensive end Zach Carter and Florida linebacker Antwuan Powell.
The rest of the teams were given unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, meaning another one would result in an ejection.
Fans chanted Mullen’s name as he came back out for the third quarter.
The 10th-ranked Gators led 20-7 at the break.