Updated: Nov 10
Coming into their annual seismic tilt in Jacksonville, the eighth-ranked Florida Gators and the seventh-ranked Georgia Bulldogs were both looking to have questions answered. And there is no better game than “The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party” to provide clarity.
That it did, as Florida outpaced the Bulldogs in a 44-28 win. While Georgia was still searching for a consistent offense, the Gators needed to know if their defense would show up for the second week in a row and if their high-flying offense could finally help Dan Mullen overcome Kirby Smart for the first time since 2008.
Once the game started, Florida looked like it may fall victim to the issues that plagued them against the Bulldogs the last three years. On their first two drives, Georgia literally raced out to a 14-0 lead following a 75-yard touchdown run by Zamir “Zeus” White on the opening play from scrimmage.
Three minutes later, a Stetson Bennett IV touchdown pass to Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint saw both players suffer injuries. While Rosemy was unable to return, Bennett gutted out his tweaked shoulder until Florida cornerback Kaiir Elam’s third quarter interception sent him to the bench. The Bulldogs starting quarterback would end his day a paltry 5-of-16 for 1 touchdown and 1 interception, but we’re getting ahead ourselves.
After failing to score on their opening drive for the first time this season, Trask and the Gators turned on the burners, scoring 41 of the next 48 points. In the first half, Trask threw four touchdown passes to the quartet of Justin Shorter, Kyle Pitts, Kemore Gamble and Trevon Grimes.
Speaking of Kyle Pitts, the all-star tight end made his presence known in the first half including a touchdown catch on a 50-50 ball that the announcers referred to as a “95-5” when throwing Pitts’ way. Regrettably, he would be knocked out of the game later in the second after receiving a nasty hit by FS Lewis Cine that drew a necessary targeting penalty.
As previously mentioned, though, Trask had his pick of weapons to throw — to even without the efforts of Pitts — in the second half, as he completed passes to 10 different receivers. Trask would finish the day 30-of-43 with 474 passing yards, 4 touchdowns and 1 interception – officially cementing his status as a Heisman contender.
While the second half saw the game slow down considerably, the Gators defense managed to allow only seven points to the Bulldogs offense in the final 56 minutes of the game following Georgia’s 14 point outburst at the start. Fittingly, the game ended on a pair of interceptions by Florida’s Shawn Davis and Amari Burney in the fourth quarter.
Mullen’s Gators will take on Feleipe Franks and the Arkansas Razorbacks next week in what could be a trap game coming off an exhilarating win in the “Cocktail Party.”
- Trask’s 474 yards set a personal record for the quarterback. He ended the day 8 yards shy of the Gators’ all-time record for passing yards in a game set by Tim Tebow.
- Trask also finished with the most passing yards for a Gators quarterback ever against Georgia.
- 44 points is the most points a Dan Mullen coach squad has ever scored against Kirby Smart.
- Gators kicker Evan McPherson was 3 of 4 on field goals for the day with two field goals of 50+ yards.