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Instant Recap: Gators Win the East!

The Florida Gators are the beasts of the East once again!

For the first time since 2016 the University of Florida will be representing the Southeastern Conference’s Eastern division in Atlanta. Despite another slow start, the blue-lidded Gators (8-1) blew past the Tennessee Volunteers (2-6) 31-19.

While this week was important for the Gators for the sake of clinching the division, the game played out much like the rest of the season. Some promising early drives stalled and Mullen’s squad saw themselves in a 7-3 hole in the second quarter. Florida was no stranger to early deficits to inferior opponents. Down 10-7 to both Kentucky and Vanderbilt in the second quarter, the Gators executed their game plan in the same way. A pair of two-minute drives later and the Gators had taken a 17-7 lead before halftime.

Coming out of the break, Trask led another drive of roughly two minutes and capped it off with his third passing touchdown and Grimes second receiving touchdown of the evening. All of a sudden, the blue-capped visitors had pounced to 24-7 lead.

To Tennessee’s credit, the Vols would not quit. Down 31-7, the Volunteers engineered a pair of scoring drives on their final two drives of the game against a Gators defense that had begun to mix in its backups. Two of Tennessee’s three scoring drives were on drives on 94 and 96 yards as well.

While Todd Grantham’s defense certainly was disappointing in the fourth quarter, teams need to win all sorts of games on their way to a championship. Ultimately, Florida punched its ticket to Atlanta and would have covered the spread if not for Tennessee’s aforementioned late score against the backups.

If Florida hopes to be victorious in the SEC Championship two weeks from now, they would need elite quarterback play like they have seen from Trask all season. Tonight was no exception. The Heisman-frontrunning signal-caller went 35 of 49 for 433 yards passing, 4 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions yet again... plus a punt.

In a season that’s got Florida fans thinking of Spurrier’s offenses, Trask had a little more of the Head Ball Coach’s magic in him. Late in the fourth quarter on 4 and 14, Trask took the ball and kicked it to the Vols four-yard line.

Trask didn’t do it alone, though. Kadarius Toney logged another 100+ yard receiving game with a

touchdown, Trevon Grimes caught two more touchdowns for 55 yards, and Jacob Copeland hauled in three passes for 57 yards and a score. While Kyle Pitts may not have had any touchdowns on the night, he did collect 7 passes for 128 yards and the play of the game on a beautiful leaping catch down the sideline.

Florida will look to maintain its winning streak and CFP hopes in the season finale against the LSU

Tigers at home next week.

Extra Points:

- Kyle Trask is now only one touchdown away from tying Danny Wuerffel’s record of 39 passing

touchdowns in a season set in 1996.

- Trask is also the first Florida quarterback with three 400+ yard passing games in a season.

- Evan McPherson was 1-of-2 for the night, notching a short field goal in the first and missing a 53-yarder in the second.

- The Gators managed a paltry 19 rushing yards while putting up 433 passing.

Photo Credit: Jordan Herald/@JordanHerald5/UF Football


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