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UF Football: Notes & Quotes from 31-19 win over Tennessee

Courtesy of University Athletic Association

No. 6 Florida 31, Tennessee 19
December 5, 2020
Neyland Stadium – Knoxville, Tenn.

Gators Clinch SEC Championship Berth

  • The Gators clinched a spot in the SEC Championship Game for the 13th time in program history and the first since 2016.
    • Florida’s 13 all-time SEC Championship Game appearances are the most in league history, ahead of Alabama (12 entering tonight) and Georgia (eight).

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Gators’ Receiving Corps Enters Territory Seen Once in School History

  • Trevon Grimes, Kyle Pitts, and Kadarius Toney become the second Gators trio in school history with at least eight receiving touchdowns in a season.
    • The other trio came from the 1996 Gators: Reidel Anthony (18), Ike Hilliard (10), Jacquez Green (nine)
    • Prior to this season, there were only five Gators duos in school history with eight receiving touchdowns in a season.
      • 2001 – Jabar Gaffney (13), Reche Caldwell (10)
      • 1998 – Travis McGriff (10), Travis Taylor (nine)
      • 1996 – Reidel Anthony (18), Ike Hilliard (10), Jacquez Green (nine)
      • 1995 – Chris Doering (17), Ike Hilliard (15)
      • 1991 – Willie Jackson (10), Harrison Houston (eight)
  • Florida has four 400-yard passing games in a season for the first time since 2001 (seven times) and for the fourth time in school history (also four times in 1995, five times in 1998).
  • Florida has eight games of 300-plus passing yards in consecutive seasons for the second time in school history, with the other occurrence coming in 1995 and 1996.
    • This is the seventh season in Gators history with eight 300-yard passing games – 2001 (12 games), 1996 (10 games), 1998 (nine), 1995 (nine), 2019 (eight), 1993 (eight).
    • 2020 and 2001 are the only seasons in history the Gators had eight 300-yard passing games against SEC teams (note: the SEC expanded to an eight-game league schedule in 1992).
  • Florida has 3,000 passing yards in consecutive seasons for the first time since 2006 and 2007.
  • Florida has seven consecutive 300-yard passing games for the first time since a 14-game streak that began with the 2001 Sugar Bowl, spanned the entire 2001 season, and ended the week after the 2002 season-opening rout of UAB.
    • UF has not had another streak longer than six games since at least the start of 1981.
  • This is the 17th time UF reached 300 passing yards under Mullen, one fewer than it totaled in 168 games comprising the 2005-17 seasons.

By The Numbers: Trask Climbing FBS, SEC, and School Record Lists

  • 38 – Touchdown passes by Kyle Trask this season.
    • Passes Texas Tech’s B.J. Symons (2003) and San Diego State’s Dennis Shaw (1969) for the third-most passing touchdowns through the first nine games of a season in FBS history.
      • Andre Ware, Houston, 1989 – 40 [had 463 attempts / 51.4 attempts per game]
      • Colt Brennan, Hawaii, 2006 – 39 [had 340 attempts / 37.8 per game]
      • Kyle Trask, Florida, 2020 – 38
      • B.J. Symons, Texas Tech, 2003 – 37 [had 510 attempts / 56.7 per game]
      • Dennis Shaw, San Diego State, 1969 – 37 [had 305 attempts / 33.9 per game]
      • David Klingler, Houston, 1990 – 36 [had 515 attempts / 57.2 per game]
      • Graham Harrell, Texas Tech, 2007 – 35 [had 478 attempts / 53.1 per game]
    • Passes Kentucky’s Tim Couch (1997) and Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel (2013) for sixth on the SEC’s single-season record list.
    • Moves him within one of Danny Wuerffel’s single-season school record (39 in 1996).
      • Also broke ties with Rex Grossman (34 in 2001) and Danny Wuerffel (35 in 1995) and moves to second on UF’s single-season record list.
      • Trask’s second touchdown pass of the day – a 2-yarder to Kadarius Toney – broke the tie with Wuerffel’s 1995 season (1995).
      • Trask’s first of the day – a 4-yarder to Trevon Grimes – broke the tie with Grossman.
  • 4 – Touchdown passes by Trask tonight
    • Became the ninth FBS quarterback since 2000 with seven games of four-plus passing touchdowns in a season.
      • Colt Brennan , Hawaii (10 in 2006 – Games 3-11, 10th came in bowl game)
      • Joe Burrow ,LSU (nine in 2019 – the last three came in LSU’s 13th, 14th, 15th games)
      • Sam Bradford, Oklahoma (eight in 2008 – last four came in OU’s 9-12th games)
      • Omar Jacobs, BowlingGreen (eight in 2004 – three in final four games of 12-game season)
      • Derek Carr, Fresno St.(seven in 2013 – three in final five games of 13-game season)
      • Graham Harrell, Texas Tech (seven in 2007 – No.7 came in Game 11)
      • B.J. Symons, Texas Tech (seven in 2003 – No. 7 came in 13th game, a bowl)
      • David Carr, Fresno St. (seven in 2001 – had five in final six games of 14-game year)
    • Trask threw four-plus touchdown passes for the eighth time in his career, tying Doug Johnson (1996-99) for the second-most career games of four-plus passing TDs in UF history.
      • Danny Wuerffel (1993-96) holds the school record with 12.
      • Seven of Trask’s eight have come against SEC teams, which is second only to Wuerffel’s 11.
    • Trask extended his school-record streak of games with three-plus touchdown passes and became the first FBS player in the last 15 seasons to accomplish the feat in nine consecutive games.
  • 433 – Passing yards for Trask tonight
    • Rank 10th on the program’s single-game school record list.
    • Joins Trask with Wuerffel (four) as the only quarterbacks in Gators history with three career 400-yard passing games.
      • Trask is the only quarterback in UF history with three 400-yard outings in a season. o
    • Give Trask seven 300-yard passing games this year, marking the second time in program history a Gators quarterback logged at least seven 300-yard passing games in a season.
      • Grossman had the only other season, recording 10 such outings in 2001.
    • Give Trask nine career games of 300-plus passing yards against an SEC opponent, tying Shane Matthews (1989-92) for the third-highest total in school history.
      • Grossman (12 – 2000-02) and Wuerffel (10 – 1993-96) are the only Gators with more 300-yard games against SEC teams.
    • Mark the 11th 300-yard passing game of Trask’s career, adding to the fourth-highest total in school history.
    • Mark the 17th consecutive game with 200-plus passing yards for Trask, tying Shane Matthews (last five of 1990, all 11 in 1991, 1992 opener) for the longest streak in UF history.
  • 3,243 – Passing yards this season for Trask
    • Ranks sixth on the school’s single-season record list.
      • Trask’s 28-yard completion to Jacob Copeland in the second quarter gave him the ninth 3,000-yard passing season in school history and first since Tim Tebow threw for 3,286 in 2007.
  • 168 – Consecutive attempts without an interception for Trask
    • Eclipses the second-longest streak in school history previously held by John Brantley (157 consecutive attempts across the 2008, 2009, and 2010 seasons).
      • Tim Tebow holds the school record with 203 consecutive attempts without an interception across the 2007 and 2008 seasons.
  • 64 Career touchdown passes for Trask
    • His third touchdown pass today – an 8-yarder to Trevon Grimes – was the 63rd of his career and moved him past Doug Johnson (1996-99) for sixth on the program’s all-time list.
  • 35 Completions for Trask tonight
    • Ranks second on the program’s single-game record list, only behind Rex Grossman’s 36 against Georgia in 2002.

Pitts Sets School Record with Third Career 100-Yard Outing

  • Kyle Pitts logged his third career 100-yard receiving game, breaking the school record jointly held by three Gators – a trio that included Kirk Kirkpatrick (1987-90), Ben Troupe (2000-03), and Aaron Hernandez (2007-09).
  • Pitts is the third Gators tight end with multiple 100-yard games in a season (Aaron Hernandez in 2009, and Troupe in 2003).

Gators Offense

  • Florida has seven consecutive games of 400-plus total yards against SEC opponents for the first time since at least 1981.
  • The Gators’ eight games of 400-plus total yards against SEC opponents are a single-season school record (note: the SEC expanded to an eight-game league schedule in 1992).
    • The only Gators teams since 1981 with seven 400-yard outings against SEC teams in the same season were 2004, 2001, 1996, 1995, and 1994.
  • The Gators have eight games of 400-plus total yards in consecutive seasons for the first time since 2007 and 2008, Mullen’s final two seasons as offensive coordinator.
  • Today is the 22nd time the Gators amassed 400-plus total yards under Mullen, two more 400-yard outings than they had in the 75 games comprising the 2012-17 seasons.
    • The Gators have eclipsed 400 total yards in 20 of their last 26 games.

Florida Special Teams

  • Evan McPherson entered today ranked second among FBS kickers with 50 attempts since the start of 2018, and after a 1-for-2 performance today, his career percentage went up to 88.4 (46 of 52).

Explosive Plays

  • Kadarius Toney (from Trask): 23-yard reception, 1st quarter
  • Kadarius Toney (from Trask): 22-yard reception, 1st quarter
  • Kadarius Toney (from Trask): 20-yard reception, 2nd quarter
  • Jacob Copeland (from Trask): 28-yard reception, 2nd quarter
  • Kyle Pitts (from Trask): 42-yard reception, 3rd quarter
  • Jacob Copeland: 17-yard rush, 3rd quarter
  • Kyle Pitts (from Trask): 21-yard reception, 4th quarter

Series Updates

  • Florida improves its all-time record against Tennessee to 30-20, and it raises its record against the Volunteers in Knoxville to 14-12.
  • The Gators have won 15 of the last 16 meetings in the series.

Other

  • Florida Game Captains: Marco Wilson
  • Florida won the toss and deferred to the second half; Florida defended the south end zone
  • Attendance: 22,943

2020 Florida Football Postgame Quotes

Dan Mullen, Florida Head Coach

On clinching a spot in the SEC Championship Game despite not having a great performance…

“It shows where the program is at. We’re (up) 31-7 when cleanup time starts and we just kind of clean up the game to finish it out, and we say that’s not a very good game by us, or not one of our great performances. Shows where we’re at as a program, which says a lot. I’m really proud of our guys. Really proud of how we played. Played a great defensive game. We’ve got to finish it there when we get to the cleanup time at the end of the game. When we start subbing guys in, they’ve got to come in and slam the door and not give up the two garbage-time touchdowns they scored there at the end. Overall, pretty pleased with how we played for the day. Some mistakes. Some things we’ve got to get cleaned up. Winning the SEC East this year, the hardest year in the history of this league when you’re going to play 10 regular season conference games, to win our division is pretty special. It shows a lot of [where] the team is at, and [where] the coaches and our whole program is at.”

On Brian Johnson having an opportunity to interview for the South Carolina job…

“I’m happy (for) all our guys to get opportunities. I do think we have a very underrated coaching staff. I’ve said that a lot. I get a lot of credit, and I probably get too much credit. There are a bunch of guys on our staff that would make great head coaches. We’ve had some guys through the years with John Hevesy and Billy Gonzales, and Brian get coaching interviews. I have some former coaches in Manny Diaz that’s now a head coach at Miami – he didn’t come directly from us – Geoff Collins as well… kind of a shame guys don’t get looked at and get more opportunities. I think we’ve got a great staff, think we have a great program, I think our coaches do an awesome job. I’d love to see guys like Todd Grantham get opportunities to go be a head coach, and with Brian, with all of our guys, that’s what everybody wants. Programs will be really pleased if they gave those guys an opportunity to go show what they can do.”

On how daunting the season has been…

“One, you have the COVID deal. You have the guys who decided to opt out before the season starts. We come in today’s game, and we are already down to our third-string safety by the fifth play of the game it seems like. And you’re doing it against excellent football teams. This is the SEC. One thing the league is not getting credit for is we’re playing these. If we were playing four, five, six games or something, who knows what the records would be. When you’re looking at all these teams in this league, you expect most people to go 4-0 or 3-1 outside the league. That’s usually what happens. You start throwing 4-0 on to the current win totals of teams in this league, you’d be pretty surprised. It is such a huge challenge. You’re talking about, top to bottom, the best league in college football. When you are that top to bottom, that’s where these challenges come from every single week. There is no breather when you’re playing an all-SEC schedule. There is no chance to catch your breath. It’s a huge deal for our guys to be able to come win the league with that type of year we’re going through.”

On whether he danced in the locker room tonight…

“No. I think our guys are really excited. Think our guys are happy. This is what we worked for was this opportunity to go win the East. But I think our guys are also very driven. We’re going to enjoy this win, but I think our guys also know they’re going to get ready to get back to work next week and get better. The goal is to win the East, because that’s what we can control coming into the season. You go to our guys, they want to accomplish an awful a lot more than that, but that’s all we can control coming into a season. We were able to do that. Now we have the opportunity to control being SEC champions. That’s the next step. We’ve got to start preparing for that two weeks from today.”

On what it means for him to reach his first SEC Championship game as a head coach…

“it means a lot. I’m a perfectionist. I’m critical of every little detail that goes on during a game, and I’m starting to analyze ways we can get better. [Athletic Director] Scott Stricklin came up and told me to put a smile on my face… because this was what we worked for. I’m thrilled. I came to Florida to have the opportunity to win championships. That is the reason I came here. Now we’re SEC East champs and we have the opportunity to be SEC champs. That’s what you work for all the time. That’s what we worked for since the day I got here a little over three years ago.”

On whether the pooch punt should go on Trask’s Heisman resume…

“Yeah. You need a Heisman moment, right? Maybe that was his Heisman moment. Pinning them deep on the pooch punt.”

2020 Florida Football Postgame Quotes

Florida Student-Athletes

#8 Trevon Grimes, Senior, Wide Receiver

On being an SEC East champion…

“It feels very good. This season, there’s been a lot of adversity having to deal with COVID and COVID tests all the time. Knowing we accomplished our goal at the beginning of the season to win the SEC East, it’s very phenomenal, and knowing we’re getting on the flight home victorious is something we can only dream about. And dreams come true. Now we just gotta go out and win the SEC Championship.”

On whether his second touchdown reception was actually thrown to Jacob Copeland…

“Personally, I’m not sure. Like I said, we have a receiver group that is happy when anyone scores. Regardless of if it was supposed to go to me or it was supposed to go to him, he was happy for me. I know when he went down and he scored his touchdown, I was the second one over there, and congratulated him. He was like ‘I got it! I got it!’ I don’t know if it was supposed to go to him, but either way, we both scored and we’re both happy and excited for each other.”

On this being the first step toward something bigger…

“Yeah, it definitely is. We still have a lot more football to play. We take on LSU next week and then we’re going to go and face whoever plays in the SEC Championship, so we have a lot of football left and we’re looking forward to it. Like Coach Mullen said, ‘Cheers to this victory, but we need to get back to work’ and we’re going to get back to work and go do what we have to do and win these College Football Playoffs.”

On Kyle Trask and his Heisman candidacy…

“I already think he should win it just off the sole [basis] that he’s a phenomenal quarterback. Every day I see it in practice, like I say. Week in, week out I see it. Just for him to come out under lights and do what he has to do and throw four touchdowns and however many yards he threw for, a lot, it’s just phenomenal to see. I’m very happy for him and, like I said, I think he deserves to win it after everything he overcame and all the stuff he’s been through. To have a season like he’s having, it’s a no-brainer.”

#11 Kyle Trask, Redshirt Senior, Quarterback

On winning the SEC East…

“It feels amazing. That was one of our main goals at the beginning of this season, because in order to do all of the bigger things, you first have to win the East. That was our first main goal and we completed it, so now we are just focused on LSU.”

On his punt…

“We actually practice it every week, and you just never know when you’re actually going to get to do it. I think Coach Mullen was kind of thinking about it on the sidelines, and they were talking about it, and I was like, ‘Let me kick it. Let me kick it,’ because we run it every single week in practice, but we never get to do it in a game. It was pretty cool to get out there and pin them deep.”

On the offense’s start to the game…

“No, I think that’s not the focus part. I think we do a great job of taking it one game at a time. But yeah, definitely wasn’t my cleanest game. There were some times maybe I was doing too much, and I just gotta trust what we have called and just let it play out.”

On the offense producing consistently…

“Yeah, its huge. Great teams find a way to win even when they’re not playing the cleanest, and that is what we’ve been able to do all season.”

#0 Trey Dean III, Junior, Defensive Back

On working his way back onto depth chart…

“You know, I just go in. Whatever God got planned for me, I want the team to do as well. My coaches gonna always prepare me for whatever the circumstances are, just continue to work hard. What Coach Mullen preaches every day is go out there and give it your all, and when your time comes, playmakers are going to make plays.”

On adjustments at the half…

“We have to keep doing what our coaches tell us to do. Go hard, fast, physical. Run to the ball, eliminate the big plays. When y’all run to the ball, when somebody mess up, it covers up for it. When we play with energy and effort, we end up playing real good.”

On competing for an SEC Championship…

“Well Coach Mullen (has) always done a great job keeping us prepared week in and week out, keeping us focused. He took the offense and defense and put us together… take it step by step. Now we have an all-SEC schedule, we can really show what we can do. Just from here forth, we’re just going to show them how Florida Gators football is really played.”