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UF Football: Notes & quotes from 38-17 win over Vanderbilt

Courtesy of University Athletic Association

No. 6 Florida 38, Vanderbilt 17
November 21, 2020
Vanderbilt Stadium – Nashville, Tenn.

By The Numbers: Gators Continue Scoring at Pace Unseen Since Peak Spurrier Years

  • 313 Points this season
    • Passes the 1995 Gators (306 points) for the third-highest total through the first seven games of a season in school history.
      • Only the 1994 Gators (339 points) and 1996 Gators (366 points) scored more.
    • With 38 points this afternoon, Florida broke the school record for consecutive 35-point outings with its ninth straight game of at least 35 points today. Seven straight 35-point games against SEC teams is also a school record.
      • The previous records in both regards were shared by the 2008 Gators (Oct.4-Nov. 29) and 1996 Gators (first eight games).
  • 5 – Offensive touchdowns this afternoon
    • Florida has scored five offensive touchdowns in seven games against SEC teams for the first time since 1996 (also seven times).
    • Florida’s seventh straight game with five-plus offensive touchdowns extends its longest streak since 2008, when it had an eight-game run from Oct. 4-Nov. 29, 2008.

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By The Numbers: Trask Stays on Record-Breaking Pace

  • 31 – Touchdown passes by Kyle Trask this season
    • Ties Tulsa’s David Johnson (2008) and Texas Tech’s Graham Harrell (2007) for the second-most passing touchdowns through the first seven games of a season in FBS history.
      • Texas Tech’s B.J. Symons holds the FBS record with 32 in 2003.
    • Sets a single-season SEC record for touchdown passes in conference play, a mark previously held by LSU’s Joe Burrow (28 in 2019) and Danny Wuerffel (28 in 1995).
      • Broken on first touchdown pass today–a 27-yarder to Kadarius Toney.
    • Sets the SEC record for passing touchdowns through the first seven games of a season, a mark previously held by Kentucky’s Tim Couch (29 in 1997) and Burrow (29 in 2019).
    • Marks the sixth season of 30-plus touchdown passes in school history, joining Wuerffel (39 in 1996, 35 in 1995), Rex Grossman (34 in 2001), and Tim Tebow (32 in 2007, 30 in 2008).
      • Both accomplished on second touchdownpass–a 34-yarder to Trevon Grimes.
    • The only Heisman-winning quarterbacks with at least 31 total touchdowns through seven games in their award campaign were Louisville’s Lamar Jackson (34 – 18 pass, 16 rush in 2016), LSU’s Joe Burrow (31 – 29 pass, 2 rush last season), and Houston’s Andre Ware (31 – 30 pass, 1 rush in 1989).
  • 2,554 – Passing yards for Trask this season
    • Of all the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterbacks in history, the only two with more passing yards through the first seven games of their winning season were BYU’s Ty Detmer (2,977 in 1990) and Houston’s Andre Ware (2,930 in 1989).
  • 383 – Passing yards for Trask this afternoon
    • Extends the second-longest streak of 300-yard passing games in school history to five; he is four games behind Grossman’s school record of nine in a row from 2001.
      • Five straight 300-yard outings against SEC teams is also the second-longest streak in UF history, behind Grossman’s record of 10 (all eight in 2001, first two of 2002).
    • Marks his sixth 300-yard passing game of the season – which is the third time in program history a Gators quarterback logged at least six 300-yard passing games in a season.
      • Grossman has the other two, recording 10 such outings in 2001 and six in 2002.
    • Marks his eighth career game of 300-plus passing yards against an SEC opponent, adding to the fourth-highest total in school history.
      • Grossman (12 – 2000-02), Wuerffel (10 – 1993-96), and Shane Matthews (nine – 1989-92) are the only Gators with more 300-yard games against SEC teams.
    • Marks the 10th 300-yard passing game of his career, adding to the fourth-highest total in school history.
    • Fourth outing of 350-plus passing yards the last two seasons, which is two more than the combined number of 350-yard passing games by all Gators quarterbacks from 2002-18.
    • Extends the second-longest streak of 200-yard passing games in school history to 15.
      • Shane Matthews holds the school record of 17.
  • 3 – Passing touchdowns by Trask this afternoon
    • Became the second Gators quarterback since the start of 1996 to throw three-plus passing touchdowns in seven consecutive games.
      • Danny Wuerffel also had a seven-game run from Sept.21-Nov.9, 1996.
    • Ends the longest streak of games with four-plus passing touchdowns in SEC history (six games).
  • 57 – Career touchdown passes for Trask
    • Passes Kerwin Bell (56 from 1984-87) for seventh on the program’s all-time list.
      • Passed Bell with third touchdown pass of the day – a 2-yarder to Kemore Gamble.

Gators’ Passing Distribution Continues to be Widespread

  • Kadarius Toney and Kyle Pitts become the first Gators duo since Louis Murphy and Percy Harvin in 2008 to both have at least seven receiving touchdowns for the season.
  • Toney finished with a career-high 107 receiving yards, eclipsing his previous career high of 92 yards at Texas A&M earlier this season.
  • Trevon Grimes, Toney, and Pitts become the first Gators trio since Jabar Gaffney, Reche Caldwell, and Taylor Jacobs in 2001 to all have at least six touchdown receptions for the season.
  • Kemore Gamble posted the Gators’ seventh multi-receiving touchdown game of the season – Pitts, and Toney have two apiece, while Grimes and Keon Zipperer had the others last week.
  • Gamble is one of six Gators with multiple touchdown receptions on the season.
    • Seven Gators had at least two in 2019, which was the first time since 2007 that many Gators finished a season with multiple touchdown catches.
  • Gamble logged a career-high 66 receiving yards (his previous high was 51 yards against Georgia) and tied his career high with three receptions (also previously set against Georgia).
  • Justin Shorter posted career highs for receptions (5) and receiving yards (94), topping his previous career highs of three catches and 32 yards, both of which came against Georgia.
  • Jacob Copeland set a career high with five receptions, topping his previous best of three from the season opener at Ole Miss.
  • Florida has three 400-yard passing games in a season for the first time since 2001 and for the sixth time in school history.
    • Other years: 2001 (seven), 1998 (five), 1995 (four), 1994 and 1993 (three apiece)
  • Florida has five 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.
    • This is the 15th time UF reached 300 passing yards under Mullen, one more than it had in the 142 games comprising the 2007-17 seasons.

Gators Offense

  • The Gators posted 500-plus total yards against a fourth consecutive SEC opponent for the first time since a four-game streak from Oct. 5-Nov. 2, 1996.
    • This is also the first time since the first four games of the 2007 season (Western Kentucky, Troy, Tennessee, Ole Miss) the Gators have four straight games of 500-plus total yards.
  • Florida has five games of 500-plus total yards against SEC opponents in the same season for the first time since 2001 (also five times).
  • Florida posted its 12th game of 500-plus total yards in Mullen’s 33 games as head coach, two shy of its combined total from the 115 games comprising the 2009-17 seasons (nine).
    • UF’s eight 500-yard games against SEC foes under Mullen are one more than it totaled from 2008-17.
    • Florida has posted 500-plus total yards in seven of its last 11 games.
  • Florida has five consecutive games of 400-plus yards against SEC opponents for the first time since a six-game stretch that started Oct. 27, 2001 against Georgia and ended the week after a 418-yard outing at Tennessee on Sept. 21, 2002.
  • The Gators’ six games of 400-plus total yards against SEC opponents this year are the most they’ve posted against SEC teams in a season since 2008 (also six times).
    • Today is the 20th time the Gators amassed 400-plus total yards under Mullen, equaling the number of 400-yard outings they had in the 75 games comprising the 2012-17 seasons.
    • The Gators have eclipsed 400 total yards in 18 of their last 24 games.
  • UF posted its first 99-yard touchdown drive since it capped a 15-play, 99-yard touchdown drive with a 4-yard pass from Feleipe Franks to Freddie Swain against Kentucky on Sept. 8, 2018.

Gators Defense

  • Kaiir Elam’s interception was his second of the season and fifth of his career.
  • Kyree Campbell had a career-high nine tackles (previous high was seven at Tennessee in 2018).
  • Mohamoud Diabate tied his career high with seven tackles, a figure he reached twice in his career.
  • Gervon Dexter had a career-high six tackles, eclipsing his previous high of two against South Carolina.

Florida Special Teams

  • Evan McPherson made the 43rd field goal of his career (a 33-yarder) in the second quarter.
    • McPherson improved to 29 of 31 (93.5 percent) for his career from inside of 40 yards.
    • McPherson entered the game as the national leader among all FBS kickers with 40 attempts since the start of 2018 (42 of 47 – 89.3 percent)

Explosive Plays

  • Kadarius Toney (from Trask): 27-yard touchdown reception, 1st quarter
  • Dameon Pierce: 13-yard rush, 2nd quarter
  • Trevon Grimes (from Trask): 34-yard touchdown reception, 2nd quarter
  • Kadarius Toney (from Trask): 36-yard reception, 3rd quarter
  • Justin Shorter (from Trask): 46-yard reception, 3rd quarter
  • Kyle Trask: 13-yard rush, 3rd quarter
  • Kemore Gamble (from Trask): 34-yard reception, 4th quarter (longest reception of career)
  • Dameon Pierce: 16-yard rush, 4th quarter
  • Kemore Gamble (from Jones): 30-yard touchdown reception, 4th quarter
  • Lorenzo Lingard: 10-yard rush, 4th quarter

Series Updates

  • UF’s 24th consecutive victory over Vanderbilt improves their all-time record in the series to 42-10-2.
  • Florida also improves to 20-7-1 against the Commodores in Nashville.
  • The Gators have won 29 of the last 30 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: 1,147

2020 Florida Football Postgame Quotes

Dan Mullen, Florida Head Coach

On the slow start and whether it was because of the unusual road game situation …

“I don’t know that was the case. For us… different atmosphere here – almost no crowd, but blaring music like a rock concert the whole game on the field. That had a little weird feeling about it. I don’t know that we had our best week of practice either. Not attitude-wise. I just thought we were a little bit, blah, a couple of the days of practice, not as sharp, not as crisp with everything we were doing. That was kind of top to bottom. And I think at times we came out here and played. We had a good day and a bad day, a good day and then a bad day of practice this week. And it kind of looked that way (today) offensively and defensively. A good drive, a bad drive, a good drive, a bad drive. So, I mean, I’m really pleased with our guys finding a way to win, and suck it up and be good enough to win and make the plays we needed to win despite not playing at our best for the entire game.”

On how concerned he was that the defense fell back into missing tackles…

“There were, and then at times there weren’t. So, again, it was that way all day defensively and offensively. Good, then bad, good and then bad. Wasn’t poor attitude. Really kind of a ho-hum performance by us. That’s the best way to put it. If we want to be a great team, we can’t do that.”

On converting the fourth down…

“I thought it was going to be closer to it. Then I saw it was a little farther away. But we felt comfortable with the call we would have in that situation and our ability to get it. It also gave us an opportunity to really separate us in the course of the game. It wasn’t just the fourth down, but going out and getting the touchdown afterwards… finishing that drive, it gave you the touchdown right before half and the touchdown to start the second half and it’s a 14-point swing really without them threatening. That’s something you want to do in the course of the game.”

On the defensive breakdowns and whether they’re a concern…

“Everything’s a concern for me. The offensive breakdowns, the defensive breakdowns, they’re all concerns for me. We go and coach ‘em up and get them fixed. If it is one thing, it should be easy to fix one thing on the sideline. We did that on several of the things. Some of it is stuff we’ve got to get fixed during the week and get better at. We had breakdowns on both sides of the ball today that were, at times, disappointing. A missed tackle, that’s easy. Is it a missed tackle because of a poor angle on the ball? Is it a missed tackle because we had a missed assignment? Is it a missed tackle for poor effort? Is it a missed tackle because we had the wrong guy maybe in that situation to go make that play one on one? Was it a good call? Everything, you look at. There are a lot of different things that can happen on any given play. You say, oh, that was a missed block. Well, maybe the quarterback checked us into the wrong play and made it a really, really hard block, when there was a much easier thing for us to be able to do. Maybe they made great coverage and they’re all over us. Maybe he made the wrong read. Or we had a missed assignment and they were able to get pressure on us, or we just had poor technique. Maybe it was a bad call. I evaluate all the offensive calls. I’m very hands-on on that between (offensive coordinator) Brian (Johnson) and I. There is the myriad of things we continue to look at to make sure we’re doing a good job.”

On the school record of scoring 35-plus points in nine straight games…

“It was good enough today. Good enough offensively means you scored one more point than they did. Today, 38 was good enough. That’s team football, though. Were we good enough defensively today? Yes. We did enough today. Does that mean we’re playing to our standard? I don’t know. That’s something we have to judge when we go break it down and evaluate it, look at how our week was and how our preparation was. I’ll put it this way, I have a smile on my face. I never take a win for granted. It’s hard to win football games. You’re playing a 10-game SEC schedule. I’m fired up. I was really proud of how our guys actually played today. We stubbed our toe along the way, and we still come out with a 21-point victory with the game in hand basically the whole second half. So I am really proud of how our guys played today. Vanderbilt… they’ve put up some numbers and played in some tight games. I am going to get home and enjoy this victory.”

Florida Student-Athletes

#5 Kaiir Elam, Sophomore, Defensive Back

On being flagged for his celebration after his interception…

“We were going to start on the 20, and I put my team back on their own 10 and that was an immature mistake. It’s just something I have to learn from and not to do it again.”

On the defense giving up the opening touchdown…

“So, on that touchdown I gave up, the whole defense was looking over for the play, you know, they were going fast. My linebacker called me over because the tight end lined up out and the wide receiver lined up in, but we were too busy looking for the play so we didn’t communicate and get lined up and they snapped the ball. I had to try my best to get the ball out, but I didn’t. I was supposed to get inside leverage, but it’s just something that we have to go faster getting the call. You just gotta just trust what coach (Todd) Grantham is telling us to do. We have to clean that up, especially if, you know, where we want to go, SEC Championship, national championship, I think that’s something we really have to clean up.”

On his interception and what he saw…

“It was something I watched on film all week, when they get in the red zone, they like to double move, he tried to do a slant-and-go and I had my head back for the ball and made a play.”

On the defense closing the game out…

“I feel like it was good that we closed them out, but I think if we just come out with that same energy we do when we are playing well. I think they scored way too many points today, honestly.”

#11 Kyle Trask, Redshirt Senior, Quarterback

On Emory Jones’ touchdown to Kemore Gamble…

“It felt awesome. It was pretty much the dagger that put the game away. He made the right read, and Kemore did the rest as far as execution goes. Like I’ve always said in the past, Coach Mullen always does a great job of just having a lot of people that are ready to play and I think Emory and Gamble did a great job today.”

On being able to come out with a 21-point win after their start…

“It’s huge. It’s something Coach Mullen told us – he’s been on championship teams and sometimes they came out flat, but they still found a way to win. Obviously, we came out pretty flat and we want to start a lot faster than that, but, at the end of the day, we found a way to win and that’s all that matters.”

On their energy level to start the game…

“Well, obviously there wasn’t a lot of energy in the stadium since there wasn’t a lot of fans. I think we just have to do a better job of bringing energy within the team and making sure we’re ready to play when that foot hits the ball.”

On their conversion on fourth-and-one on the opening drive of the second half…

“It was big. I made a couple of plays that I wish I could have back, but, at the end of the day, we found a way to get the first down and that was huge for us coming out, to put some points on the board to increase our lead and let our defense go out there and make a stop.”

On the final drive of the first half…

“It was huge. We knew we were getting the ball back to start the second half and it was a little over three minutes left when we got the ball back right before halftime, so we knew that they were playing a lot of drop coverage. We found ways to get some receivers sitting down in holes and getting a lot of chunk plays one after another. I saw Trevon (Grimes) have a good matchup on the outside. I tried to throw it up to him and give him a shot. I knew he’s a great player that’ll catch balls over anybody, so I really just had to give him a shot and he made a great play.”