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UF Football: Notes & quotes from Florida-Texas A&M
October 10, 2020
Courtesy of University Athletic Association
Florida Football Postgame Notes
No. 21 Texas A&M 41, No. 4 Florida 38 October 10, 2020 Kyle Field – Bryan-College Station, Texas
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Trask’s Hot Start Continues with Another 300-Yard Outing
Kyle Trask has thrown for 300-plus yards in four games against SEC opponents, tying Chris Leak for the fifth-most outings in school history.
Grossman (12), Danny Wuerffel (10), Shane Matthews (nine), and Doug Johnson (six) are the only Gators with more 300-yard games against SEC teams.
Trask posted the sixth 300-yard passing game of his career, tying John Reaves (1969-71) for the sixth-most 300-yard outings in school history.
Trask has thrown for 200-plus yards in 11 consecutive games, surpassing John Reaves (last two games of 1969, first eight of 1970) for the third-longest streak in school history.
Shane Matthews holds the school record (17), while Rex Grossman is second with 13.
Trask’s 996 passing yards this season are the most by a Gators passer through the first three games of a season since Rex Grossman opened his 2001 Heisman Trophy runner-up campaign with 1,008.
With his third touchdown pass of the day, a 37-yarder to Toney, Trask tied Terry Dean (39 from 1991- 94) for the ninth-most career touchdown passes in school history.
Pitts Sets New Standard for Gators Tight Ends
With his 5-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter, Kyle Pitts tied the single-season school record for receiving touchdowns by a tight end, equaling Cornelius Ingram (2007) and Kirk Kirkpatrick (1990).
Pitts’ touchdown also broke the school record for career touchdown receptions by a tight end, as it was the 13th of his career.
Pitts’ seven touchdown receptions through three games this season match the total accrued by last year’s season leader – Freddie Swain.
Swain, Pitts, and Demarcus Robinson (2014) are all tied for the highest single-season receiving touchdowns total by a Gator since Riley Cooper had nine in 2009.
Toney’s Career Day Highlights Development as Receiver
Kadarius Toney set career highs with seven receptions, 92 receiving yards, and two touchdown receptions this afternoon.
Toney’s previous career high for receptions was six (twice, including last week against South Carolina), while his career high for receiving yards was 86 (last week as well).
Toney also has five-plus receptions in each of the first three games; he entered the season with one career game of five-plus receptions (six against Idaho on Nov. 17, 2018).
Toney’s four touchdown receptions in three games this season are double his career total in the 27 games he played from 2017-19.
Today was Toney’s first career multi-touchdown performance.
Toney’s 237 receiving yards through three games this season put him 23 yards shy of the highest season total for receiving yards in his career (260 on 25 receptions across 12 games in 2018).
In addition to having scored 35-plus points in each of its last five games, Florida has scored at least 35 points in three consecutive games against SEC teams for the first time since 2008.
The six-game streak in 2008 began with a 38-7 win at Arkansas (Oct. 4) and finished with a 56-6 rout of South Carolina (Nov. 15). UF had three games of 50-plus points in that stretch.
This is the 11th time UF reached 300 passing yards under Mullen, matching its total number of 300-yard outings in the 129 games comprising the 2008-17 seasons.
The Gators opened a game with four consecutive touchdown drives for the first time since opening their 70-14 rout of The Citadel on Nov. 22, 2008 with seven consecutive touchdown drives.
The last time Florida accomplished the feat against an FBS opponent was Nov. 15, 2008 against South Carolina, when it opened a 56-6 win with four straight touchdowns.
Florida converted six of its first seven third downs, and it converted a fourth and one following its only failed third down attempt.
Florida’s opening drive was its longest scoring drive in terms of plays (17) since a 17-play, 75-yard touchdown drive against Georgia last year.
It was also UF’s first scoring drive of 7-plus minutes since last year’s rout of Florida State.
The Gators are outscoring their opponents 34-17 in the third quarter this season.
Malik Davis finished with a career high 73 receiving yards, eclipsing his previous high of 33 yards, which he set against Ole Miss in the season opener.
Nay’Quan Wright’s 1-yard touchdown run in the second quarter was his first career rushing TD.
Wright entered the game with 26 career rushing yards, a figure he reached on his TD run.
Brad Stewart Jr.’s forced fumble was the second of his career, while Marco Wilson’s fumble recovery was the first of his career.
The takeaway was Florida’s 52nd takeaway since the start of 2018.
Florida entered the game with 51 takeaways since the start of 2018, a figure which was tied for 10th among all FBS teams within that time frame.
Florida Special Teams
•Evan McPherson became the eighth Gators kicker with three made field goals of 50-plus yards in a career. Only Caleb Sturgis (eight), Pineiro (five), and Berj Yepremian (four) have more than three.
McPherson previously made a 50-yarder against Florida State last season, and a 55-yarder in the 2020 season opener at Ole Miss
McPherson’s game-tying 53-yard field goal this afternoon was the 39th make of his career, moving him past Eddy Pineiro for the sixth-most made field goals in school history.
McPherson improved his career field goal percentage to 90.7 percent (39 of 43).
McPherson entered the game with the highest career field goal percentage among FBS kickers with at least 40 attempts since the start of 2018 (90.5 percent).
Malik Davis (from Trask): 39-yard reception, 1st quarter
Malik Davis (from Trask): 23-yard reception, 4th quarter
The Gators fall to 2-3 in the series with Texas A&M.
Florida also drops to 1-2 against the Aggies since they joined the SEC.
Florida is now 1-1 against Texas A&M in Bryan-College Station.
Today marked the first time since the start of 2018 the Gators lost a game when they led or were tied in through three quarters; they were 19-0 in such games under Dan Mullen.
In his head coaching career, Mullen’s teams were 81-4 when leading or tied after the third quarter.
Florida Game Captains: Marco Wilson
Texas A&M won the toss and deferred to the second half; A&M defended the south end zone
2020 Florida Football Postgame Quotes
Dan Mullen, Florida Head Coach
On what this loss comes down to…
“Well, you’re going to play these games. This year is going to be an interesting year. You’re playing 10 SEC games. This was a game that gets added on, you’re playing a (ranked) team on the road, in conference. Always going to be a tough challenge. You expect that. It’s going to come down to a one-possession game. We’re expecting to come right down to the end, that’s why we were able to pick the direction. We didn’t get the ball in the second half to start, but we picked the direction, so we felt comfortable kicking that field goal right there. We got the ball with four minutes to go, we were probably ten yards away from being in field goal range to kind of run out the clock and kick the game-winning field goal. Unfortunately, we turned it over, and they had to go a lot further to get into that range. We weren’t able to make a stop, and they were able to kick the field goal there at the end. It’s going to be a unique year for us. It’s going to be really interesting. But, really good team, give them a lot of credit. Tough football team. They made a lot of plays today. They’ve got a lot of experience, a lot of explosive players on their team playing hard. They made the plays they needed to. Made one more, I guess, than we did. It was a great day of football, great atmosphere out there. Crowd was certainly a factor in the game, I’ll certainly say that. I know our governor passed that rule, so certainly, hopefully, the university administration decides to let us pack The Swamp for LSU next week. One hundred percent. Because that crowd was a major factor in the game and so I certainly hope our university administration follows the governor. Our governor has passed a rule that we are allowed to pack The Swamp… to give us that home-field advantage like Texas A&M had today.”
On the defense’s troubles…
“We are going to have to re-evaluate a lot of things defensively. Where we are at right now, I’m going to have to really evaluate some things with our personnel, where we are at, our ability to make plays, make sure that we have all the right guys at the right position to be able to make the plays we need to to get off the field. We can’t give up 13 of 15 conversions on the day and expect to win any game.”
On how to bolster the defense in its current state…
“Yeah, we’ll look at it. We’ll look at it. Hopefully, we get some depth back. Hopefully, Khris Bogle and Kyree (Campbell) will be available next week, so that will be two guys in the rotation on the defensive front for us that could help. But we will evaluate where we are at and what we need to do moving forward.”
On higher expectations for the defense…
“But you never know. Like I always say, coming into a season, you never know. You only go against each other. Now we have an idea what direction we are headed, we know where issues, possible issues are, and areas where we got to get better, and we have to go improve those areas.”
On the crowd’s factor today and thoughts on packing The Swamp…
“Absolutely. I want to see 90,000 in The Swamp. I don’t think the section behind our bench, I didn’t see an empty seat. It was packed. The entire student section, must’ve been 50,000 people behind our bench going crazy. Hopefully, that creates a home-field advantage for us next week because now we’ve passed a law in our state that we can do that.”
On what makes this season so unique…
“Well, yeah, I mean you’re playing ten SEC games in a row. You’ve got to get over this one quick. We are in more of an NFL schedule this year. You’ve got to get over this one quick and get ready to go again next week. We’ll get over this one, we’ll get that corrected on the flight home tonight, get a lot of things done tonight, get some work done tonight, and get on to LSU and move forward to that game now.”
2020 Florida Football Postgame Quotes
#6 Nay’Quan Wright, Redshirt Freshman, Running Back
On the impact of the crowd noise…
“I don’t think it had any effect on the game. I mean, we’re used to 90,000 in the stands, so this is nothing new to us. We just have to go back to the drawing board and clean some things up as a team.”
On scoring his first touchdown…
“First off, I’d like to give credit to the man above for blessing me with the ability to be a Florida Gator. I mean, we just had a run play on. We were just on the goal line, my number got called, and I just took advantage of the opportunity. It was a blessing getting into the end zone for my first time. I’m very thankful, and Go Gators.”
#7 Jeremiah Moon, Redshirt Senior, Linebacker
On what needs to change on defense…
“I’m disappointed. Twelve of 15 third downs. We have to get off this field. We have to wrap up, we have to tackle, we have to get to the quarterback, and we have to cover. It’s simple, and we’re not doing that right now. Those are the things we’re going to have to come in on Monday ready to work on.”
On if these changes can be fixed in-season…
“Absolutely. At the end of the day, it’s up to that person to make their mind up if they want to be great, and that’s all it is. We have to come ready to work on Monday. That’s all I have to say.”
On the locker room after a game like this…
“Coach Mullen came in and talked to us about what’s going on, about the future. Like I said, Monday we have to show up to practice and work on little things. Like I said, the tackling, running to the ball. Just the little things that’s going to make the biggest difference.”
On the halftime adjustments…
“Just keep playing. I know we did change a little bit, but it was just about playing harder, running to the ball and trying to put pressure, make him play quarterback. Just getting off the field, that was the main thing in the locker room.”
On if the defensive play is a surprise…
“No, I feel that we come to work every day. We have to come to practice and work harder. It’s a 10-game SEC season, so we have to come ready to work every single week. This is no easy season. We have to come ready to work.”
#11 Kyle Trask, Redshirt Senior, Quarterback
On what it was like to play in a stadium he was named after…
“It’s a really nice stadium. I’ve been here a couple times. It was a cool experience to play with all my family there, but obviously not the result we wanted.”
On the level of frustration with losing an 11-point lead…
“It’s obviously really frustrating to be that close. There was a point in the game where we got the game almost locked away. We’ve just gotta be able to throw our foot down and put the game away… (and) things like this won’t happen.”
On Kadarius Toney’s emergence this year…
“He’s just a very smart, explosive player. He’s going to win a one-on-one matchup every time. I 100 percent guarantee that. If he’s one on one in space, it just opens up the playbook so much, because he’s such an explosive, agile player.”
On how big of a factor the crowd was today…
“It’s nothing we couldn’t manage. The crowd was definitely in to it. They had some good support there. It was nothing we couldn’t manage, but we’ve just got to be ready to play in any environment given to us.”
On how much pressure is on the offense with the defense not playing well…
“First of all, that’s our goal every time we are on the field: to score every time we have the ball. There were a couple drives we didn’t do that, and it was just little things, a lack of execution. If we do those, we don’t even have to worry about defense.”
#41 James Houston IV, Redshirt Junior, Linebacker
On how much frustration there was on the defensive side of the ball…
“We knew we had a very powerful offense. We can be in high-scoring matches and come out with the win. Defense has to execute a little bit more if we want to come out of those battles with Ws.”
On what’s happening on the defense and the difference from last year to this year…
“I would say it’s probably execution. Front and back end, the whole defense. Also, I would say, we have an all SEC schedule. It’s basically an NFL schedule. We’re going to face some very good offenses, some very good teams. (Texas) A&M had fifth-year starting quarterback. That’s almost like having a pro quarterback. Execution is probably the thing we need to get better at.”
On what the defense does to make sure the loss doesn’t send them into a spiral…
“In the past, we’ve lagged off when we took losses, and we come out the next week kind of sluggish. This one, it hurt a little bit more, because I don’t think we expected to even be that close. We wanted to blow them out and send a statement. This one hurt a little bit more. Expect us to be at practice this whole week going 110 percent getting ready for LSU.”