Florida Gators QB Kyle Trask throws 6 TDs in win over Ole Miss Rebels
Florida had high expectations for its offense with Kyle Trask returning at quarterback. He showed why in the season-opening 51-35 win against Ole Miss on Saturday.
Trask threw for a career-high six touchdowns, tying Joe Burrow for the most touchdown passes in an SEC opener (Burrow had six against Vanderbilt last year). The six touchdown passes also tied a school single-game record.
In all, Trask had a career-high 416 yards passing, completing 30 of 42 passes, as the Gators set a school record for total yards in an SEC game with 642 yards. Florida coach Dan Mullen was fully aware of that school record during his postgame availability, when he gave a quick nod to former coach Steve Spurrier, whose Fun 'N' Gun offenses set the standard in Gainesville.
"I would expect when I get home that my neighbor, Coach Spurrier, will have a really nice bottle of wine sitting on my desk, if I broke one of his records offensively. That's at least deserving of a nice bottle of wine, I think," Mullen said with a smile on his face.
Trask emerged last season after he took over the starting job when Feleipe Franks was lost for the season with a broken ankle. He made significant progress as the season went on, and ended the 2019 season with 300 yards passing in three of his final four games, including the Orange Bowl win over Virginia.
Although the offseason did not go the way anyone envisioned because the coronavirus pandemic shut down workouts for months, Trask knew he would go into this season as the starter and prepared that way.
"There's a lot to being a veteran quarterback, especially in this situation," Mullen said. "He comes out in Game 1 to a new defensive coordinator on a new staff that you don't know a lot about. We kept a base offense of what we were doing. He did a good job of managing the whole offense, managing the whole game, getting us into the right plays. All the adjustments we made on the sidelines, he did a great job getting to those adjustments and creating or finding the mismatches all over the field. I think we did a really good job with that all day."
The big question wasn't whether Trask would be in command this season, but who his leading receivers would be after the Gators lost their top pass-catchers from a year ago.
Enter tight end Kyle Pitts, who earned preseason accolades as one of the top tight ends in the nation. Pitts had eight catches for 170 yards and four touchdowns, tying a school record for most touchdown receptions in a game.
Mullen said a big part of the game plan was to take advantage of the mismatches Pitts creates, while also noting Pitts came in with extra motivation and "really wanted to show what he could be this year. To me, he's really taken a step forward as being a complete tight end and what we want."
Pitts said he and Trask spent time working together to build on their "Kyle to Kyle" connection.
"It's just me and Kyle always talking, Pitts said. "We're good friends. Kyle to Kyle, we go around saying it as a joke."
In addition to Pitts, Trevon Grimes and Kadarius Toney combined for eight catches, 123 yards and the other two touchdowns, as any questions about the offense seemed to have an answer. Eleven different players caught at least one pass for the Gators.
"I just feel like we had a great game plan," Trask said. "We had answers for every look they were throwing us, and had some great checks that we executed well. Overall, it was just a great team game. Everybody executed from start to finish."