Florida and South Carolina might’ve played the closest 14-point game in recent memory. But, despite some mistakes, the Gators were able to start their home schedule off with a win.
Kyle Trask continued his torrid start with a second straight performance of at least four touchdowns. Obviously, the whole offense didn’t match the 600-yard performance against Ole Miss but still managed to score on six of their ten drives excluding the knee to ice the game. That doesn’t mean Trask was flawless. He turned the ball over twice with a fumble and interception. Yes, that interception was the result of a great play by the safety but it felt like it was coming given how he was forcing the ball.
The Gators also didn’t rush the ball particularly well with just 80 yards on the ground. But they were still able to rush when they need it. We all know passing is this team’s strength. And Kadarius Toney’s and Trent Whittemore’s performances showed how many weapons Trask has at his disposal. Whittemore made two great grabs, one to save a drive and another to end it with a touchdown. The freshman from Gainesville is steadily making an impact. But Kadarius Toney’s 57-yard catch-and-run was the highlight of the game on offense.
Just like the offense, the defense put up a different performance compared to Week 1. The Gator defense only allowed 329 yards from scrimmage and that four-yards-per-play average isn’t totally terrible. It’s obvious they still miss Kyree Campbell in the middle of that defensive line.
The big thing was situational defense. Florida might’ve forced 6-for-17 on third down but it was the 5-for-6 fourth conversions that didn’t instill confidence in this defense. Fourth downs are guaranteed opportunities at getting off the field. Carolina even almost converted on fourth for a touchdown at the end of the game. However, Florida was able to get some pass rush and sack Collin Hill a couple times. Jeremiah Moon had a great spin move that sent the left tackle falling into Hill. All-in-all it wasn’t a horrible performance but it needs to get better still.
Special Teams, A:
Once again not much opportunity for the kickers. Jacob Finn did well with his two punts with a net average of about 50 yards a punt. Evan McPherson made his lone field goal of the day but still had plenty of extra points to kick. Kadarius Toney provided some great plays in the punt return game. He recorded 42 yards but made plays to improve Florida’s field position. One in particular allowed the Gators to flip the field and take over on offense at midfield thanks to a great return in the second quarter.
Overall, Florida took care of business at home. But it could’ve been much better in some ways. The Gators need to put games away and Mullen addressed that in his postgame press conference. They don’t have time to rest on their laurels as there’s a now a trip to College Station this week.