On a night that ended in chants of “Trask for Heisman” and where history was made, Florida still had one of its more typical nights as a team in 2020.
What even is there to say about the offense at this point that hasn’t already been said? Probably one thing is a different player shows up to carry the load in the passing game almost every week. Kyle Pitts, Kadarius Toney, Malik Davis and now Trevon Grimes. By God he wasn’t even the only player with two touchdown catches as Keon Zipperer had a nice coming out party. But Grimes accounted for almost a third of Kyle Trask’s passing yards Saturday night. Those 109 yards are his most since he put up 118 in 2018 against Florida State but the six catches and two scores are career highs for his time at Florida. Then there was Xzavier Henderson who showcased some great catching ability on the flea flicker from Kyle Trask and Emory Jones’s touchdown pass to him.
Oh, and the run game made an appearance too. A season high 208 yards and 45 carries from eight different ball carriers. It’s the third time Florida eclipsed 150 yards in a game. Mullen obviously wanted to get the run game going on Saturday with plenty of early down runs. But, the Gators could only get one rushing touchdown. I’m sure Mullen would like to run it a little more efficiently in the red zone.
While the defense has certainly improved, that doesn’t mean it isn’t susceptible to the same suspect box score. Albeit, it did have some bright spots like four sacks, held Arkansas to 2-for-9 on third down, forced a fumble for a touchdown by Zachary Carter held the Razorbacks to 54 plays and 21 minutes of possession. Not to mention the defense’s eight combined tackles for loss, including 2.5 for linebacker Mohamoud Diabate.
However, one particular issue we’ll examine is big plays. Including garbage time, Florida allowed three different touchdown plays of over 45 yards including two 80+-yard touchdowns. One of them bears a resemblance to the 77-yarder against Georgia. The Gators failed in run fits, a back broke loose and nobody was on the backend to save the touchdown. Trelon Smith, the scoring back, finished with 118 yards on just eight carries. Plus, Razorback receiver Mike Woods had the other two scores: beating Kaiir Elam on a fly route on the opening drive plus an 80-yard catch-and-run against the backup secondary.
Special Teams: N/A
Florida played barely any snaps on special teams to warrant a grade. Jacob Finn’s lone punt of the day went 42 yards. Evan McPherson and Chris Howard didn’t miss any PATs but didn’t attempt any field goals. One judgeable measure would be kickoff return. Florida gave up a few returns to Arkansas while some were brought back due to penalty.
All in all, this was a typical performance from the 2020 Gators: mind-melting offensive prowess and mind-boggling defensive lapses in a double digit win. It leaves the fan uneasy when stacking up against the elites of college football like Alabama and Clemson. But, if the offense keeps it up and the defense can a few stops then expect the Gators in Atlanta in December.
Click play on the following audio player to listen to the latest episode of The Gridiron Growl Podcast, where David Soderquist and Michael Pfeffer recap the thrilling victory: