Trask's 6-TD day helps Florida bypass Arkansas
WHAT HAPPENED: UF quarterback Kyle Trask continued his assault on the Florida (and Southeastern Conference) record book, throwing for 356 yards and six touchdowns Saturday night - his sixth straight game with at least four TD strikes - to lead the sixth-ranked Gators past the Razorbacks at Spurrier/Florida Field. In facing grad-transfer and former teammate Feleipe Franks, the QB who beat him out twice (2018 and '19), Trask completed 23 of his 29 throws, with TD strikes of 9, 23, 21, 33, 5 and 11 yards, the combination of which gave him 28 on the season, which broke the six-game SEC mark, set by Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa in 2019.
Florida scored on its first possessions, with Trask hitting Trevon Grimes (6 catches, 109 yards, 2 TDs), but Franks answered almost instantly by lofting a gorgeous 47-yard strike to Mike Woods (2 catches, 129 yards, 2 TDs) on the Razorbacks' fifth snap. The Gators, though, scored touchdowns on their last four possessions of the half to open a 35-14 lead at intermission, with Trask going to the locker room with 281 yards and five TDs. Arkansas tailback Trelon Smith's 83-yard touchdown run cut the lead to 14 points lead, but the margin soon was padded (and then some) by backup quarterback Emory Jones' 1-yard run, Trask's early fourth-quarter pass to tight end Keon Zipperer (3 catches, 47 yards, 2 TDs) and a 35-yard fumble return by defensive lineman Zach Carter - all coming within six minutes - that quickly made it 56-21 with inside 13 minutes left. The Gators out-gained the Hogs in total offense with 593 yards to 458. Of that Arkansas total, 212 yards came on a trio of scoring plays.
WHAT IT MEANS: The Gators, with a comfortable lead in the SEC East Division, inched closer to their goal of winning the East and clinching a first berth in the league championship game since 2016. With its lone loss coming on the road at No. 5 Texas A&M, Florida also remains in the mix for a potential first berth in the College Football Playoff, but that is chatter for another (and later) day.
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: This space, it seems, could be reserved for Trask every week (more on him below), but we'll single out his counterpart, instead, given the juicy pregame storyline. Franks (unfortunately) was booed when he took the field for the first Arkansas drive and took out his frustration after that big early touchdown throw, pointing at the UF bench as he sprinted down the field with his teammates. Franks finished 15 of 19 for 250 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions and was sacked three times.
STAGGERING STATISTIC: Trask not only broke the SEC record for most TD passes through six games, but also became just the fourth FBS quarterback over the last 25 seasons to throw at least four in his first six games, joining Hawaii's Colt Brennan (nine straight in 2006), Texas Tech's Graham Harrell (six in '07) and Toledo's Logan Woodside (six in '16). On the home front, Trask, who had his second six-TD game of the season (matching his output from the season-opening win at Ole Miss), also joined Danny Wuerffel and Tim Tebow as the third QB in Florida history to throw for at least 25 touchdowns in consecutive years. Wuerffel had 35 in 1995 and 39 in '96, while Tebow had 32 in 2007 and 30 in '08. For the season, Trask has completed better than 70 percent of his attempts and thrown just three interceptions.
UP NEXT: Florida (5-1, 5-1) is back on the road to face Vanderbilt (0-6, 0-6), which remained winless earlier Saturday in falling 38-35 at Kentucky. The Gators have won 14 straight at Nashville, dating to 1992, the first year the SEC split into East and West divisions and matched UF and Vandy on the same side of the standings. Florida's last road loss in the series came in 1988 by a 24-9 count.