Two weeks ago, Kyle Trask was sitting on the sidelines, a mere observer of the game his football team was playing for the seventh straight year. Now he has a school record.
And Florida has its ninth win in a row, this time by a 38-0 margin over FCS opponent Towson.
Trask started the game by completing fifteen consecutive passes, including one for a touchdown to tight end Kyle Pitts. Combined with the three passes he completed to finish his day against Tennessee, his eighteen straight completions broke Chris Leak’s record of seventeen in Florida’s 32-14 win over Wyoming in 2005. His sixteenth pass of the day was dropped by Jacob Copeland, but he promptly started a new streak by lofting his second touchdown pass of the day to Pitts to make it 24-0 early in the third quarter. From there, Florida cruised, featuring four sacks, interceptions by Jonathan Greenard and Donovan Stiner, a 37 yard touchdown run from Dameon Pierce and a short two yard hookup between Emory Jones and Keon Zipperer.
But don’t let the final score- especially the zero beside Towson’s name on it- fool you. There were certainly some less than impressive moments early, and the game might have gotten a bit frightening had Towson gotten out of its own way.
Down 7-0, Towson took the ball on its first drive and marched 57 yards right down the field on Florida’s defense into the red zone on its first drive of the game. But the Tigers couldn’t finish it off, as an errant snap bounced off of quarterback Tom Flacco’s leg, and David Reese recovered it. And on Towson’s next drive, Flacco guided the Tigers 69 yards into the red zone again; this drive ended with a missed chip shot field goal.
Florida’s offense wasn’t perfect, either. After a Jonathan Greenard interception that gave the Gators the ball inside Towson’s 10 yard line, Trask nearly gave it right back on a miscommunication in which he threw the ball right to a Towson defender with no receiver within five yards of the throw. The ball was just high enough that the defender could only tip it, not catch it, and it was nearly caught by another defender off the deflection. That drew Dan Mullen’s ire enough for him to call a timeout just to scream at his entire offensive unit.
Mullen seemed to have cooled down enough after the win, but made it clear that this sort of performance won’t fly next week. “We’ve taken care of business to this point, but now it’s about to go to a whole new level,” he stated after the game.
To say that would be an understatement would be an understatement.
Florida begins a gauntlet of an October by hosting Auburn next week in the Swamp in a top ten showdown between two schools who used to be truculent rivals but now only play twice every twelve years. The whole world will be watching this chapter, though. College GameDay will be in Gainesville for that one, and CBS has selected it as their game of the week.
The spotlights won’t get any dimmer, and the schedule doesn’t get any easier after Auburn. Florida’s next game is a grudge match at LSU’s Death Valley, followed by another road trip to what should be a desperate South Carolina team, a bye week and then the mega showdown with Georgia in Jacksonville to all but decide the SEC East.
So yes, it’s about to go to a whole new level. But if Mullen’s brief history in Gainesville has taught us anything, it’s that you cannot blindly count his team out of games like that- no matter how eye-raising the game before it may have been.