Gators not actual ’20 group in Cotton Bowl loss after opt-outs


ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — This was not the identical Florida offense that received the Gators into the SEC championship sport, even with Heisman Trophy finalist Kyle Trask presumably taking part in his last school sport.

Trask was lacking his high 4 pass-catchers, and three of his passes within the first quarter of the Cotton Bowl had been caught by Oklahoma defenders. These interceptions contributed to the No. 10 SEC runner-up Gators getting in an early gap on solution to a 55-20 loss Wednesday evening.

”Clearly it is troublesome as a result of this is not the way in which you need to exit,” Trask stated. ”However on the identical time, it’s a must to take a look at the massive image. We had a ton of younger guys taking part in and on the finish of the day it was about getting them reps and getting them prepared for subsequent 12 months by giving them alternatives.”

The Gators (8-4, No. 7 CFP) did get some optimistic glimpses of what their offense might seem like after Trask is gone following his single-season college information with 4,283 passing yards and 43 touchdowns. He did not play after the opening drive of the second half.

Florida listed 17 gamers as not being obtainable towards the Massive 12 champions, and coach Dan Mullen stated there have been solely about 60 scholarship gamers in uniform. The coach acknowledged that this wasn’t actually Florida’s 2020 group.

It definitely wasn’t the identical group that misplaced 52-46 to No. 1 Alabama within the SEC title sport and earlier than that had its solely two losses on late area objectives. No. 5 Texas A&M had a game-ending kick to win at house, and LSU received on a area objective with 23 seconds left in Gainesville.

Twin-threat sophomore quarterback Emory Jones received numerous motion within the Cotton Bowl, together with a 1-yard keeper for Florida’s first landing halfway by way of the second quarter. He ran for 60 yards whereas finishing 8 of 16 passes for 86 yards.

Whereas held to half of their season scoring common, the Gators nonetheless managed 521 whole yards – 271 passing and 250 dashing. There have been 12 completely different gamers who caught passes.

”Lots of guys received some actually good expertise on the market for us tonight,” Mullen stated. ”I feel the long run is actually shiny.”

Trask had thrown solely 5 interceptions all season till throwing these three within the first quarter. The Sooners led 14-0 after the senior quarterback’s first choose was returned 45 yards by Tre Norwood for a landing.

Mullen stated the finale does not take away from what Trask has accomplished for the Gators after ready so lengthy to lastly get his probability to play. Trask completed 16-of-28 for 158 yards, and was with no TD for the primary time in a sport he began.

”I could not be prouder of him,” Mullen stated. ”The season he had this 12 months, a particular, particular 12 months for him.”

The Gators had been with out All-America tight finish Kyle Pitts and receivers Trevon Grimes and Kadarius Toney, who opted out of the Cotton Bowl to begin getting ready for his or her professional careers. Sophomore receiver Jacob Copeland did not make the journey after he examined optimistic for COVID-19.

That quartet mixed to catch 174 passes for two,778 yards and 34 touchdowns this season.

”Clearly it was somewhat tougher.” Trask stated. ”When you concentrate on it, you’ve got received a complete offseason to get timing down with that group of fellows. We basically had two or three days to get timing down since we had so many opt-outs. … That is not making an excuse or something, however the quantity of labor that goes into this you do not simply flip a change and you find yourself in the long run zone.”

Extra AP school soccer: https://apnews.com/tag/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25

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