The story before the game was the return of Feleipe Franks to the Swamp. The talk was whether he’d upset his former team in its home stadium, or if the Gators would deny him a proper homecoming.
By the end of the first half, Kyle Trask stole the attention away again. Feleipe faded from everyone’s minds as the Trask continued his historic run, leading the Florida Gators to victory over the Arkansas Razorbacks 63-35.
Clawing Your Way Down Field to Start
The Gators made their way downfield early against the Razorbacks, but they had to earn it. After a 75-yard drive that ate up half the first quarter, Trask connected with Trevon Grimes for a touchdown that opened up the scoring, making it 7-0.
However, Feleipe Franks took no time at all to pick up his first touchdown in Gainesville in over a year. He connected with wide receiver Mike Woods for a 47-yard yard catch to tie it up 7-7 in just 93 regulation seconds.
The game remained tied at the end of the first quarter, but everything went wrong for the Gators in the final minutes. On Arkansas’ second drive, Franks completed a 15-yard pass, which was followed by a personal foul penalty on Florida that gave Arkansas another 15 yards. Then, Franks rushes 13 yards, nearly getting the first down. After a quarter, it appeared Franks was making a homecoming for himself. However, the Razorbacks came up empty-handed after turning the ball over on downs, bailing out the Gators defense.
The Gators started the second quarter at midfield. They continued to utilize the running game to chip away yards. After a series of running plays, Trask found Trevon Grimes wide open for a 23-yard touchdown to take back the lead, 14-7.
Gators pull way ahead
The Gators knew if they were going to win, they had to keep up the offensive pace. Head Coach Dan Mullen empathized that this was important for picking up the win.
Trask extended the Gators lead to 21-7 after two big passes. First, he connected with Xzavier Henderson for a 43-yard pass. Then, he made a 21-yard pass to Justin shorter in the end zone for the touchdown.
That touchdown got Trask to 25 touchdowns, matching his career-high from last season.
On the next drive, the Razorbacks beat the Gators–but this time, on the ground. Running back Trelon Smith rushed up the middle and found open field to complete an 83-yard touchdown run. Arkansas gets back within a touchdown.
Trask and the Gators answered right back with another touchdown. It’s now 28-14. Trask now has his sixth consecutive game with four or more touchdowns. Keep in mind, this is before halftime, and Trask is extending his SEC record.
At the half, Trask amassed five touchdowns to give the Gators a 35-14 lead. Trask said the success in the first half came from successful execution of the game plan.
In the second half, the Razorbacks opened up the scoring when Rakeem Boyd rushed 12 yards into the end zone to get within two scores. The clock continued to run down. After nearly nine minutes of nothing, and a review later to confirm it, Emory Jones snuck the ball into the endzone to extend the Gators lead to 42-21 through three quarters.
The Final Stretch
Trask just kept going. In the first drive of the fourth quarter, he picked up his sixth touchdown of the night, putting the Gators up 49-21. This is his second six-touchdown for Trask this season–the first being against Ole Miss.
Everyone got in on the action for the Gators by the end of the game–even the defense. Zachary Carter recovered a fumble by Rakeem Boyd and took it to the house for yet another Florida touchdown.
Florida defensive lineman Zachary Carter said the defense has really come together in the last few games.
Franks would not go down completely quiet though. He completed an insane 82-yard pass to Mike Woods to give Arkansas half the number of points Florida had (56-28).
Emory Jones received more playing time to finish off the game. He picked up his first TD pass of the season to make it 63-28 Florida over Arkansas. Meanwhile, Anthony Ricardson saw action too but did not have the same success. He threw a pick to Jalen Catelon, putting Arkansas in position to pick up one more score, making the final on the night 63-35.
Kyle Trask finished the night bolstering his Heisman resume: Six touchdowns, 356 passing yards and 23 completed passes on 29 attempts. Mullen said that Trask is becoming an amazing success story that sets an example for preparing for your moment.
The Gators will be back next Saturday when they head to Nashville to face Vanderbilt.