TRASK WASN'T CONSUMED BY THE CIRCUMSTANCES
Rather than a baptism by fire in his first legitimate game on the line opportunity Saturday night in Lexington, we saw a very calm, very much in charge Kyle Trask who wasn't the least bit consumed by his circumstances. Trask acted like he'd been doing this all his life as he gave the Gators the shot in the arm they needed to rally from 11 down to a 29-21 win over the Kentucky Wildcats. In reality, it might be the first time since junior high that Trask has been in a situation like this. After all, he was a backup in high school, too.
If unflappable at Kentucky translates to a quarterback that won't be overwhelmed by either circumstances or opponents the rest of the way, then Florida still has a legitimate shot at a 9-10 win (or more) season. Two plays in particular showed us what Trask is capable of doing. The first was on the option toss to Lamical Perine for Florida's first TD after he came in to replace Feleipe Franks. On that play, Trask not only had the presence to make the toss when he absorbed the first contact but to make certain he pitched it behind him so there was no chance of an illegal forward pass. The second play was the jet sweep that Josh Hammond turned into a 76-yard game-sealing touchdown. Trask made the handoff to Hammond but continued to carry out the fake so well that he got hit by two UK linemen. By the time three back end defenders figured out Hammond had the ball, Hammond had his shoulders squared and was going north-south, too late to get caught.
What do these two plays tell us? They tell us that Trask is a QB who has worked hard to be ready when his number got called. He wasn't rusty. He wasn't the least bit apprehensive. He was ready to step in and make plays and did them in a Win One for the Gipper moment when the entire Florida team needed a spark after Franks went down.
That says something about the kid and the coaching he's received.
GATORS REMAIN IN THE TOP TEN IN BOTH POLLS
The Associated Press Top 25 Poll
Clemson 3-0; (2) Alabama 3-0; (3) Georgia 3-0; (4) LSU 3-0; (5) Oklahoma 4-0; (6) Ohio State 3-0; (7) Notre Dame 2-0; (8) Auburn 3-0; (9) FLORIDA 3-0; (10) Utah 3-0; (11) Michigan 2-0; (12) Texas 2-1; (13; tie) Wisconsin 2-0 and Penn State 3-0; (15) UCF 3-0; (16) Oregon 2-1; (17) Texas A&M 2-1; (18) Iowa 3-0; (19) Washington State 3-0; (20) Boise State 3-0; (21) Virginia 3-0; (22) Washington 2-1; (23) California 3-0; (24) Arizona State 3-0; (25) TCU 2-0
The Coaches Top 25 Top 25 Poll
Clemson 3-0; (2) Alabama 3-0; (3) Georgia 3-0; (4) Oklahoma 3-0; (5) LSU 3-0; (6) Ohio State 3-0; (7) Notre Dame 2-0; (8) FLORIDA 3-0; (9) Auburn 3-0; (10) Michigan 3-0; (11) Utah 3-0; (12) Penn State 3-0; (13) Texas 2-1; (14) Wisconsin 2-0; (15) Texas A&M 2-1; (16) UCF 3-0; (17) Oregon 2-1; (18) Iowa 3-0; (19) Washington State 3-0; (20) Boise State 3-0; (21) Washington 2-1; (22) Virginia 3-0; (23) California 3-0; (24) Arizona State 3-0; (25) Kansas State 3-0
RANKING THE SEC TOP TO BOTTOM
(1) Alabama (3-0, 1-0 SEC): All Tua did was hit 28-36 passes for 444 yards and five touchdowns in the win over South Carolina. So far he's just 70-91 for 1,007 yards (11.1 per attempt) and 12 touchdowns without a pick. Next week: vs. Southern Mississippi (2-1)
(2) LSU (3-0, 0-0 SEC): LSU played like a bored team yet they still scored 65 points and ran up and down the field for 620 yards. Joe Burrow still hit 21-24 passes for 373 yards and two touchdowns, plus he scored one on the ground. He's hit 75-90 passes for 1,122 yards (12.5 per attempt) and 11 touchdowns in three games. Next week: at Vanderbilt (0-2, 0-1 SEC)
(3) Georgia (3-0, 1-0 SEC): Georgia has blown out three consecutive opponents. Are the Bulldogs that good or have they played three straight cupcakes? We find out this week when Notre Dame comes to Athens. Through three games, Jake Fromm is 42-64 passing for 601 yards (10.7 per attempt) and five touchdowns without a pick. Next week: vs. Notre Dame (2-0)
(4) Auburn (3-0, 0-0 SEC): In blowing out Kent State, 55-16, Auburn ran for six touchdowns and had three 100-yard plus rushers in Boobie Whitlow (17-138, two touchdowns), Joey Gatewood (12-102, two touchdowns) and Shaun Shivers (12-102).
Next week: at Texas A&M (2-1, 0-0 SEC)
(5) FLORIDA (3-0, 1-0 SEC):The Gators rank 59thin total offense (428.3 yards per game) and 33rdin total defense (300.7 yards per game).
Next week: vs. Tennessee (1-2, 0-0 SEC)
(6) Texas A&M (2-1, 0-0 SEC): In his first game after being thrust into the starting lineup due to an injury, freshman running back Isaiah Spiller carried 14 times for 116 yards and two touchdowns plus caught two passes for 21 yards. Next week: vs. Auburn (3-0, 0-0 SEC)
(7) Kentucky (2-1, 0-1 SEC): Mark Stoops was seriously upset with the officiating, particularly about a fourth quarter targeting call on D-Lineman T.J. Carter. Replays did show that Carter led with the crown of his helmet, which, according to the rules, is an automatic targeting flag. Next week: at Mississippi State (2-1, 0-0 SEC)
(8) Missouri (2-1, 0-0 SEC): Missouri scored 50 points but that wasn't the story in Saturday's 50-0 win over D1AA Southeast Missouri State. The big story was a defense that pitched a shutout while giving up only 94 total yards. Next week: vs. South Carolina
(9) Mississippi State (2-1, 0-0 SEC): Tommy Stevens got hurt again and that didn't help matters much. Neither did Joe Moorhead getting his coaching butt handed to him on a platter by K-State's Chris Kliemann. This is a game that Mississippi State should have but didn't win. Next week: vs. Kentucky (2-1, 0-1 SEC)
(10) South Carolina (1-2, 0-1 SEC): Even though the Gamecocks got their doors blown off by Alabama, 47-23, Ryan Hilinski played so well (36-57 for 324 yards and two touchdowns) that Jake Bentley would be wise to start looking into graduate transfer options. Hilinski is the real deal. Next week: at Missouri (2-1, 0-0 SEC)
(11) Ole Miss (2-1, 1-0 SEC): The defense that looked so good in games one and two looked like the one last year that was so bad against D1AA Southeastern Louisiana. The Rebels were saved by super freshman Jerion Ealy, who ran for 95 yards and a TD, caught a pass for six yards and returned six kickoffs for 172 yards including taking one 94 yards to the house. Next week: vs. California (3-0)
(12) Vanderbilt (0-2, 0-1 SEC): The Commodores got the week off which meant they didn't lose. The Commodores get back to their losing ways this week when LSU comes to town. This will get ugly early. Next week: vs. LSU (3-0, 0-0 SEC)
(13) Arkansas (2-1, 0-1 SEC): The switch to Texas A&M grad transfer QB Nick Starkel paid off for the Hogs in their 55-34 win over Colorado State. Starkel completed 20-35 passes for 305 yards and three touchdowns without throwing a pick. Next week: vs. San Jose State (1-1)
(14) Tennessee (1-2, 0-0 SEC): The Vols got a win. Sure, it was only Chattanooga from D1AA but when you've been as bad as the Vols have been in their first two games, you wear your win proudly. Next week: at FLORIDA (3-0, 1-0 SEC)
ELSEWHERE IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL
File this under the category “If you always do what you've always done, you'll always be what you've always been.” For the third straight game Florida State was owned in the fourth quarter, this time by Virginia, which scored the game's final 21 points to beat the Seminoles, 31-24. Florida State gave up 21 fourth quarter points and lost to Virginia, 31-24. If games were decided by who wins the first half, FSU would be 3-0 right now. Instead the Seminoles are 1-2 and should be 0-3.
Just when we were thinking the Pac-12 is the worst of the Power 5 Conferences along comes the Atlantic Coast Conference. Among other things, Boston College got its doors blown off – at home no less – by Les Miles and the Kansas Jayhawks. Georgia Tech lost to D1AA The Citadel. Virginia Tech barely escaped with a win over D1AA Furman. Pitt was down 17-10 to Penn State with 4:54 to go and facing fourth-and-goal at the Penn State one. Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi elected to go for a field goal (missed from 19 yards) and then after the game claimed he opted for a FG because it was a 2-score game. North Carolina State got poleaxed by the same West Virginia team that Missouri stomped the week before.
So much for all this talk about Maryland and how Mike Locksley regained his coaching mojo while working for Nick Saban. The Locksley that coached the Fighting Turtles to a loss against Shirley Temple looked exactly like the Locksley that was 3-31 as a head coach heading into the season.
Southern Cal created this incredible mess following Pete Carroll by the way it fired Lane Kiffin and then hired Steve Sarkisian. What Clay Helton has done to rehab the image of Southern Cal by playing by the rules and cleaning things up deserves better than what he's probably going to get. After losing to BYU, 30-27, in overtime in Provo when his true freshman quarterback threw an interception, the Southern Cal boosters want Helton's scalp and they want him replaced with Urban Meyer. With Utah next followed by roadies to Notre Dame and Washington, the only way Helton will silence the critics is to win all three. And then you wonder will even that be enough?
As Left Coasters and Power 5 elites try to make excuses for Stanford getting torched by UCF at the Bounce House, 45-27 – a game that wasn't nearly as close as the score might indicate – consider this: The Knights have won 28 of their last 29 games. They have scored 30 or more points in 30 consecutive games. Maybe it's time to admit that UCF is really, really good.
GOOD QUOTES FOR MONDAY
From David Schoenfeld of ESPN on how former Gator Pete Alonso has become an almost bigger than life figure and the face of the New York Mets in his rookie year:
“The other day to honor the 9/11 anniversary, Alonso had petitioned MLB to let the Mets wear first responder caps during the game, like they had back in 2001 in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy. When MLB denied the request, Alonso wore special first responder cleats – and then gave the entire team a pair.”
From Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports, on the doom and gloom at Boston College after the Eagles got pillaged and plundered by Les Miles and Kansas:
“The only good thing for Boston College was that this game was broadcast on the ACC Network, which meant limited viewership. This will go down as the most dispiriting loss of Steve Addazio’s seven seasons at BC, as the Eagles’ defensive front got consistently mauled and the backend missed tackle after tackle. The offense disappeared. Addazio used the phrase 'my responsibility' three times in his postgame news conference.”
From Nate Scott of USA Today on Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi's decision to kick a field goal on fourth-and-goal at the Penn State one when trailing the Nittany Lions, 17-10, with less than five minutes remaining in the game:
“It wasn’t just spectacularly cowardly. It was spectacularly stupid.It was stupid before his kicker missed and it was just as stupid after his kicker missed, but it had the added thing of being hilarious.”
From Michelle Martinelli on Maryland's inept offense, particularly after taking over on the Temple 10 following a 7-yard punt, then failing to score:
“The Terps failed to score twice from Temple’s one-yard line and turned the ball over on downs with about five minutes left in the game. And when their defense forced Temple to go three-and-out on the next possession (which led to the seven-yard punt), they, once again, failed to score when the drive started at the Owls’ 10-yard line. How do you start a drive at first-and-goal and not score?”
RANDOM THOUGHTS: Charlie Culbertson of the Atlanta Braves suffered multiple facial fractures Saturday after he was hit in the face by a 91 mph fast ball by Fernando Rodney of the Washington Nationals ... When ESPN rated the top players at the FIBA World Cup in China, not a single player from Team USA made its list of most impactful … Former Gator Demarcus Robinson had the best game of his NFL career Sunday when he caught six passes for 172 yards and two touchdowns for the Kansas City Chiefs. His TD catches were 44 and 39 yards … Former Gator Eddy Pineiro's third field goal of the game, a 53-yarder as time expired gave the Chicago Bears a 16-14 win over the Denver Broncos.