It had been 271 days since the Florida Gators last took the field – and after months of uncertainty and a nebulous future – it was simply a great feeling to just watch the Orange and Blue take the field, almost regardless of the outcome.
The Gators took the field, in what was expected to be a game of unknowns due to Lane Kiffin’s arrivals at Ole Miss, the toll COVID-19 has taken mentally on participants, and of course, with a much more limited practice schedule.
Sure, the game wasn’t always perfect – there are a lot of areas to improve on especially in the linebacker and safety positions – but scoring 51-points (the most points Florida has ever scored in an SEC-opening game) and setting the school record in yards in a game (642) isn’t all to be disappointed in.
And yes, the defense needs a lot of work – especially in the linebacker and safety rooms – but after replacing a number of starters from last year’s defense and missing at least a few potential starters against Ole Miss, it is certainly a work in progress, not a lost cause.
With its 51-35 win over Ole Miss, the Gators have moved up the number three spot in the AP and Coaches Poll – the highest ranking the Gators have been ranked since the October 21, 2012, AP Poll.
While there are a lot of numbers that will change throughout the course of the season, as we always do – let us look behind the numbers on the Gators win over the Rebels.
- The Gators are now 12-12-1 all-time against Ole Miss and won against Ole Miss in consecutive games for the first time since 1994/1995. Also, despite some perception, the Gators don’t travel well to Mississippi – the Gators improve to 6-2 all-time against Ole Miss in Oxford.
- The Gators 8.7 yards per play set a Gators record against an SEC foe.
- The Gators 446 yards passing were the most they have had in a game since Tim Tebow’s final game against Cincinnati to end the 2009 season (482).
- Kyle Trask’s 67.2% career completion rate is the highest of any Gators quarterback with at least 100 passes. Tim Tebow ranks second with 66.4%. Kyle Trask was most successful (highest quarterback rating) in the middle of the field greater than 20 yards, where he was 3-for-4 for 104 yards and three touchdowns. He was also 1-for-1 for 22 yards and a touchdown on the outside right of the field.
- Kyle Trask was 9-for-13 for 155 yards with three touchdowns when Ole Miss blitzed him, which complemented his 66.7% completion rate when blitzed last season. Strong performance.
- The Gators had 32 first downs – the fourth time they have done that under Dan Mullen. They had previously done it just three times between 2009 – 2017.
- Jean Delance allowed three quarterback hurries – more than the rest of the line combined. Stone Forsythe allowed the only sack.
- The Gators defensive backfield struggled with Marco Wilson and Kaiir Elam allowing 9-of-14 passes for 199 yards and a touchdown, including 93-yards after the catch. Marco Wilson also missed three tackles.
- The Gators had 22 missed tackles in the game
- Zachary Carter had a big game with seven pressures, including two quarterback hits and five hurries.
- Brenton Cox is the best defenseman the Gators have – the numbers show it, and the eyeballs show it.
- The Gators allowed Ole Miss in the red zone eight times – the most they have allowed since at least 2005. While only allowing four scores, the Gators allowed touchdowns all four times.
- With only four penalties, the Gators now have 21 straight games with less than 10 penalties again.
- Evan McPherson went 3-3 and is now 37-of-41 in his career and is officially the most accurate kicker in Florida Gators history in both field goals and extra point success.