The Gators head into halftime with plenty of momentum, leading the Rebels 28-14 in a game that looked to take the form of a shootout early. Florida quarterback Kyle Trask led the way, tossing four touchdowns in the first 30 minutes of the game.
Both the Florida Gators and Ole Miss Rebels began the day with a show of unity against racial and social injustice. Prior to the start of the game, the two teams released a joint statement:
"As members of the Florida and Ole Miss football teams, we recognize the impact of our personal platforms and are choosing to amplify the issues that directly impact us. Together we have chosen to take the opening series of today’s competition to acknowledge the unrest in our country surrounding the treatment of African Americans. We will continue to support social justice efforts as members of the Southeastern Conference and members of our respective communities."
Prior to the start of the game, Florida ruled out several offensive and defensive players without including OL Ethan White, DB Ethan Pouncey, WR Jordan Pouncey, DL Kyree Campbell, S Brad Stewart Jr., CB Fenley Graham, DL Dante Lang, BUCK Jeremiah Moon, DB Quincy Lenton, DL Lamar Goods, ATH Joshua Tse, DL Lucas Alonso and ATH Kevin Johnson.
The Gators would begin the day with some leakage on defense. With the Rebels boasting a new head coach in bright offensive mind, Lane Kiffin, the Florida secondary struggled to keep up.
While the Rebels began the game with a failed fourth-down conversion, they would go on to score in two out of three drives afterward. Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral would find his receiver, Dontario Drummond for two touchdowns on the day. Drummond also had a 45-yard pass on the day.
It wasn't all bad for the Florida defense, however as sophomore defensive lineman and BUCK Brenton Cox Jr. made his presence felt early, quickly getting a sack on Corral, along with a tackle-for-loss and a pass breakup that would land in the mitts of freshman defensive lineman Gervon Dexter, who recorded his first-career interception.
On offense, the Gators would start off well with a touchdown on their first possession, a one-yard pitch and catch from Trask to tight end Kyle Pitts. On the team's second drive, however, redshirt sophomore quarterback Emory Jones threw an ill-advised interception on the first play.
Following the first quarter, the Gators would have 14 points thanks to another Trask touchdown toss, this time to senior receiver Trevon Grimes on a 22-yard pitch and catch. The play was set up by a 50-yard razzle-dazzle like run by senior receiver Kadarius Toney.
In the second quarter, Trask would find Toney for a touchdown pass, which would be his third on the day. A 16-yard pitch and catch that would extend the Gators' lead by seven, with only a few minutes remaining in the first half.
Making history for Florida, Trask became the first Florida quarterback with three or more touchdown passes in the first game of the season since Tim Tebow in 2007.
To end the half Trask connected once more with Pitts for a perfect throw to the close corner of the end zone. A 16-yard touchdown reception that would be Pitts' second of the day. Pitts ended the first half on fire with five receptions for 75 yards and two touchdowns.
There was also this:
Key Halftime Stats:
- Trask: 18 of 25 for 241 yards and four touchdowns
- Toney: Three receptions for 47 yards, 1 TD, 1 rush for 50 yards
- Jacob Copeland Three receptions for 39 yards
- Pitts: Five receptions, 75 yards, two touchdowns
- Miller: Eight tackles, seven solos, one sack, one tackle-for-loss
- Cox Jr.: Eight tackles, four solos, one sack, 2.5 tackles-for-loss, one PBU
- Dexter: 1 INT, 1 tackle
- Corral: 7 of 11 for 125 yards, two touchdowns
- Elijah Moore: Five receptions for 62 yards
- Drummond: Two receptions for 60 yards and two touchdowns