Florida Gators Offense Makes History in 51-35 Thrashing of Ole Miss Rebels
The No. 5 Florida Gators and quarterback Kyle Trask took the season by storm Saturday in a 51-35 thrashing of the Ole Miss Rebels in Week 1 of the SEC's season.
On the day, the Gators totaled 642 yards, the most offensive yards in school history since they totaled 640 in a game against Mississippi State in 2001. The Gators gained 446 passing yards and 196 rushing yards on the day.
Florida was all offense Saturday, as Trask connected on 30 of 42 of his passes for 416 yards and six touchdowns for a QB rating of 201.8. Trask and the Florida offense spread the ball around too, with 11 different receivers tallying at least one reception.
With Trask's six touchdown passes, he joined former LSU Tiger quarterback Joe Burrow as the only two quarterbacks to ever throw six touchdown passes in a conference opener.
The team's leader on offense aside from Trask, tight end Kyle Pitts showed why he is thought of as the best tight end in college football. He caught eight passes for 170 yards and four touchdowns, including a long 71-yard touchdown reception on the second play of the second half.
Pitts' four touchdown receptions are the most by any Gators player since Ike Hilliard, who had four in 1995. With his four receiving touchdowns, Pitts, Hilliard and Jack Jackson (1994) are the only Florida players to accomplish that feat.
With 170 receiving yards on the day, Pitts became the first Gators player to tally 150+ receiving yards since Demarcus Robinson did it against Kentucky in 2014.
The Gators began the day in the first half running 40 plays, including 18 first downs, four touchdowns, going five of six on third down and averaging 8.4 yards per play. Nine of Trask's 18 completions in the first half went for 15 or more yards. There wasn't anything the Rebels could do no, matter how high-firing their own offense was on the day.
After scoring 28 points in the first half of the game, the Gators came out swinging yet again in the second half with 23 points, surrendering 15 on defense. Placekicker Evan McPherson helped extend the lead with nine points of his own, including a 55-yard field goal with 9:30 remaining in the third quarter.
While Pitts and Trask were the headliners, senior receiver Kadarius Toney was a playmaker himself, netting two rushes for 55 yards and five receptions for 59 yards and a touchdown on the day.
While the Gators were firing on all cylinders on offense, their defense could have been better as Lane Kiffin's offense seemingly passed at will throughout the majority of the game.
At the start of the game, safety Brad Stewart was ruled out with starting safety Shawn Davis ejected due to a targeting penalty on the first drive.
Rebels quarterback Matt Corral connected on 22 out of 31 of his passes for 395 yards, three touchdowns and one interception on the day. Entering Saturday, the Gators wanted to slow down receiver Elijah Moore, but they simply couldn't limit him as he caught 10 passes for 227 yards.
In total, the Gators gave up 35 points, although the final touchdown the Rebels would score in garbage time with just 58 seconds left in the game. The team surrendered a total of 613 yards on the day.
While the defense struggled in the secondary, Florida's front seven was another story as linebacker Ventrell Miller accounted for 14 tackles (12 solos), one sack and two tackles-for-loss. Sophomore defensive end Brenton Cox Jr. added eight tackles (four solos), 2.5 tackles-for-loss and a key pass breakup that led to a freshman Gervon Dexter interception.
With just 54 seconds remaining in the game, the Rebels recovered an on-side kick, however, it would prove too little, too late as Florida advanced to 1-0 on the season with the 51-35 victory.