July 29, 2021

Kyle Trask’s early struggles spark No. 6 Oklahoma’s Cotton Bowl blowout of No. 7 Florida

Kyle Trask had a horrific start to Wednesday night’s Cotton Bowl.The Florida quarterback threw three interceptions on the Gators’ first three drives. Those picks led to 17 points for Oklahoma as the No. 6 Sooners cruised to an easy 55-20 win over the No. 7 Gators to end the season on an eight-game winning streak.To Florida’s credit, the Gators scored 13 unanswered points after Oklahoma’s early blitz to cut the lead to 17-13 and give UF fans a glimmer of hope that the game could be salvaged. But Oklahoma responded with two quick touchdowns ahead of halftime thanks to an ill-advised Florida field goal attempt.The Gators decided to try a 58-yard field goal down 24-13 with 2:50 to go in the second quarter. Evan McPherson’s kick fell short and Oklahoma (9-2) took over on its own 40. The Sooners scored nine plays later for an 18-point halftime lead and an easy second half ahead in the first postseason win of coach Lincoln Riley’s tenure.Oklahoma defensive end Ronnie Perkins (7) celebrates after sacking Florida quarterback Emory Jones, center left on knee, during the second half of the Cotton Bowl NCAA college football game in Arlington, Texas, Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2020. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)Oklahoma’s defense shined on Wednesday night. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)Kyle Trask’s worst game of 2020Things weren’t going to be easy for Florida’s Heisman finalist QB on Wednesday night.The Gators (8-4) entered the game without All-American tight end Kyle Pitts and star wide receiver Kadarius Toney after the two players had said they were prepping for the NFL draft. No. 2 wideout Trevon Grimes also declared for the draft before the game and No. 3 wide receiver Jacob Copeland was out because of COVID-19 protocols.That left Trask without a receiver who had more than 250 receiving yards in the first 11 games of the season. And it showed as the Florida players who played were plagued with drops, especially in the first half.It doesn’t explain Trask’s interceptions, however. His first pick came on Florida’s second offensive play of the game. Oklahoma scored on its first drive to make the game 7-0 right away and it was 14-0 seconds later after Tre Norwood got a pick-six after stepping in front of a Trask pass and taking it to the end zone.Trask finished the game 16-of-28 passing for 158 yards and no touchdowns. Whether it was by pregame design or adaptation because of the blowout, Trask ended up splitting time throughout the game with backup QB Emory Jones. He’ll be returning to the Gators in 2021 as Trask is off to the NFL after finishing in the top four in the Heisman voting.Wednesday night’s game marked the first in Trask’s career where he hadn’t thrown for a TD pass as a starter. He finishes the 2020 season with 4,283 yards passing and 43 TDs and eight interceptions.

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