Gators use defense to crush Tennessee
Trask solid at QB, Florida defense shines in 34-3 rout
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Kyle Trask threw for 293 yards and two touchdowns in his first start in nearly seven years and No. 9 Florida beat slumping Tennessee 34-3 Saturday, extending the Gators' dominance in a series that used to be the most prominent in the Southeastern Conference's Eastern Division.
Trask's first collegiate start was far from perfect, though. The fourth-year junior lost a fumble and threw two interceptions against the Volunteers (1-3, 0-1 SEC).
But he did enough to overcome those miscues and lead Florida (4-0, 2-0) to its 14th win in its last 15 games against Tennessee. Trask completed 20 of 28 passes, none better than the ones that went for touchdowns to Kyle Pitts and Freddie Swain.
Trask connected with Pitts for a 19-yard score on the opening drive of the game and then hooked up with Swain for a 29-yarder to cap Florida's first possession of the second half.
Not bad for a backup.
Trask played behind current Houston starter D'Eriq King at Manvel (Texas) High for three seasons and spent the last three years behind Feleipe Franks, who gruesomely dislocated and fractured his right ankle in a 29-21 victory at Kentucky last weekend. Trask last started a game in 2012 for Manvel's freshman A team.
Tennessee's performance was mostly a debacle, especially early.
Right tackle K'Rojhn Calbert was flagged for a late hit after the Vols picked up their first first down. Cornerback Warren Burrell recovered a fumble with a foot out of bounds, negating the turnover.
Jauan Jennings, the team's top receiver, bobbled a would-be touchdown in the end zone that resulted in an interception. Tennessee had to burn a timeout after coming out of a television break. And then quarterback Jarrett Guarantano threw an interception right to cornerback Marco Wilson after a miscommunication with a receiver.
Guarantano completed 8 of 15 passes for 93 yards with two interceptions and a sack in the first half. He was benched in favor of freshman Brian Maurer to start the second half.
Maurer, who grew up in nearby Ocala, had made his collegiate debut last week against Chattanooga.
Jennings added to Tennessee's woes in the second half. He received a 15-yard penalty for running into punt returner Freddie Swain, who had called for a fair catch.
Tennessee: The Vols might have a quarterback quandary moving forward. Maurer played three series before Guarantano returned. Maurer completed 4 of 11 passes for 44 yards with an interception. Guarantano finished 10 of 17 for 104 yards with two interceptions.
Tennessee finished with 239 yards, including 151 passing.
Florida: The Gators turned in their most complete game of the season. They needed a couple of defensive stands to beat Miami in the opener and leaned on Track to orchestrate a late rally and overcome an 11-point deficit at Kentucky.
The Gators should remain in the top 10 after a dominating performance.
Tennessee has a bye week before beginning a daunting stretch against No. 3 Georgia, Mississippi State and at second-ranked Alabama.
Florida hosts Towson in the second of two games against teams from the Football Championship Subdivision.
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