The Florida Gators start the season with a 1-0 record after defeating the Ole Miss Rebels in a 51-35 shootout. Gators quarterback Kyle Trask had a record-tying performance in the season opener against Ole Miss. Florida tight end Kyle Pitts also had a record type performance.
While Ole Miss took a pounding on defense, their offense looked great in their first game in the Lane Kiffin era. Late Friday night, Kiffin announced that former Florida commit Matt Corral was named the starting quarterback for the 2020 season.
Kyle Trask Helps Florida Put Away Ole Miss
Ole Miss Rebels
The Ole Miss Rebels will start their 2020 season 0-1 after losing in a shootout to the Florida Gators. While the Rebels lost, there are a lot of positives to take away from the game, especially on offense. Redshirt-sophomore quarterback Corral was outstanding in the season opener.
Corral completed 22 out of 31 passes for 395 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception. He also rushed for 50 yards on 13 carries. The California native looked very comfortable in Kiffin’s offense and went vertical against Florida’s defense.
Sophomore running back Jerrion Ealy also had a big game as he had 16 carries for 79 yards and a touchdown. Ealy also had three catches for 44 yards. Ole Miss wide receiver and South Florida native Elijah Moore had a great game and gave the Gators defense a lot of fits.
Moore led the Rebels in receiving with 10 receptions for 227 yards. Tight end Kenny Yeboah had a big second half as he recorded five catches for 91 yards and a touchdown. Senior wide receiver Dontario Drummond also made a nice impact for the Rebels with two catches for 60 yards and a score. Drummond also had a 45-yard completion in the first half.
While the Ole Miss offense was moving up and down the field, their defense was getting torched by the Gators offense. Ole Miss defensive coordinator, D.J. Durkin, has a lot of work to do in order to mix his defense. The Rebels allowed 642 total yards of offense.
They did get an interception early in the game by safety A.J. Finley but that’s about the only thing that went right for Ole Miss’s defense. Cornerback Keidron Smith led the Rebels in tackles with twelve including eight solos and a pass breakup. Linebacker Sam Williams was the only sack the Rebels recorded in the loss.
The Florida Gators offense led by redshirt-senior quarterback Trask put on a clinic as they had no issues putting drives together and getting some explosive plays. Trask had a career game as he completed 30 out of 42 passes for 416 yards and six touchdowns. Trask became the second quarterback in SEC history to throw for six touchdowns in an SEC opener. The only other quarterback to that was Joe Burrow in the 2019 season opener against the Vanderbilt Commodores.
Another Kyle that had a monster performance was the Gators junior tight end, Pitts. The six-foot-six-inch tight end led the Gators in receiving with eight receptions for 170 yards and four touchdowns. Pitts broke a University of Florida record for most touchdowns by a tight end in a single game.
The Florida offense also had a couple of more standouts from the Ole Miss win. Seniors Kadarius Toney and Trevon Grimes made some impactful plays. Toney had five catches for 59 yards and a receiving touchdown. He also led Florida in rushing with 55 yards on two carries. Toney might have had his best game in his collegiate career and looked much better as a route runner.
Former Ohio State transfer wideout, Grimes, had a good game. He had three catches for 67 yards and a touchdown. Redshirt-sophomore Jacob Copeland also made some plays with three receptions for 39 yards.
Junior running back Dameon Pierce played well in his first start in his collegiate career. Pierce had nine carries and rushed for 54 yards. Malik Davis also got some touches as he had seven carries for 49 yards. In addition, Davis had three catches for 33 yards in the season opener.
On defense, the Florida Gators struggled mightily against the passing attack of Ole Miss. The Gators allowed 613 yards in the game which is the most they’ve given up in a game since they played Alabama in 2014.
However, it wasn’t all bad for the Florida defense. Former Georgia transfer Brenton Cox finally made his Gators debut and didn’t disappoint. Cox recorded eight tackles with two-and-a-half tackles for loss and a sack. He also tipped a pass at the line of scrimmage that led to an interception by freshman defensive tackle Gervon Dexter.
Linebacker Ventrell Miller was one of the few bright spots on Florida’s defense. Miller led both teams in tackles with 15. He also had 13 solo tackles, a sack, and two tackles for a loss. He will be counted as the main linebacker with David Reese no longer with the program. Miller wasn’t the only bright spot though. The Gators record two more sacks in the game as sophomore linebacker Mohamoud Diabate got one. Khris Bogle and Tedarrell Slaton also shared a sack late in the game.
Florida was already down a couple of key players before the game but then lost a starter as Shawn Davis was ejected from the game for targeting just three minutes in.
The Florida Gators will be home for the first time of the 2020 season. The Gators will host the South Carolina Gamecocks next Saturday. South Carolina is coming off a tough 31-27 loss to the Tennessee Volunteers. Kyle Trask dominated Ole Miss, can he repeat next week against the Gamecocks? Kickoff is at 12 pm EST on ESPN.