The Florida Gators start the 2020 season with a 1-0 record after knocking off the Ole Miss Rebels 51-35. The Gators offense had a spectacular game as they totaled over 600 yards of offense and six touchdowns, all through the air. Here are three takeaways from Florida-Ole Miss game.
Kyle Trask and Kyle Pitts both had great games to start their season. Trask completed 30 out of 42 passes for 416 yards and six touchdowns. Pitts was Trask’s main target as he led the Gators in receiving with eight receptions for 170 yards and four touchdowns.
While the offense was firing on all cylinders, the defense had a rough game as the Rebels, led by former Florida commit Matt Corral , had over 400 yards of total offense and scored three touchdowns.
The Florida defense had a difficult time slowing down the Rebels offense in Lane Kiffin’s debut as Ole Miss’s head coach. However, there were some defensive players that stood out in the game.
Three Takeaways From Florida-Ole Miss Game
Florida’s Offense Looks Explosive
The Florida Gators offense had one of their best games since the arrival of Dan Mullen. Florida’s offense put up a total of 643 yards of offense (446 passing and 196 rushing). Trask had an incredible game as he did a terrific job of picking apart the Ole Miss defense.
Florida’s star tight end, Kyle Pitts, continues to prove that he’s the top tight end in the country. Pitts is one of the biggest mismatches in the nation due to his 6’6” frame and speed. He demands double teams and that wasn’t even enough to keep him out of the end zone.
Besides Pitts, the Gators did have other players that were productive. Senior wide receivers Trevon Grimes and Kadarius Toney both scored touchdowns. Grimes caught three passes for 59 yards. Toney also had five catches for 59 and also led Florida in rushing with 55 yards in two carries.
Toney finally looked like a more complete wide receiver. He was able to run routes better than he probably ever has in his collegiate career. Florida’s running backs also had big games in the season opener.
Junior running back Dameon Pierce had 10 touches for 56 yards. Malik Davis finally looked healthy with seven carries for 49 yards and three catches for 33 yards. Redshirt-freshman Nay’Quan Wright also had an explosive play as a receiver with a 25-yard reception in which he shook two or three Rebels.
Florida Defense Has Rough Start
Todd Grantham and the Florida defense had a rough first game against the Ole Miss offense. Head coach Lane Kiffin has been known to be a quality offensive minded coach and it should in Week 1.
He gave Florida different looks at quarterback and use the lack of film to their advantage. Their quarterback, Matt Corral, played exceptional well throwing 395 yards and three touchdowns. The Rebels sophomore running back, Jerrion Ealy, also played well as he got 16 carries for 79 yards and a touchdown. Wide receiver Elijah Moore had a huge game with ten receptions for 227 yards.
The Gators were down a couple of starters to begin the game like Jeremiah Moon, Kyree Campbell and Brad Stewart. It didn’t get any easier when they also lost strong safety, Shawn Davis, as he was ejected for targeting.
The Gators played a sloppy game as he blew a lot of coverage and missed many tackles. There were a few players that did show up. Linebacker Ventrell Miller had a great game as he recorded 15 tackles with 2.5 tackles for loss and a sack. Miller was also named SEC Defensive Player of the Week.
Former five-star recruit and Georgia transfer Brenton Cox made some big plays in his Gators debut. Cox recorded eight tackles including a sack and pass breakup which led to an interception. There’s plenty of talent on Florida’s defense but are still trying to shake the rust off. We’ll see if they can make the necessary adjustments for next week’s game against the South Carolina Gamecocks.
Offensive Line Shows Promise
Going into the season, many experts knew Florida had a lot of playmakers on offense but how was the offensive line going to look? Florida had one of the worst and most inexperienced offensive lines in the SEC in 2019.
The Gators did return four out of five starters from their offensive line and also added Mississippi State graduate transfer Stewart Reese. However, their center, Ethan White, went down with an injury during fall camp and will be out for a couple of weeks.
Florida’s offensive line coach, John Hevesy, had to shuffle the offensive line and bring back former Texas transfer Jean Delance into the starting five. In their first test of the season, Florida’s offensive line most definitely passed.
They did a terrific job pass blocking as Kyle Trask had a clean pocket and plenty of time to find open receivers. As for run blocking, it looks like they have improved as they were able to create some rushing lanes and help the Florida ground game rush for over 6.8 yards a carry.
The one offensive lineman that stood out was senior Brett Heggie. The former Under Armour All-American did a terrific job of creating lanes, creating a new line of scrimmage and finish his blocks with a couple of pancakes. The SEC rewards Heggie for his performance as he was this week’s SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week.