Five Takeaways: No. 3 Florida Gators see hype dry up in upset loss to No. 20 Texas A&M

Robbie Andreu
Gator Sports
View Comments
Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond (11) looks to run against Florida linebacker Jeremiah Moon (7) during the first quarter Saturday in College Station, Texas.
Florida quarterback Kyle Trask is tackled after a short gain by Texas A&M defensive lineman Tyree Johnson (3) and defensive back Myles Jones (0) during the first quarter Saturday in College Station, Texas.

All the preseason and early season hype about Florida being a potential playoff team will now surely cease, put to rest by Jimbo FIsher and the host Texas A&M Aggies.

 In a stunningly poor defensive performance by the Gators, the No. 20 Aggies outgunned No. 3 Florida 41-38 Saturday. The winning points came on a 21-yard field goal by Seth Small as time expired.

 It was a signature win for Fisher, who has now won eight of nine against the Gators, going back to his days at Florida State.

 The winning drive came after UF running back Malik Davis lost a fumble on his own 48-yard line.

  “You’re playing 10 SEC games in a row. I told our guys, you’ve got to get over this one quick.,” UF coach Dan Mullen said. “We’re more like an NFL schedule this year. You’ve got to get over this one quick and get ready to go again next week. We’ll get over this one. We’ll get that corrected on the flight home tonight, get a lot of things done tonight, get on to LSU and move forward to that game now.”

Here are five takeaways from the game:

1. Trask homecoming spoiled

 Florida quarterback Kyle Trask is from Manvel, Texas, which is about two hours from College Station, and was named after Kyle Field by his parents, who were both big Texas A&M fans.

 His planned happy homecoming did not happen.

 But he did his part to give the Gators a chance, throwing four touchdown passes.

 “It's a really nice stadium, I've been here a couple times,” he said. “It was a cool experience to play in (the stadium) with all my family there.

 "Obviously, really frustrating to be that close. There was a point in the game where we got the game almost locked away. So, we’ve just got to be able to put our foot down and put the game away so things like this won't happen."

2. More of the same for the two Kyles

 Despite facing double coverage on just about every pass play, the Kyle Trask to Kyle Pitts connection continues to be lethal. The two hooked up for a 5-yard touchdown pass on the game’s opening drive. It was Pitts’ seventh touchdown reception this season, tying the school season record for TD catches by a tight end. 

 What it comes down to is this: for a UF tight end, Pitts has had one of the best seasons ever — in just three games. The seven TDs match the most by a UF receiver (Freddy Swain) in 2019.

 His TD Saturday was the 13th of his career, establishing a UF record for a tight end.

3. The defense is what it is

 Earlier in the week, Mullen and defensive coordinator Todd Grantham seemed confident that the defense has a chance to get better over the course of the year after back-to-back poor performances to open the season.

 Based on how badly the Gators were pushed around Saturday, this is probably the kind of defense UF is going to play the rest of the season.

 The Gators couldn’t stop the pass. Then they couldn’t stop the run.

 The problems have been the same every week: poor coverage in the secondary, poor angles taken by the linebackers and a lack of depth on the line that really came into play in the second half, when the Gators got gutted on the ground.

 “We’re going to reevaluate a lot of things defensively, where we’re at right now,” Mullen said. “We’re going to evaluate some things with our personnel, where we’re at. Our ability to make plays, make sure we have all the right guys at the right position to put us in position to be able to make the plays we need to to get off the field. We can’t give up 13 of 15 third-down conversions in a day and expect to win any game.”

4. No pass rush, no chance

 UF’s pass rush was a real strength last season, led by buck defensive end Jon Greenard. It doesn’t even seem to exist at times this season, and that has become a major contributor to the overall lack of effectiveness on defense.

 A&M quarterback Kellen Mond had all day in the pocket in the first half and picked the secondary apart with a near-flawless performance. Mond passed for 338 yards and three touchdowns to help the Aggies.

 Trying, in vain, to get to the quarterback apparently worn down the defensive front, because the Gators were then run over by the A&M running game in the second half.

5. Some of the Wright stuff

The Gators unveiled a new threat in the backfield Saturday — redshirt freshman running back Nay’Quan Wright.

 Wright came off the bench late in the second quarter and gave the Gators a spark in the running game. On back-to-back running plays, he gained 11 and 10 yards. Then, he finished off the drive with a 1-yard TD run, the first touchdown of his college career.

 “First off I’d like to give credit to the man above for blessing me with the ability to be a Florida Gator,” Wright said. “We just had a run play on, just on the goal line. My number got called, and I just took advantage of the opportunity. It was a blessing, getting in the end zone for my first time. I’m very thankful, and go Gators.”

 Wright also showed up in the fourth quarter, gaining 28 yards on a catch and run that led to the tying field goal by Evan McPherson.

 Wright displayed a nice combination of elusiveness and power — and gives the Gators yet another offensive option.

Up next

Who: No. 16 LSU (1-2) vs. No. 3 Florida (2-1)

When: 3:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: Steve Spurrier-Florida Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium


Radio: 103.7-FM, AM-850

Florida running back Nay'Quan Wright fights his way past Texas A&M linebacker Andre White Jr. for a touchdown during the second quarter Saturday in College Station, Texas.
View Comments