Trask's return to home state spoiled despite strong showing
It’s safe to say Saturday’s showing won’t make its way into the script of Kyle Trask’s eventual Hollywood biopic.
The set-up was almost too good to be true: Trask, who grew up in Manvel, Texas, as a fan of the Aggies yet received little to no interest from his hometown team, returned to the Lone Star State Saturday as a Heisman Trophy contender and one of the top quarterbacks in the nation.
His parents — subconsciously or not, it’s up for debate — named him after Kyle Field itself. And throughout the second act of the script-in-the-making, Trask was giving an Oscar-worthy performance — one that many may already be taking for granted just 15 games into his tenure as a starter — in leading Florida’s offense.
But, in sticking with cliches, which surprisingly aren’t ripped from “Screenwriting For Dummies,” Florida’s defense turned in a performance worthy of multiple Razzie nominations.
Despite Trask’s 312-yard, four-touchdown performance, the Gators came away with a stunning defeat, as the Aggies registered 543 yards on offense against a program typically known for dominant defense rather than prolific offense.
“Obviously it’s really frustrating, you know, to be that close,” Trask said after the 41-38 defeat. “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 or else, therefore things like this won't happen."
With the score tied at 38, the Gators had a chance to score the game-winning touchdown, while simultaneously leaving precious seconds on the clock for the Aggies to answer if the clock was carefully managed.
The stage, like Trask’s story, was set for another photo finish by the Gators; if it were to have ended in Florida’s favor, it would be a microcosm in a sense, fitting the theme of Trask’s “better late than never” movie tagline.
Malik Davis’ fumble would essentially undo the production thus far, although Trask made sure to note the Gators never should have been in that situation to begin with.
“We had plenty of opportunities to put the game away,” Trask said. “So, I mean, you can't blame it all on one play because it shouldn't have even been close if we would have executed on the drives that we didn't score on."
Which wasn’t as many drives as Trask indicated. The Gators punted just once — a 36-yarder by Jacob Finn — and settled for just three points instead of six just one time as well, and it was an impressive 53-yarder by Evan McPherson, too.
Ultimately, Trask wasn’t about to signal out his teammates on the other side of the ball for spoiling a plot point in his Hollywood story — instead, they were more than willing to do that for him.
"We know we have a very powerful offense. We can be in high-scoring matches and win, come out with the win. But we ended up with the L today. Defense has to execute a little bit more if we want to come out of those battles with a W,” linebacker James Houston said. “We know our offense is high-powered. We know that. We know they can score. But we don't expect to get scored on. That is not in our defensive scheme, that's not in our philosophy at all.
"Our philosophy is fast, physical and aggressive. By doing that we expect to be knocking quarterbacks out of the game and taking control of the game. The past few years the Gators have been a stronghold on defense. We're going to get back there, we just need some time. We gon' fix some stuff up in practice and we gon' come back next week."