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Dooley: Pretty sweet night for the quarterbacks

Pat Dooley
Gator Sports
Florida quarterback Kyle Trask threw for 356 yards and six touchdowns, extending his school record for consecutive games with at least four TDs to six, and No. 5 Florida overwhelmed Arkansas 63-35 on Saturday night in The Swamp.

Dan Mullen had reasons to be proud of two quarterbacks Saturday night.

Obviously, there was Kyle Trask, who is setting records as easily as the rest of us roll out of bed. And then there was Feleipe Franks, who played well enough for his Arkansas team to win games in the SEC.

Just not this one.

"I'm really proud of him," Mullen said after Florida's 63-35 victory. "I thought he played pretty well."

That was Franks he was talking about. His own guy? Man, you could see him getting on Trask after missing a read and coming to the sideline with his fifth TD pass in his pocket late in the first half.

"I'm not a pat-on-the-back kind of guy," Mullen said.

Here, then. I'll do it for you. I'm sure I'll have plenty of company. 

Because Trask was ridiculous last night, from throwing a bobbled flea-flicker pitch flat-footed for a 43-yard gain to directing an offense that recorded 36 first downs.

That's not a typo. Florida had 36 first downs.

"It's awesome," said Trask, using his favorite word. "We've known this ever since fall camp. We know what's going to happen. We just have to execute."

In a way, it couldn't have been a much better night for the two quarterbacks who started the game. Franks was able to show Gator fans he's better than he was when he left. Trask showed that he may be better than any quarterback in the nation.

The stats are so gaudy they are almost embarrassing. Six touchdown passes and 385 passing yards.

"Stats are cool," Trask said, "but they don't always win games."

We know that defense isn't going to win a lot of games for the mighty Gators, who gave up a ton of big plays and at least one touchdown in every quarter.

But this is college football in 2020, where you had better be able to score to have a chance.

In this case, Arkansas came in with a defense that thrives on turnovers and played six defensive backs against Florida to take away the deep balls.

It didn't work out very well.

Florida came out running against a defense that was set up to slow down the passing game. The Gators went over 200 rushing yards, but, hey, at least the Razorbacks didn't get burned by any wheel routes.

The Gators did get enough pressure on Franks to affect him and even accounted for a rare defensive score when Zachary Carter ran a fumble in from 35 yards out to end any fleeting hopes for an Arkansas comeback.

The last time Carter had scored a touchdown was when he was 8 years old.

"I always wanted to do it in The Swamp," he said.

Well, you can check that off the list. But this was all about the quarterbacks, one who came back from a devastating injury last year and one who probably wouldn't be here if that injury had not happened.

Franks is doing wonderful things for the Razorbacks and hot some big passes last night. Trask is doing Heisman things for Florida.

"I don't get a vote," Mullen said. "We've been around this before. I think he's a mature kid. I think he's gotta prepare for Vanderbilt and get ready to have a great week.

 "Anything beyond that is a colossal waste of time."

Trask put up crazy numbers without his best weapon in Kyle Pitts. But that's the thing about this offense. We are going to have serious conversations about it being the best ever at Florida.

A hair shy of 600 yards and 36 first downs? And 63 points? 

"Every game is different," Mullen said. "We felt like we needed to keep scoring because they have been a second-half team."

And when it was over, the two quarterbacks met on the field for their first face-to-face meeting in a long time.

"He played a big role in (my development)," Trask said of Franks. "I owe him a lot."

The night was evidence of that.

Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or at pat.dooley@gvillesun.com. And follow at Twitter.com/Pat_Dooley.