The Florida Gators didn’t get their running game going against the Towson Tigers until the second half, and were porous enough on defense in the first 30 minutes for Dan Mullen to call that side of the ball “pretty pathetic” in a pre-halftime interview.
They still won going away, posting a 38-0 shutout that will assuredly have them sitting within the top 10 of most national polls when the next bunch of Tigers hits The Swamp next week.
Kyle Trask continued his star turn as Florida’s starter with another fine day at the controls of the Gators offense, completing 18 of 20 passes for 188 yards and two touchdowns and adding another score on the ground.
The first 15 of those completions came consecutively, adding to Trask’s final three against Tennessee last week to sum up to the longest streak of consecutive completions in program history and narrowly eclipse Chris Leak’s streak of 17 straight in 2005.
And though Trask’s 16th throw was nearly intercepted, seemingly as a result of a miscommunication with a receiver, his 17th was good for six points, as tight end Kyle Pitts skied to snare a high fade in the end zone for his second touchdown of the day and third since Trask took over for the injured Feleipe Franks.
But while Florida seems to have its passing game more or less in order, the Gators could still use a lot more consistency on the ground. That probably explains when many of Trask’s early throws were to the perimeter, and why Florida attempted to feed the ball to Josh Hammond and Jacob Copeland on end-arounds and reverses — and it certainly explains why Dameon Pierce (six carries, 84 yards) and Emory Jones (one carry, 29 yards) making impressions in cameos will spark calls for Mullen to incorporate them into Florida’s offense more heavily.
The Gators’ defense, on the other hand, did plenty to dispel concerns about its start with its finish, managing to lock down the Tigers and preserve the second shutout in The Swamp this season despite allowing three forays into the Florida red zone. David Reese fell on a botched snap and Donovan Stiner and Jonathan Greenard each collected interceptions to add to the Gators’ sizable total on the season, and Towson QB Tom Flacco — a menace early, especially on the hoof — failed to average six yards per attempt, and only came away with 15 rushing yards after sacks.
This effort might not have been commensurate with one the Gators will need to top Auburn — not to mention LSU and Georgia — in October.
But it produced a comprehensive win that made sure Florida’s August and September, marred by injuries and pockmarked by problems here and there, ended without a loss.