No. 8 Florida topped No. 5 Georgia 44-28 on Saturday afternoon in the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, seizing control of the SEC East over midway through the 2020 season. Quarterback Kyle Trask completed 30 of 43 passes for 474 yards, four touchdowns and one interception, making him the first quarterback in SEC history to throw for 4+ scores in five consecutive games.
Trask got things started midway through the first quarter with the Gators down 14-0 when he hit Justin Shorter for a 14-yard score to cap off a seven-play, 75-yard drive. He then found Kyle Pitts for a 25-yard TD, Kemore Gamble for a 24-yard TD and Trevon Grimes for a 14-yard TD to build a 38-21 lead at halftime. Between those three scores, Trask threw a pick six to the Bulldogs.
At that point, Georgia had no shot. Running back Zamir White scored from 75 yards out on the first play of the game, but the offense struggled to get going after that. QB Stetson Bennett IV, who briefly left the game late in the first half with a shoulder injury, was 5-for-16 for 78 yards, one touchdown and one interception before getting pulled midway through the third quarter in favor of D'Wan Mathis. He did not fair much better as Mathis finished 4 of 13 for 34 yards with one touchdown and two picks
The win pushes Florida to 4-1 on the year, while Georgia falls to 4-2 after being picked to win the SEC East in the preseason SEC media poll.
Here's four key takeaways as the Gators beat the Dawgs for the first time since 2016.
Is Kyle Trask this year's Joe Burrow? You bet
Trask should be the Heisman Trophy front-runner. I said it. The college football world has focused on Ohio State's Justin Fields, Clemson's Trevor Lawrence and Alabama's Mac Jones in the race for the Heisman, but it's time for Trask to not only enter that conversation but become the life of the party.
Trask became the first player in SEC history to throw 4+ touchdowns in five consecutive games on Saturday, and he posted the best single-game passing performance by any Florida player vs. Georgia. He joined Rex Grossman (2001) and Danny Wuerffel (1996) as the only Gators to have multiple 400-yard passing games in the same season. Not bad company to be in, a former Heisman winner and a former Heisman finalist.
Burrow, the former LSU quarterback and 2019 Heisman Trophy winner, had 1,864 passing yards and 22 touchdown passes through the first five games of last season. Trask has 1,815 yards and 22 touchdown passes. The Heisman is Trask's to lose.
Georgia isn't title caliber, but it's not all its fault
Unfortunately, the Bulldogs have been dealt a series of unexpected circumstances. The Dawgs not being title contenders might seem obvious considering how this game went, but it was just exposed what Georgia has been all along -- a paper tiger. It entered this season with Mathis under center, went to Bennett when Mathis struggled and hasn't even considered USC transfer JT Daniels. It doesn't matter who's taking the snaps … the downfield passing attack is non-existent when other teams force Georgia outside of its comfort zone. That's what Alabama did last month, and it's what Florida did on Saturday afternoon.
Is this on coach coach Kirby Smart? Maybe. He's known as an ultra-conservative coach who hasn't made the leap to join the new-age of college football offense. But he did hire offensive coordinator Todd Monken to open things up and lured ex-Wake Forest quarterback Jamie Newman to Athens. But when Newman opted out, it was all over for Georgia. Mathis and Bennett struggle as passers and there has to be something wrong with Daniels since he can't sniff the field.
It could have been different if Newman stayed. The operative word being "could" because we still don't know if Smart has really married himself to the idea of opening things up.
Florida's defense is getting right
It's the second straight week that the Gators defense has looked like it has fixed the glitch. Georgia managed to go just 2 of 13 on third-down Saturday, though both did go for touchdowns. Granted, the Dawgs offense as a whole was a giant mess, but it's the second straight game that Florida's defense has shown up when it mattered most. The Gators held Missouri to 3 of 15 on third downs in the win last week.
Florida's "best" performance on third downs prior to last week was in Week 2 against South Carolina when the Gamecocks converted 6 of 17. Defense doesn't win championships anymore. Just enough defense does. Florida had more than enough on Saturday, and it appears to be the start of a trend.
Dan Mullen earned his signature win
This was Mullen's first win over Georgia since he got the Florida job in 2018, and it was one that he absolutely needed. The Bulldogs came into this one battered, bruised and barely able to piece together an offense. If not now for Mullen, when? He had to have it … and he came through with flying colors. Mullen made New Year's Six bowl games in each of his first two seasons at the helm. That's nice, but it's not why he's there. He was hired to win national championships, and that's exactly what is in his reach after topping Georgia.
Is this Florida team ready to beat Alabama in the SEC Championship Game? That remains to be seen. But if it does come down to the Gators and Crimson Tide in Atlanta, it will not be a blowout in either direction.