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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – When it was over, they held a quick workforce assembly on the sector, then unfold out throughout the turf close to the locker room and promptly celebrated a workmanlike win in lunch-pail vogue.
The place was empty moreover stadium personnel, UF’s touring get together and round 125 relations who made the journey.
As a couple of gamers talked to household within the stands, a lot of the Gators chomped on hen sandwiches.
“Different ambiance,” UF head coach Dan Mullen mentioned.
It was that kind of day Saturday at Vanderbilt Stadium. Sixth-ranked Florida’s 38-17 win over the Commodores is one the Gators most likely will not overlook anytime quickly. Not a lot from what transpired on the sector – truly, their ears would possibly nonetheless be ringing from the loud music that performed all through the sport – however extra due to the bizarre setting Mullen alluded to.
The Gators knew Saturday was going to be distinctive lengthy earlier than they landed right here on Friday afternoon and checked into their workforce lodge. Even by the unusual requirements of 2020.
They knew the sport began at 11 a.m. native time. They knew the stadium can be less-crowded than most of their highschool video games as a consequence of strict COVID-19 restrictions domestically. They knew coming off emotional wins over SEC East rival Georgia two weeks in the past and ex-teammate Feleipe Franks final week, dealing with the winless Commodores in entrance of some hundred followers wasn’t precisely a recruiting pitch they remembered Mullen and Co. tossing their method.
And at first, it confirmed.
Vanderbilt marched down the sector on its opening drive and took a 7-Zero lead. Quarterback Ken Seals, solely the third SEC quarterback in historical past to begin his workforce’s season opener as a real freshman, went 5-for-5 for 61 yards to introduce himself to UF’s protection. The Gators answered with a scoring drive of their very own as receiver Kadarius Toney completed it off by taking a cross from Kyle Trask and darting into the tip zone for a 27-yard rating.
Vanderbilt regained the lead later within the quarter on a area aim. That’s when Trask began to place up Heisman numbers and the Gators started to take management, scoring 24 consecutive factors to mainly to take away any severe doubt in regards to the final result.
Mullen referred to as it a “ho-hum efficiency,” which sounds about proper. Of course, ho-hum outings for the Gators positive are simpler to digest than a few of their ho-hummers final decade. Florida rolled up 586 yards of offense, Trask threw for 383 yards, and UF rushed for 173.
It’s a win that was already getting nit-picked by the social media quarterbacks earlier than the hen sandwiches ever arrived. But it is a victory nonetheless, Florida’s fourth in a row, and retains them on tempo for his or her first journey to the SEC Championship Game since 2016.
That was the mission after they left Gainesville and so they completed it on an attractive center Tennessee afternoon.
“Coach Mullen tells us on a regular basis, it’s important to get pleasure from a win, successful is difficult to return by,” cornerback Kaiir Elam mentioned. “No one’s going to put down and simply since you’re high-ranked and them not ranked.”
Trask starred as soon as once more, finishing 25 of 36 passes and throwing three extra touchdowns, giving him 31 in seven video games. Considering all seven video games have come towards SEC opponents, Trask set a league report for many landing passes in a single season in convention video games.
He did nothing to harm his Heisman bid and neither did the Gators. Perhaps they lacked the model factors followers needed to see towards the overmatched Commodores, however they received the job achieved and have been in no temper to apologize for the way it might have appeared.
“We stubbed our toe alongside the way in which and we nonetheless come out with a 21-point victory,” Mullen mentioned.
They fortunately packed the win for the journey dwelling.
“There wasn’t lots of power within the stadium since there wasn’t lots of followers,” Trask mentioned. “I simply assume we received to do a greater job of bringing power throughout the workforce and ensuring we’re able to play when that foot hits the ball.”
The Gators get that chance in seven days when Kentucky visits The Swamp. The Wildcats received mauled by Alabama on Saturday, dropping 63-Three in Tuscaloosa. With anticipation constructing towards a possible matchup towards the Crimson Tide in Atlanta subsequent month – and probably a battle for the Heisman between Trask and Alabama’s Mac Jones – followers will need to see the Gators deal with the Wildcats in comparable vogue.
Perhaps they’ll. Perhaps not.
It actually would not matter so long as they win. Still, they would favor greater than one other ho-hummer.
“We need to go present the place we need to go and that is to win an SEC championship and with the intention to do this, we now have to dominate the workforce’s we’re alleged to and beat the groups we’re not favored over,” Elam mentioned. “So, I believe it is simply one thing we now have to proceed to get higher on, and our management, I believe that begins with apply.”
Mullen identified that he noticed indicators in apply final week that the Gators won’t be their sharpest on Saturday. They had an excellent day, then a nasty day.
On Saturday, that they had an excellent drive, then a nasty drive. That will not be sufficient because the stakes get greater. But on Saturday, towards a winless workforce in a dull atmosphere, it was sufficient.
The aim now’s to get again on the apply area and tune up for the house stretch.
“If you are going to be an awesome workforce, you win as a workforce,” Mullen mentioned. “Not on offense, not simply on protection or kicking sport, you win as a complete workforce.”