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Gators defense under the microscope after Aggies pull off upset, 41-38

Texas A&M racked up 538 yards of offense
Texas A&M ran for over 200 yards against the Gators, Saturday.
Texas A&M ran for over 200 yards against the Gators, Saturday.(WCJB)
Published: Oct. 10, 2020 at 6:07 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - Entering Saturday’s matchup with #21 Texas A&M, the #4 Florida Gators were allowing 480 yards of offense to opposing teams. After surrendering 538 yards to the Aggies in a 41-38 loss, Gators Head Coach Dan Mullen plans to re-evaluate the entire defense.

“We’re going to reevaluate a lot of things defensively, where we’re at right now," said Mullen. "We’re going to evaluate some things with our personnel, where we’re at. Our ability to make plays, make sure we have all the right guys at the right position to put us in position to be able to make the plays we need to to get off the field. We can’t give up 13 of 15 conversions in a day and expect to win any game.”

Not only did the Gators allow the Aggies to convert 80 percent of their third downs, but also gave up a 19-yard touchdown run to Isaiah Spiller on a fourth-and-two. Which put A&M ahead 31-24 with 12:35 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Linebacker Jeremiah Moon expressed his disappointment with his unit’s effort.

“No excuse. Kyle put the defense in the best situation, all we had to do is get off the field on third downs and just, just run to the ball," said Moon. "And we didn’t do that today. So I say it was on defense today. Offense gonna keep doing the thing. They carrying us right now, so we got to step up, that’s all it is.”

Florida’s defense also had a long day in the trenches against the rushing attack.

The Aggies out-gained the Gators 205-90 on the ground. It’s the second straight game Florida’s defense has given up 100 yards or more, while failing to eclipse the century mark on offense.

In total, Texas A&M averaged 7.3 yards-per-play against the Gators defense, who didn’t record a sack all game, after recording four last week against South Carolina.

Coach Mullen kept other comments concerning the defense short and to the point.

“We know where possible issues are, areas we’ve got to get better. We’ve got to go and improve those areas.”

Offensively, it was another stellar day through the air for Heisman-hopeful Quarterback Kyle Trask.

Trask threw four touchdowns and completed 23 of 32 passes, for 312 yards, while connecting with eight different Florida receivers.

To this point in the season, Trask has now thrown for 996 yards, 14 touchdowns, and only one interception through his first three games, which leads the SEC.

While he admitted it was fun to play in the stadium he was named after and grew up watching, the loss took away from experience.

“It was a cool experience to play in (the stadium) with all my family there, but obviously not the result we wanted,” said Trask.

He also believes there isn’t more pressure than usual on the offense to score every possession, even with the team’s lack of defense.

“Well, I mean, first of all, that’s our goal every time we’re on the field is to score every time we have the ball. So, I mean, there was a couple drives that we didn’t do that and it was just little things and lack of execution and if we do those, then we don’t even have to worry about defense.”

The only mistake the offense made all day was a fumble by Malik Davis.

With just under four minutes to play in the fourth quarter, and the game tied 38-38, the Gators had the ball just shy of midfield, when Davis ran inside and Aggies defender Buddy Johnson knocked the ball free.

The ball took an A&M bounce and fell into the hands of DeMarvin Leal, who was taken down at Florida’s 48.

After gashing the Gators on the ground, Aggies kicker Seth Small kicked the game-winning, 26-yard field goal as time expired.

Game Notes:

Kadarius Toney lead all Florida receivers with seven catches for 92 yards and two touchdowns.

Kyle Pitts scored the first touchdown of the game for the Gators on third-and-goal from the five-yard-line. It was his sixth redzone touchdown in 12 trips for Florida.

Freshman running back Nay-Quan Wright lead all Florida rushers with 31 yards and a score. His first touchdown as a Gator came on a one-yard run in the second quarter.

Up Next:

Florida hosts LSU Saturday, October 17 at 3:30.

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