No. 6 Florida wins SEC East title with victory at Tennessee
Kyle Trask passed for 433 yards and four touchdowns as No. 6 Florida clinched the Southeastern Conference’s East Division on Saturday, pulling away in a 31-19 win over the Tennessee Volunteers in Knoxville, Tenn.
In beating their division rival for the fourth straight time and 15th overall in the last 16 meetings, the Gators (8-1, 8-1 SEC) notched their first East title since 2016 and earned a spot in the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta in two weeks.
Trask, who completed 35 of 49 passes, pushed his TD total to 38 with just three interceptions.
The Heisman Trophy candidate’s performance marked his ninth straight game with at least three TDs this season.
Kyle Pitts caught seven passes for a game-high 128 yards, Kadarius Toney had eight for 108 yards and a score, and Trevon Grimes snared two TDs as Florida tallied 28 consecutive points after trailing.
Tennessee (2-6, 2-6) lost its sixth straight game — all by double-digit margins — for the first time since 1988’s squad dropped its first six contests during a 5-6 campaign under Johnny Majors.
Harrison Bailey made his first career start — becoming the 11th true freshman Volunteer quarterback to do so — and went 14-for-21 for 111 yards with a touchdown to Eric Gray.
J.T. Shrout relieved Bailey and was 12-for-14 for 121 yards with a 22-yard TD strike to Velus Jones Jr. — Tennessee’s final score and its third scoring drive of at least 94 yards.
The Gators led 3-0 after Evan McPherson booted a 30-yard field at 9:19 on their first series, but the home side authored a 96-yard drive to take a 7-3 lead with 9:59 remaining in the first half on Bailey’s 15-yard TD on a swing pass to Gray, who raced in untouched.
Trailing seemed to awaken the Gators, who answered by scoring on a 75-yard possession that lasted just six plays. Trask ended it with a quick pass to Grimes, who ran in from four yards for a 10-7 advantage.
Toney went back-and-forth in motion behind the offensive line and eventually caught an easy 2-yard score with 33 seconds left as the Gators secured a 17-7 halftime lead.
Trask connected again with Grimes from eight yards and Jacob Copeland from 12 for TDs in the second half, and Ty Chandler capped a 94-yard drive for the Vols with a 7-yard run with 5:33 remaining left.
–Field Level Media