After Felipe Franks went down with a season ending injury vs Kentucky, all eyes in Gainesville turned towards Kyle Trask. Trask would lead the Gators to a comeback win in Lexington, before turning around and winning his first career start, 34-3 vs Tennessee last week. Now fully entrenched as the leader of this Florida offense, Trask will get to continue to acclimate himself to his new position against the #11 FCS ranked Towson Tigers(3-1), who are coming off a 52-45 OT loss to Villanova in their last game.
While Trask will be the QB that most of the fans tuning into the game will be interested in watching, he might not be best QB on the field. That honor would go to Tom Flacco, brother of Super Bowl champion Joe, and one of the best dual-threat passers in the FCS. Flacco, the 2018 Colonial Athletics Association Offensive Player of the Year, has thrown for 1092 yards with 6 touchdowns and only one interception while adding 227 yards and 2 touchdowns on the ground.
Flacco has been asked to do a lot of the work himself this season for the Tigers, as the teams 2nd leading rusher, Shane Simpson, not only trails Flacco by 65 yards, but is also out for the season with a knee injury suffered week 3 vs Maine. Behind Simpson is Yeedee Thaenrat, who has been more than useful as a goal-line back, scoring a whopping 8 touchdowns on the season.
Thaenrat has only 93 yards on 25 carries this season though, and will need to improve on that number if they are to keep the Gator defense from keying in on Flacco for the whole game. When Flacco does throw the ball, his main target will Shane Leatherbury, who 299 yards and 3 touchdowns on the season. Pitt transfer Darian Street is the teams second leading receiver, with 164 yards and one trip to the endzone.
There wasn’t much to learn for the Gators in a rather routine win over a much-maligned Tennessee team. The offense has been just good enough to win, coming alive when needed vs both Miami & Kentucky. While many figured that the Gators and coach Dan Mullen would shift to a more ground based attack, but with Lamical Perine running for only 27 and 62 yards in his last two games, Mullen might need to have faith in Trask moving the ball through the air to win games.
The Tennessee game was a good start for Trask, as his 293-yard performance was the highest total by a Florida QB since Luke Del Rio(!) in 2016. While Towson on average only gives up 218.5 yard per game through the air, Trask will like his matchups with Van Jefferson, Freddie Swain and co. facing up with FCS competition. While many would point to this game as a great chance to get the run game going, the Gators will likely not be able to run the ball well against upcoming opponents Auburn, LSU, and Georgia.
To win games in the SEC, they will need Trask to making plays in the passing game. This Towson game will be the perfect opportunity to get him further accustomed to doing just that.
Prediction: Florida 41 Towson 14
HOW TO WATCH:
Time: 4:00pm ET, 3:00pm CT
Network: SEC Network