No. 4 Florida looks to stay hot at No. 21 Texas A&M

NCAA Football

The Florida Gators will look to continue their hot start when they hit the road to take on Texas A&M in College Station on Saturday in one of two matchups between ranked SEC teams this weekend.

The Gators (2-0, 2-0 SEC), ranked No. 4 in the AP poll after Georgia vaulted ahead of them following the Bulldogs’ win over Auburn, are riding the hot tandem of senior quarterback and early Heisman Trophy candidate Kyle Trask and junior tight end and Mackey Award candidate Kyle Pitts.

The two connected for touchdowns twice last week during a 38-24 victory over South Carolina and have hooked up for six scores so far this season.

In his second year as the starter, Trask has thrown for 684 yards and 10 touchdowns with one interception and a 71.8 completion percentage.

Pitts, projected by many as a late first-round pick in next year’s draft, has caught 12 passes for 227 yards with half of them going for touchdowns.

The Gators’ offense is averaging 495 yards per game.

“(Pitts) is so unique. … He’s a tight end, but he’s a wideout because he can block and has such vertical skills and can make contested catches,” Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher said. “And Trask is one of the best of the quarterbacks throwing to covered guys and throwing them open.”

Texas A&M (1-1, 1-1) dropped to No. 21 in the AP Top 25 following its lopsided 52-24 loss at Alabama on Saturday.

The Aggies hope their own potent passing game will have success against a Florida defense that has recorded only one interception in two games.

Senior quarterback Kellen Mond has thrown for 507 yards, four touchdowns and one interception in Texas A&M’s first two games with a 58.3 completion percentage. Against a tough Alabama defense, Mond completed 25 of 44 passes for 318 yards and three touchdowns but had an interception returned 47 yards for a score.

Sophomore receiver Ainias Smith, who had six catches for 123 yards and two touchdowns against Alabama, is one of several offensive weapons that Florida coach Dan Mullen considers matchup problems for his team.

“They’re very talented with a veteran quarterback and really good skill players offensively that can make plays in both the passing and run game,” Mullen said.

The Gators’ defense hasn’t been very sharp at times but has generated a solid pass rush totaling eight sacks, led by junior defensive end Zachary Carter and sophomore linebacker Brenton Cox Jr., who each have 1.5 sacks.

“I think one thing I’d love to see is to start faster,” Mullen said. “If you look at the last two games, we kind of started slow, completely shut them down in the middle, and then didn’t finish at the end.”

The Aggies’ defense is hoping for better results after giving up 435 yards and four touchdowns passing last week to Alabama quarterback Mac Jones.

Senior defensive lineman Michael Clemons (2.5 sacks this season) had a sack, but the Aggies struggled to put consistent pressure on Jones.

“We’ve got to stop the big plays, learn to be more efficient on offense and take advantage of some more of those opportunities to be able to play and compete,” Fisher said.

The Gators reported one positive case for COVID-19 on Tuesday. Mullen has opted not to discuss which players test positive, preferring to keep that information private.

–Field Level Media

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