Tennessee loses turnover battle to No. 9 Florida

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) – Kyle Trask threw for 293 yards and two touchdowns in his first start in nearly seven years and No. 9 Florida beat slumping Tennessee 34-3 Saturday, extending the Gators’ dominance in a series that used to be the most prominent in the Southeastern Conference’s Eastern Division.

Trask’s first collegiate start was far from perfect, though. The fourth-year junior lost a fumble and threw two interceptions against the Volunteers (1-3, 0-1 SEC)

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But he did enough to overcome those miscues and lead Florida (4-0, 2-0) to its 14th win in its last 15 games against Tennessee. Trask completed 20 of 28 passes, none better than the ones that went for touchdowns to Kyle Pitts and Freddie Swain.

Trask connected with Pitts for a 19-yard score on the opening drive of the game and then hooked up with Swain for a 29-yarder to cap Florida’s first possession of the second half.

Not bad for a backup.

Trask played behind current Houston starter D’Eriq King at Manvel (Texas) High for three seasons and spent the last three years behind Feleipe Franks, who gruesomely dislocated and fractured his right ankle in a 29-21 victory at Kentucky last weekend. Trask last started a game in 2012 for Manvel’s freshman A team.

Tennessee’s performance was mostly a debacle, especially early.

Right tackle K’Rojhn Calbert was flagged for a late hit after the Vols picked up their first first down. Cornerback Warren Burrell recovered a fumble with a foot out of bounds, negating the turnover.

Jauan Jennings, the team’s top receiver, bobbled a would-be touchdown in the end zone that resulted in an interception. Tennessee had to burn a timeout after coming out of a television break. And then quarterback Jarrett Guarantano threw an interception right to cornerback Marco Wilson after a miscommunication with a receiver.

Guarantano completed 8 of 15 passes for 93 yards with two interceptions and a sack in the first half. He was benched in favor of freshman Brian Maurer to start the second half.

Maurer, who grew up in nearby Ocala, had made his collegiate debut last week against Chattanooga.

Jennings added to Tennessee’s woes in the second half. He received a 15-yard penalty for running into punt returner Freddie Swain, who had called for a fair catch.

THE TAKEAWAY

Tennessee: The Vols might have a quarterback quandary moving forward. Maurer played three series before Guarantano returned. Maurer completed 4 of 11 passes for 44 yards with an interception. Guarantano finished 10 of 17 for 104 yards with two interceptions.

Tennessee finished with 239 yards, including 151 passing.

Florida: The Gators turned in their most complete game of the season. They needed a couple of defensive stands to beat Miami in the opener and leaned on Track to orchestrate a late rally and overcome an 11-point deficit at Kentucky.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

The Gators should remain in the top 10 after a dominating performance.

UP NEXT

Tennessee has a bye week before beginning a daunting stretch against No. 3 Georgia, Mississippi State and at second-ranked Alabama.

Florida hosts Towson in the second of two games against teams from the Football Championship Subdivision.

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Angela joined the News 12 team in November of 2017 as the weekend sports anchor and reporter. Angela is a proud member of an Army family, which means she has hometowns all over the Eastern Seaboard. Most recently, she calls Peachtree City, Georgia, home, where she graduated from Trinity Christian School and spent her free time driving her purple golf cart. She then headed to Milledgeville, Georgia, to attend Georgia College and State University. A proud Bobcat, Angela graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BA in Mass Communication and represented her December 2016 class as one of three valedictorians. Angela comes to the Scenic City from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where she worked at the NBC affiliate, WMBF News. Before the big move, she worked as Georgia College's Sports Information Assistant, which let her get paid to be the Bobcats' biggest fan. It all started in Savannah, Georgia, though, where she interned for SAV's number one station, WTOC. When she's not working, you can find Angela watching the New York Giants, Rangers or basically any other game that's on. She also loves traveling, hiking and exploring new places, all with her camera in hand. If you have any story ideas, big or small, feel free to reach out to her on Facebook and Twitter, or email her at amoryan@wdef.com."