College Sports

The unique reason why Florida’s Kyle Trask shushed the South Carolina crowd

It’s not a Florida win over South Carolina without a Gator quarterback shushing the crowd.

Kyle Trask followed Feleipe Franks’ lead on Saturday after he put a finger to his lips following a fourth quarter touchdown that helped UF pull away from USC, 38-27, at Williams-Brice Stadium.

“I had to do one for Franks right there,” Trask said afterward.

The comment was a bit tongue-in-cheek. When Franks went shushing during Florida’s come-from-behind 35-31 win over the Gamecocks last season, he did it to orange- and blue-clad fans at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville.

Franks was booed the week before in a loss to Missouri. His rebound performance against the Gamecocks — see three total touchdowns as the Gators rallied from 17 points down in the second half — prompted his gesture to his home fans.

Trask, who became the first Florida QB since Tim Tebow to throw four touchdown passes in a road game, made his gesture toward those in garnet and black.

The ninth-ranked Gators (7-1, 4-1 SEC) scored three fourth-quarter touchdowns in the end zone surrounded by Carolina students, including a controversial Trask to Kyle Pitts 5-yard TD that appeared aided by offensive pass interference. The non-call prompted white rally towels to be tossed on the field in frustration.

“I loved it,” said Trask, who replaced an injured Franks last month. “This is what you play for, come into a hostile environment and take and earn everything that’s on the field. We love playing games like this. And I’m really proud of how our guys came together there at the end and executed at a high level.”

The Pitts score put Florida ahead, 31-20, with 7:53 remaining. He came open after fellow receiver Josh Hammond locked down on USC safety R.J. Roderick, a kind of “pick play.”

Both Trask and UF coach Dan Mullen admitted Trask was tardy with the delivery.

“Honestly,” Trask said, “it should have been a lot cleaner. I should have put it on (Pitts) sooner. But I was just reading the rub. Luckily it turned out good for us.”

Added Mullen: “He was late with the throw, which makes it closer. It should have been a much quicker throw.”

But no flag was thrown and Florida took command.

Much to the chagrin of the Gamecock faithful.

“That added a little fuel to the fire,” said UF receiver Freddie Swain. “They were kind of getting emotional and throwing things on the field. It felt kind of good to have that come out and show emotion.”

Andrew Ramspacher has been covering college athletics since 2010, serving as The State’s USC men’s basketball beat writer since October 2017. His work has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors, Virginia Press Association and West Virginia Press Association. At a program-listed 5-foot-10, he’s always been destined to write about the game. Not play it.
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