In displaying the deterioration of bowl season where top players with big money, NFL careers decide not to risk injury chose to opt-out to focus on preparing for the NFL Combines. A shell of the Florida Gators showed up in an attempt to win in the Good Year Cotton Bowl Classic without their top four receivers.
Heisman finalist quarterback Kyle Trask produced a record-breaking season where he threw for 45 touchdowns. Unfortunately, 31 of those touchdowns were to the missing big three. Should that happen to any team barring a miracle, it’s a set up to fail. This begs the question is the goal to win the bowl game or get your team in it. I wonder how this will play out when college players are being paid if they can sit out.
Like it or not, these are the consequences of the College Football Playoffs. Notice I didn’t say negative because depending upon your viewpoint, this may be the benefits.
On the other hand, it gives younger, less experienced players an opportunity. The downside is when multiple players in the same positions require chemistry and split-second timing. Star quarterback Kyle Trask thew three interceptions in the first quarter, nearly as many he had thrown all season (5).
Meanwhile, the Sooners were firing on all cylinders. They made a 79-yard dash to the endzone for the game’s first score on their first possession. A couple of plays later, Trask threw a pick-six to Tre Norwood, and just like that, the Gators were in a 14-0 war with no weapons. If that wasn’t bad enough, on their next possession, a Kyle Trask pass bounced off the hands of Gamble for another interception. Fortunately, Oklahoma could only muster a field goal extending their lead to seventeen points.
The Gators flashed, putting together an impressive drive that ended with yet another interception, this time in the endzone. Officially it was a nightmare in the Sooner’s house where they had won the Big 12 Championship eleven days earlier in AT&T Stadium.
The pride of Florida willed them back into the game. They got their first score off a turnover. Bogle nailed Spencer Rattler from the back, causing a fumble, which led to a successful field goal by E McPherson. Back up or change of pace quarterback E Jones punched in a touchdown from one yard out followed by another field goal suddenly the score was 17-13 as bad as it looked there was hope in the sunshine state folks we had a ball game.
By halftime, that flame had flickered. The Oklahoma Sooners had something to prove good football is not only played in the SEC. They responded with two unanswered touchdowns to take a commanding lead into the locker rooms at half time 31-13.
The second half’s opening drive came up empty for the Gators. From there, they ran out of gas. Seth McGowen gashed them for a 73-yard run followed by a 48-yard dash. Rhamondre Stevenson broke out with a 50-yard gallop. It was a runaway freight.
The Florida Gators defense was a strong as a wet paper bag putting up minimal resistance as Rhamondre Stevenson carried the ball 18 times for 186 yards. His running mate Marcus Major produced 110 yards on 9 carries. Spencer Rattler connected on 14 of 23 passes for 247 yards with 3 touchdowns. The Oklahoma Sooner offense generated 684 yards of total offense producing 55 points to give their head coach a much deserved late Christmas present, his first bowl win in Sooner land.
In the agony of defeat Heisman hopeful Kyle Trask had one of his worst games ever, producing a meager 158 yards on 16 completions out of 28 attempts. The 3 interceptions were devastating. The Gators bit off more than they could chew in this lopsided whopping 55-20.