No. 6 Florida runs past Tennessee 31-19

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — No. 6 Florida had some trouble on the ground.

The air was no problem.

Kyle Trask threw for 433 yards and four touchdowns, and the Gators beat Tennessee 31-19 on Saturday to clinch a spot in the SEC championship game.

Trask, a front-runner for the Heisman Trophy, put together another impressive performance. He completed 35 of 49 passes without committing a turnover. He even had a 32-yard punt late in the game.

Kyle Pitts had seven receptions for 128 yards, helping the Gators (8-1, No. 6 CFP) wrap up the SEC’s East Division. Kadarius Toney finished with eight catches for 108 yards and a TD.

“It feels amazing,” Trask said of the division title. “You know that was one of our main goals at the beginning of this season, because in order to do all the, you know, the bigger things you first have to win the East. So that was our first main goal.”

The aerial performance by Trask and company took on added significance with Florida struggling to run the ball, finishing with just 21 yards on the ground.

Playing with a depleted roster, Tennessee (2-6) dropped its sixth consecutive game. The Vols were missing 16 players.

Freshman Harrison Bailey got the start at quarterback. He completed 14 of 21 passes for 111 yards and a 15-yard touchdown to Eric Gray. He was sacked five times.

Trask has 38 TD passes this season, moving him into sixth place in SEC history for a single season, ahead of Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel and Tim Couch of Kentucky. He has the most TD passes through a team’s first nine games.

Five plays into the second half, the outcome was all but decided. Florida stretched a 10-point halftime advantage to 24-7 with a 75-yard drive capped by an 8-yard pass from Trask to Trevon Grimes. The big play in the sequence was a 48-yard connection between Trask and Kyle Pitts.

Early in the fourth quarter, Florida upped the lead to 31-7 when Trask found Jacob Copeland for a 12-yard TD.

Quarterback J.T. Shrout came off the bench to lead the Vols to two late touchdowns. Ty Chandler ran the ball in from 7 yards, then Velus Jones, Jr., caught a 22-yard scoring pass.

Florida took a 17-7 lead into the locker room at intermission. Tennessee’s defense turned the Gators offense into a one-dimensional attack — but with Trask behind center, it was more than enough.

While the Gators generated just 1 net yard rushing in the first 30 minutes, Trask had plenty of success. He completed 21 of 28 passes for 251 yards and accounted for both touchdowns — a 4-yard toss to Grimes and a 2-yarder to Toney.

After a field goal on Florida’s first possession, Tennessee responded. Bailey engineered a 96-yard drive, most of which happened in the second quarter, and topped it off with a TD pass to Gray out of the backfield.

Florida answered with its first touchdown. Then it got interesting.

Down 10-7, the Vols were faced with fourth-and-5 on their own 30-yard line. Punter Paxton Brooks faked the punt and threw a pass to an open Jimmy Holiday. What would have been a first down was dropped by Holiday.

The mistake didn’t hurt, though. The Tennessee defense stiffened and forced the Gators into a field goal attempt from 53 yards. Evan McPherson missed wide right.


Sixteen Tennessee players missed the game. Freshman Cooper Mays got his first career start at center in place of senior Brandon Kennedy, who moved to left tackle. The Vols also turned to Bailey for his first start ahead of redshirt senior Jarrett Guarantano.


Florida: The Gators reached the SEC championship game for the first time since 2016.

Tennessee: The Vols’ six-game losing streak is the program’s longest since starting the 1988 season with six straight losses.


Florida closes out its regular season Saturday with a home game against LSU.

Tennessee will travel to Nashville for a meeting with rival Vanderbilt.

Alabama suspends freshman defensive back after drug arrest

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Alabama freshman defensive back Tony Mitchell has been suspended from the team following his arrest on a drug charge.

Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said Monday after the first practice of spring that Mitchell was suspended from the team “and all team activities until we gather more information about the situation and what his legal circumstance is.”

The Holmes County Sheriff’s Office arrested Mitchell and another man, Christophere Lewis, last week on a charge of possession of marijuana with the intent to sell or deliver, according to a post on the department’s Facebook page. Lewis also was charged with carrying a concealed gun without a permit.

“Everybody’s got an opportunity to make choices and decisions,” Saban said. “There’s no such thing as being in the wrong place at the wrong time. You’ve gotta be responsible for who you’re with, who you’re around and what you do, who you associate yourself with and the situations that you put yourself in. It is what it is, but there is cause and effect when you make choices and decisions that put you in bad situations.”

Mitchell, who is from Alabaster, Alabama, was a five-star prospect rated the 34th-best player and No. 3 safety in the 247Composite rankings.

Mitchell was driving the vehicle during a traffic stop. After deputies smelled marijuana, Mitchell picked up a baggie of marijuana from the passenger floorboard, according to the department’s Facebook post.

Sheriff’s deputies found “an additional significant amount of marijuana, a set of scales, a loaded handgun between the passenger seat and center console, and a large amount of cash,” according to the department’s Facebook post.

Missouri linebacker Chad Bailey suspended after arrest

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COLUMBIA, Mo. — Missouri linebacker Chad Bailey was suspended from the team after he was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, the team said.

The 23-year-old, who was a team captain last season, was booked at about 2:45 a.m. and released after posting $500 bond, according to online records from the Boone County Sheriff’s Office.

“We are aware of the situation involving Chad Bailey,” Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz said in a statement to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “He’s been suspended according to Department of Athletics policy. We have high expectations for all of our student-athletes, on and off the field, and we will follow all departmental and campus policies.”

Bailey was Mizzou’s third-leading tackler with 57 stops last season. He started all 11 games he played, missing two with an injury. He’ll be a sixth-year senior this fall after opting to return for his final year of eligibility, the Post-Dispatch reported.

The Missouri student-athlete handbook says any athlete who is arrested must serve a minimum one-week suspension.

Bailey was pulled over at about 1 a.m. not far from the Columbia campus for an expired license plate and lane violation, a police statement said. Bailey told the officer he had consumed alcohol and then performed poorly on a field sobriety test, the Post-Dispatch reported.