By MARK LONG
AP Sports Writer
GAINESVILLE — Kyle Trask threw for a career-high 363 yards and three touchdowns — the best passing performance by a Florida quarterback since Tim Tebow’s college finale — and the 10th-ranked Gators overcame a lackluster start to thump Vanderbilt 56-0 Saturday.
Florida (8-2, 5-2 Southeastern Conference) was sluggish early, failing to convert a fourth down on the opening possession against the league’s worst defense, missing a field goal and throwing two interceptions. It looked like another version of the “Cocktail Party Hangover,” which seems to happen every year after losing to rival Georgia in the game dubbed the “World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.”
But the Gators responded with their most dominant quarter of the season, turning a 14-0 lead into a laugher in the Swamp. It ended with a sixth consecutive victory against the Commodores (2-7, 1-5) and 28th in the last 29 years.
Trask completed 25 of 37 passes and ran for a score before giving way to Emory Jones.
Trevon Grimes took a screen pass and ran 66 yards for a touchdown on Florida’s first play of the second half. Trask connected with Tyrie Cleveland and Kyle Pitts on consecutive plays, the second one for a 15-yard score. Jon Greenard scooped up a fumble and rumbled 80 yards for a score.
Kadarius Toney topped all those plays with a 26-yard run in which he juked three defenders and set up Jones’ first of three TD runs.
Freshman Mohamoud Diabate, filling in for injured linebacker Jeremiah Moon, notched three sacks — including the one that led to Greenard’s fumble return. And safety Brad Stiner intercepted two passes, picking off both Vanderbilt quarterbacks.