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Oklahoma rolls past short-handed Florida 55-20 in Cotton Bowl

With nine starters opting out or out with injury, Florida fell behind 17-0 and never recovered. The Gators finish the season 8-4.
Credit: AP
Oklahoma defensive end Ronnie Perkins (7) celebrates after sacking Florida quarterback Emory Jones, center left on knee, during the second half of the Cotton Bowl NCAA college football game in Arlington, Texas, Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2020. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

AT&T Stadium continues to be a house of horrors for the Florida Gators.

Much like the Gators' non-conference game against Michigan in 2017, the 2020 Cotton Bowl got ugly in a hurry -- and the end result, a 55-20 loss -- was just as ugly. 

With nearly a dozen starters out, Heisman finalist Kyle Trask threw three interceptions in the first quarter alone. Oklahoma quickly turned those turnovers into a 17-0 lead. Florida did mount a comeback, cutting the lead to 17-13, thanks to a combination of Trask and redshirt sophomore Emory Jones. But Oklahoma quarterback Spencer Rattler led two touchdown drives with four minutes to play before halftime, putting the Sooners up 18 points at half -- and Florida had no answer.

Rattler accounted for four total touchdowns, but it was Oklahoma's run-game that truly squandered any chance a young, Gators defense had at a comeback. Oklahoma's 435 rushing yards was easily the Gators' worst mark of the season (their previous high was 208 rushing yards to Arkansas). Oklahoma's 686 total yards is a new record in the 85 year history of the Cotton Bowl. 

As star after star opted out of the Cotton Bowl, Trask and head coach Dan Mullen maintained that the Heisman finalist wanted to play in the bowl game back in his home state of Texas. Trask would barely make it out of the first half -- and play sparingly in the second. He finished 16 of 28 for 158 yards in, presumably, his final collegiate game. Jones was 8 of 16 for 86 passing yards, and added 60 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown. Both quarterbacks were plagued by drops by an inexperienced receiving corp. 

True freshman and Gainesville native Anthony Richardson entered late in the fourth quarter and threw his first career touchdown, a 27-yard strike to Jordan Pouncey. 

Florida concludes its season, Dan Mullen's third back in Gainesville, at 8-4.