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Kyle Trask leads Florida into venue that inspired his name

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — When Florida quarterback Kyle Trask walks into Kyle Field this weekend, it surely will feel a little surreal. That's because Trask will come face to face with his namesake. Yes, Trask’s parents named their son after Texas A&M's century-old football stadium.

“That’s what I was told,” Trask said Monday. He has no reason to question the story. After all, about half his family — including mom and dad — attended Texas A&M. The school is about a two-hour drive from their hometown of Manvel, Texas. So Trask had plenty of loved ones around him rooting against the state’s flagship university in Austin.

“I was definitely raised to hate the Longhorns,” he said. On Saturday, some of those relatives might be a little torn between their beloved and 21st-ranked Aggies (1-1) and Trask and the No. 4 Gators (2-0).

“A lot of excitement,” Trask said. “I’m definitely going to have to get a lot of tickets for this week for a lot of family making the drive up there. It will just be an exciting time to play against a team that I grew up watching.”

Trask never made it to a regular-season game at Kyle Field, but he did get to see a spring game featuring reigning Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel in 2013. Trask was a freshman at Manvel High at the time, in the early stages of a seven-year stretch as a backup quarterback.

He played behind current Miami starter D’Eriq King in high school and never got a sniff from the nearby Aggies. “Not that I remember,” he said. “Obviously, I wasn’t really highly recruited. I think they already had their quarterback for that class and I don’t think I really got any contact from them or any big-time schools for the most part.”

He landed at Florida in 2016 and then had to wait his turn behind Austin Appleby, Luke Del Rio, Feleipe Franks and Malik Zaire. Now, he’s tearing it up as the Gators’ most entrenched starter since 2007 Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow.

A year after replacing Franks at Kentucky and finishing with the most TD passes (25) for a Florida quarterback since Tebow’s senior season in 2010, Trask leads the Southeastern Conference with 10 TD tosses in two games.

He’s completed 51 of 71 passes for 684 yards, with just two mistakes: an interception and a fumble in a 38-24 victory against South Carolina that helped the Gamecocks keep it close. Errors aside, he’s given the Florida faithful a strong belief that the Gators can compete for the conference and national championships in Trask’s senior season.

“Obviously, he throws a very catchable ball,” offensive coordinator Brian Johnson said. “He has the ability to drive it, to touch it. But I think the biggest attribute is he plays with such a great sense of anticipation and understanding when things are supposed to come open.

“And he does a great job of playing with eyes and trusting what he sees. And guys have made plays around him.” With the 6-foot-5 Trask leading the way, the Gators have scored 85 points in two games against two of the worst defensive teams in the league in 2019.

They expect a tougher test from the Aggies, who beat Vanderbilt 17-12 in the opener and then got blown out at No. 2 Alabama. The Tide’s Mac Jones threw for 435 yards and four touchdowns in the 52-24 drubbing.

Trask would love to put up similar numbers, especially in front of so many friends and family members and in the place that bears his name. “I’m sure it will be a kind of homecoming for him,” receiver Trent Whittemore said. “And it’ll be special for him to play well."

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