When the University of Florida starting quarterback Feleipe Franks went down with a dislocated ankle injury, Gator fans were left speechless. Franks was seen as a talented offensive weapon for Florida, and despite some on-field issues, was a leader on the field and in the locker room. With 3:21 left in the 3rd quarter, with Florida trailing 21-10 to their SEC rival Kentucky Wildcats, it was time for the backup junior Kyle Trask to lead the Gators and salvage a game that seemed like a must-win for to keep the Gators playoff hopes alive.
After a big defensive stop from Florida, Trask led the Gators offense to a mandatory, six-play touchdown drive, which cut the deficit to five points, and made the score, 21-16 (two-point conversion attempt failed). Florida’s defense continued to make big stops and force turnovers, which gave Trask and his offense the chance to take the lead. With 4:11 left in the 4th quarter, Trask ran in a 4-yard touchdown to take the lead for the Gators. After another two-point conversion attempt failed, it was up to the defense to hold Kentucky one last time in order to get the win.
With 54 seconds left, Kentucky kicker Chance Poore attempted a 35-yard field goal, and missed it! The Gators were able to chew the clock enough (and even score another touchdown in the process on a Josh Hammond 76-yard touchdown run) to win the game for Florida. To many, none of this would have been possible without Trask. The backup saved the day for Florida, and in the end, may have saved the season, when it comes to any postseason chances the Gators may have had.
The “backup becoming a hero” story may have many more chapters to it, especially when it comes to the NFL. Ben Roethlisberger (out for the season), Drew Brees (six weeks), Nick Foles (indefinitely) are all starting quarterbacks for their respective teams, and they are also all out for significant time. Their backups, Mason Rudolph (Steelers), Teddy Bridgewater (Saints) and Gardner Minshew (Jaguars) will need to step up to the plate and deliver on offense, or else the season could be lost for three teams that were highly thought of prior to the start of the season. “The backups” know what they need to do in order to be successful, and fans of football across the country are excited to see what they are made of.
Many times, being the backup comes with a lot of responsibility, and these quarterbacks are looking to make the most of their situations.