On Saturday, the Hot Light burned brightly. Trey Burton was making doughnuts.
The night sky in Knoxville, Tenn., was filled with the sweet smell of crullers, bear claws and Boston cream as Florida celebrated its 37-20 victory against Tennessee.
Burton carried the ball three times for 91 yards and two touchdowns, including a game-tying 80-yard score late in the third quarter.
His second touchdown kicked off a string of 24 unanswered points scored by the Gators during the game’s final 19 minutes.
The aroma was familiar.
Florida has enjoyed this sweetness before.
Two years ago, UF enjoyed sugar rushes courtesy of Burton against two unranked Southeastern Conference opponents — Kentucky and Georgia. Both teams finished the season 6-7. In those two games, Burton tallied 290 all-purpose yards.
Prior to this year, Burton has rarely fared well against ranked opponents. In nine games against Top-25 teams, Burton has averaged just 23.1 yards per contest.
Florida coach Will Muschamp has tried bringing home Krispy Kreme for dinner in the past. Suffice it to say, it did not go well.
Facing a critical fourth-and-1 during the first half of last season’s loss to Florida State, UF elected to run Burton up the middle.
Overwhelmed by the Seminoles’ push at the line of scrimmage, Burton ran backwards in an attempt to get outside and lost 14 yards.
In Florida’s 20-17 victory against Texas A&M on Sept. 8, the Gators decided to hand off to Burton on second-and-goal on the 6-yard line.
Burton again ran backwards to avoid the stuffed defensive front, but only lost two yards due to some impressive maneuvering in a frantic attempt to get back to the line of scrimmage.
Even Urban Meyer learned the hard way that UF cannot run on Dunkin’.
John Brantley led Florida deep into Alabama territory before he was pulled for Burton.
Burton ran twice for no gain, then threw an interception on a jump pass.
Both Muschamp and offensive coordinator Brent Pease have emphatically praised Burton’s versatility and intelligence.
According to the Gators offensive staff, he’s the Gabby Douglas of mental gymnastics — a term Pease used during fall camp to describe the process of learning his offense.
However, UF should give the majority of touches to more effective options like Mike Gillislee, Jordan Reed and maybe even Jeff Driskel down the road.
When the going gets tough in the heart of the SEC schedule, those are the guys Florida should trust.
Burton is a good football player, but he should not be the Gators’ go-to playmaker.
He is most effective in the wildcat formation, a scheme that works more as a gimmick than anything else.
No good defense would have been fooled by Burton's 80-yard run after UF ran the same play — only reversed — on his 14-yard score in the first quarter.
When you're starving, doughnuts won't cut it. They are arguably the emptiest carbs one can eat.
If the football season is a day, then Florida will finish breakfast against Kentucky this weekend.
But beyond the morning hours, doughnuts are merely dessert — an added bonus.
If the Gators want to sit at the grown-ups table, they need to eat wholesome meals.
So, keep making those doughnuts, Mr. Burton.
If the Gators eat as much as they plan to this season, they’ll find a way to make some room for dessert.
Contact Joe Morgan at [email protected].