Game Balls: 'Kyle to Kyle' Sparks Gators Record-Setting Offense in Week 1
While the score appears relatively close, the Gators had the upper hand against the Ole Miss Rebels for the majority of the day today, and much of that was thanks to the combination of quarterback Kyle Trask and tight end Kyle Pitts.
Easily the players of the game today, Trask completed 30 out of 42 passes for 416 yards and six touchdowns, with Pitts hauling in eight receptions for 170 yards and four touchdowns on the day, he was targetted 10 times as the Rebels attempted to bracket him to no avail.
On the day, the Gators totaled 642 yards, the most offensive yards in school history since they totaled 640 in a game against Mississippi State in 2001. Florida gained 446 passing yards and 196 rushing yards on the day.
Following the game, Gators head coach Dan Mullen lauded Pitts' performance and was asked if there was any situation he'd be uncomfortable in getting his junior tight end in a 50-50 ball situation, simply repliing with "nope." That's the type of performance Pitts had today.
"You know what, hey, I’ll tell you what, I’ve been around," Mullen added in video conference with the media via Zoom. "One thing that I know is, you’ve got great players you look really smart as a coach sometimes, so. You’ve got great players, you give them the opportunity to go make plays and we can look smart, and, you know, that’s what we did today.”
The Gators weren't shy about getting Pitts the football today. On his final touchdown reception, Trask squeezed the football into the back of the endzone in what looked to be double coverage. It didn't matter, however, as Pitts went up and snagged it, wrestling with the linebacker to bring it in.
"He’s a special player," said Mullen. "But you know what, one of things you always try to do is create matchups. You saw some of the matchups we were able to create with him today. He’s that matchup problem as a tight end. That’s what you like."
With only one play into the second half, Trask threw long pass to Pitts, allowing him to catch and run 71 yards into the endzone. On the play, the junior tight end was matched up with an Ole Miss linebacker, and the rest is history. That would be his third touchdown of the day, and the longest play from scrimmage Florida on the day.
The Florida tight end has never scored four touchdowns in his playing career, but feels there's more to come from him as there's always an opportunity to get better, he says.
"I think it’s a good start, but there’s always room for improvement and things I want to work on, during the run game," Pitts said in postgame via Zoom. "But you know, passing wise, I feel like that was a good start for the offense and myself."
Pitts' four touchdown were the most by a Gators receiver since Riley Cooper caught three in 2006 against Central Carolina, he also tied the most touchdowns by a Gators player since Ike Hilliard in 1995 and Jack Jackson in 1994.
His signal-caller, Trask, was just as impressive if not moreso throughout the game. His six touchdowns tied (Joe Burrow, LSU, 2019) the SEC record for most passing touchdowns thrown in a conference opener. On target, Trask was able to find 11 different receivers on the day.
"He did a good job of managing the whole offense and managing the game, getting us into the right plays, all the adjustments we made on the sideline, he did a great job getting to those adjustments and creating, finding the mismatches all over the field," Mullen said of Trask. "I think we did a really good job of that all day."
Trask would call Pitts a "matchup nightmare" in postgame, adding of his and his offense's performance that the team had answers for every look the Rebels were showing them. "We had some great checks that we executed well. Overall, it’s just a great team game, everybody executed from start to finish.”
A fantastic start to the season, Florida will look to replicate its performance at home against South Carolina next Saturday.