There’s just something about the Kyles.
Saturday’s 24-13 win over Auburn, once again featured the Trask-to-Pitts connection.
As they did in Florida’s previous win over Tennessee, UF quarterback Kyle Trask and tight end Kyle Pitts came out of the tunnel on the same page, resulting in a team-high eight receptions for 65 yards for Pitts.
“I was just letting the game come to me, not trying to force it,” Pitts said. “We just got the ball out fast and created mismatches on the interior and outside.”
In a talent-laden wide receiving corps, Pitts has emerged has a reliable target for Trask, namely due to his route-running — and you can’t forget about those massive mitts that protrude from his 6-foot-6 frame and seem to seek out the pass.
For Pitts, Saturday’s showing was simply an extension of practice; Mullen has emphasized an increased competitiveness in practice, with sound preparation throughout the week and into gameday being the desired result.
And it’s led to Florida’s passing game — sans Feleipe Franks and Kadarius Toney — firing on cylinders.
After passing for 266 yards against the Tigers, Florida has now passed for 250 yards or more for six consecutive games for the first time since the 2004 season, while showing a knack for hitting the big play in the process.
In Mullen’s 19 games as UF’s head coach, the Gators have passed for 250 yards or more nine times and are one of just four FBS teams to have four plays of 60 yards or more this season.
But one thing a team can’t fully prepare for is injuries.
Midway through the second quarter, with the Gators clutching a one-score lead, Trask rolled right as pressure came from Auburn standout Marlon Davidson, who appeared to to be pushed and fell into Trask’s leg as he was sacked.
The crowd went silent, fearing another quarterback had been lost.
“We didn’t want another quarterback to go down, so we were upset about it right away,” Pitts said. “Kyle’s a tough guy, and when he went down I was just hoping he would get right back up.”
That trepidation was soon replaced with relief as Trask emerged from the locker room with a brace on his left knee after suffering a strained MCL.
Yet the Gators had to maintain their focus on the slim lead, meaning the defense couldn’t drop their guard until the final buzzer.
For a Florida team set for national recognition and respect, the turbulent and turnover-filled second-half was another chance to improve heading into another College GameDay match-up.
As he did against these Tigers, Pitts is going to just take what the defense gives him in Death Valley — if Saturday was any indication, that’s a sound strategy for Florida’s match-up nightmare in the passing game.
“I think it was very big, so we’re going on the road next week against a very tough opponent, so this was very important,” Pitts said. “It gives us a lot of confidence, because next week it’s another tough opponent to face, so we’re going to go on the road and try and get a road win against another great team.”