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Thursday, January 27, 2022
<p>Tight end Kyle Pitts caught two touchdowns as UF defeated Towson 38-0.</p>

Tight end Kyle Pitts caught two touchdowns as UF defeated Towson 38-0.

Towson should have known better.

Kyle Pitts had already caught two targets on the Gators’ opening drive to help set them up with a third and goal at the 5-yard line.

Still, the Tigers left quarterback Kyle Trask’s favorite target covered one-on-one on the outside by undersized S.J. Brown II.

Big mistake.

The 5-foot-11 safety was no match for 6-foot-6 Pitts, who beat him on a slant route and caught a bullet from Trask.

“That’s what we’ve been wanting all week,” Pitts said after the game. “When I got that and the safety came over, I was pretty happy, and I was like, ‘I’ve got to make a play.’”

It was the first of two touchdowns on the day for Pitts, who has quickly become a focal point of the new-look UF offense led by Trask. He finished with four catches for 28 yards against Towson, and his two scores were both of Trask’s passing touchdowns.

With games against talented teams like No. 7 Auburn, No. 4 LSU and No. 3 Georgia on deck, he could be a big problem for opposing defenses.

With Feleipe Franks lining up under center, Pitts had 8 catches for only 69 yards. Since Trask took over in the fourth quarter against Kentucky three weeks ago, he has 9 catches for 120 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Getting the tight ends involved in the passing game has been Florida’s folly over the last few seasons. Recently graduated C’yontai Lewis showed flashes of playmaking ability, but he wasn’t able to establish himself as a consistent target for the Gators.

Now, Pitts has the opportunity to be that guy.

Built like a big-bodied receiver, the sophomore has demonstrated his ability to present a matchup problem for opposing defenses. On his second touchdown of the day, he caught a back-shoulder pass from Trask by leaping into the air, snagging the ball and tapping his foot down in bounds.

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"(Pitts is) a tough matchup on people at tight end,” coach Dan Mullen said. “Kyle (Pitts), he runs routes and the mismatch, he can cause problems when you try to create. As always we try to create matchups across the board, and he can cause some of those issues.

Plays like that, paired with a frame that makes him tough to bring down in the open field, show how Pitts could be a game-changer as the Gators’ schedule peaks in intensity during the month of October.

He’s versatile in ways Florida tight ends haven’t been in quite a while. He can line up outside the numbers, in the slot or next to the tackles.

He’s also the Gators’ most consistent blocking tight end. Florida’s run game has been mostly non-existent through three games aside from a handful of big plays against inferior competition.

Considering he could be UF’s biggest threat in the passing game and is more developed in terms of blocking than Lucas Krull, Pitts will likely see the bulk of the reps as the Gators enter the meat of their schedule.

And he may just take the conference by storm.

Follow Tyler Nettuno on Twitter @TylerNettuno. Contact him at tnettuno@alligator.org.

Tight end Kyle Pitts caught two touchdowns as UF defeated Towson 38-0.

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