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Monday, September 26, 2022
<p>In Saturday's 51-35 win over Ole Miss, tight end Kyle Pitts recorded four touchdowns and eight receptions for 170 yards.</p>

In Saturday's 51-35 win over Ole Miss, tight end Kyle Pitts recorded four touchdowns and eight receptions for 170 yards.

The two Gators on the preseason All-SEC first team shook off the rust and immediately took over the game. 

The Kyle-to-Kyle connection between quarterback Kyle Trask and tight end Kyle Pitts was alive and well in the Gators’ season-opening 51-35 win over Ole Miss. Pitts hauled in eight passes from Trask for 170 yards and four touchdowns. “Kyle to Kyle” was even a trending topic on Twitter. 

“Me and Kyle are always talking,” Pitts said. “(We’re) good friends, and ‘Kyle to Kyle,’ we go around and jokingly say that.”

Florida’s offense moved the ball at will all day, collecting 642 yards. It’s the first time it eclipsed the 600-yard mark against an FBS opponent since 2010 against Cincinnati. Saturday was also the first time a Florida quarterback threw six touchdowns since Chris Leak did it against South Carolina in 2004. Trask ended the game with 446 yards and 31 completions on 45 attempts. 

However, the Gators’ big day offensively was shared by Ole Miss. The Rebels totaled more than 600 yards, and quarterback Matt Corral had a solid start. He completed 22 of 31 passes for 395 yards, three touchdowns and an interception.

“I do think we need to clean some things up,” Gators coach Dan Mullen said. “I know Todd and the staff are going to do a great job, and I know our leadership on defense (are) probably not pleased — not the coaching, the player leadership on defense not pleased — with our total performance on the day.”

Despite worries about teams playing rusty with a shortened camp, both offenses sprinted out of the gates. They combined for more than 300 yards and 21 points in the first quarter, and the first punt of the game wasn’t until midway through the second quarter. 

Brenton Cox Jr. got his first sack as a Gator when he snagged Corral on fourth and 3 on the game’s first drive to force a turnover on downs. Florida then marched 76 yards down the field before Trask found Pitts open in the flat for a touchdown. 

Ole Miss responded with a touchdown drive of its own. The Rebels converted on a third and 19 before Corral hit wide receiver Dontario Drummond for a 46-yard touchdown to tie the game. 

Following interceptions for both offenses, the Gators only needed four plays to break into the end zone again. Wide receiver Trevon Grimes hauled in a 22-yard pass from Trask for the 14-7 lead. 

Florida found the end zone on four of its six possessions in the first half, leading to a 28-14 lead at halftime. 

Trask didn’t have to wait long for No. 5. 

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On Florida’s first drive in the second half, Trask found a streaking Pitts, who broke away from the Ole Miss defense and raced to the end zone for a touchdown just 41 seconds into the second half. 

“That was just something we saw on film and something we executed well,” Trask said. “Everybody on the field did their job, and whenever that happens, we can score a lot of points.”

Ole Miss’ offense struck again moments later. Receiver Elijah Moore brought in a 57-yard bomb from Corral, then running back Jerrion Ealy avoided multiple tackles for a touchdown on the next play to whittle the lead to 14. Moore finished the day with 227 receiving yards — the second-most in school history. 

The closest Ole Miss came to getting back into the game was forcing a three-and-out early in the fourth quarter, down 44-29. However, a roughing-the-passer penalty on the Rebels kept the Gators’ drive alive, which resulted in a field goal. 

“It felt like a great day for football for us,” Mullen said. “(It) kind of felt normal for the first time in a long time to be out there on the football field playing SEC football.”

Contact Brendan Farrell at bfarrell@alligator.org and follow him on Twitter @Bfarrell727.

In Saturday's 51-35 win over Ole Miss, tight end Kyle Pitts recorded four touchdowns and eight receptions for 170 yards.

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