Behind the support of the largest opening game crowd in school history, coach Billy Napier and the Florida Gators took down the No. 7 Utah Utes.
90,799 people lost their minds as Amari Burney snagged the interception to seal the Gators’ 29-26 win.
First-year Gator head coach Billy Napier stole a win from a top ten program in his first game as head coach of the program.
The team played Utah in a game they would normally be expected to easily be defeated since they were unranked going into the game. This time was different because they played in the home stadium, the Swamp.
The team’s offense showed promise all game but couldn’t always find a way to get points on the board.
Florida had the ball to open the game. After driving 64 yards, the Gators first drive of the season ended with a fumble by Montrell Johnson, Jr.
The Utes quickly took advantage of the opportunity and scored a touchdown in less than two minutes. Florida bounced back, and Anthony Richardson rushed the ball into the endzone to tie the game.
Utah answered with field goals on back-to-back drives to take a 6-point lead with 3:18 left in the first half. Florida only needed four plays to take the lead with Richardson’s second touchdown of the game, a 45-yard rush touchdown.
The first half came to a close, and UF held a 1-point lead over the Utes.
In an uneventful third quarter, Utah scored the only points of the period when Micah Bernard scored a 7-yard touchdown to put Utah ahead. The away team failed to convert the 2-point conversion and led, 19-14.
Florida, again, didn’t take much time to respond and moved 75 yards in eight plays. Johnson rushed the ball in for the 14-yard touchdown to put the home team back on top, and Richardson completed a pass to Ja’Quavion Fraziars for the 2-point conversion. Florida led, 22-19.
The fourth quarter continued its back-to-back nature and Utah capped off a 6-minute drive with a touchdown by Tavion Thomas to put the Utes up, 26-22.
Florida got the ball about halfway through the final quarter and had the opportunity to put themselves ahead. The team was fighting for every yard and had to convert two third downs before facing a fourth down with 1:53 left in the game.
Richardson saved the day and picked up the first down to keep the drive and game alive for the Gators. With 1:25 left in the game, Florida was put on top by none other than its star quarterback.
Richardson rushed the ball in for his third touchdown of the game, but Utah still had enough time to try to answer the Gators’ touchdown. Down 29-26, the Utes traveled 69 yards and found themselves at the 6-yard line.
Linebacker Ventrell Miller dropped an interception on the drive, but Burney was able to avenge him and seal the game with 17 seconds left on the board.
The Gators struggled to stuff the run all game, conceding 230 rushing yards on the evening. However, the team bested Utah in this category with its 283 rushing yards.
Johnson had 75 rushing yards, but Richardson was the star of the show. The quarterback rushed for 106 yards and 3 touchdowns and added on 168 yards through the air.
The victory didn’t come easy, but the Swamp saw its home team show out and win its 32nd home opener in a row, this time against the No.7 ranked team in the country.