Florida vs. Utah: 50 former Gators react as The Swamp goes wild with upset over No. 7 Utah

By OnlyGators.com Staff
September 3, 2022
Florida vs. Utah: 50 former Gators react as The Swamp goes wild with upset over No. 7 Utah

Image Credit: GatorsFB on Twitter

One of the most momentous home games in the history of Florida Gators football concluded exactly how the 90,799 fans inside Ben Hill Griffin Stadium hoped as Florida executed late to complete a 29-26 win over the No. 7 Utah Utes. Leading at halftime and late in the fourth quarter, the Gators engineered multiple comebacks to send the 90,799 fans in attendance — the largest crowd for a home opener in program history — into a frenzy with a massive win to open head coach Billy Napier’s tenure in Gainesville, Florida.

Sophomore quarterback Anthony Richardson, making his first career start in The Swamp after growing up in Gainesville, was efficient through the air and dominant on the ground, completing 17 of 24 passes for a career-high 168 yards with 11 carries for 104 yards rushing and a career-high three rushing touchdowns.

Aiding him in the Gators’ dominant ground game were junior Montrell Johnson Jr. and freshman Trevor Etienne, who combined for 141 yards rushing and a touchdown, which Johnson punched in to put Florida ahead early in the fourth quarter. Both players fumbled in the game with Johnson’s first-quarter cough up leading to a long Utah return and game-opening touchdown. Etienne recovered his miscue in the second half as the ball bounced back into his arms.

Richardson’s 45-yard touchdown run late in the first half put the Gators ahead going into the locker rooms, and senior linebacker Amari Burney joined him with a big play late in a half, intercepting Utes QB Cameron Rising in the end zone with 17 seconds left to clinch the victory for Florida.

The Gators have now won 33 straight home openers, the longest active streak in the nation dating back to 1989. Napier became the eighth straight Florida coach to win his first game but just the first in program history to beat a ranked opponent in that contest.

The victory not only sent the Gators in The Swamp into a frenzy but all those former Florida stars watching the game from home, too. Let’s take a look at how they reacted to UF’s upset over Utah.

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