TV Schedule: ESPN
Game time: September 3rd at 7:00 P.M
Location: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium
Florida plays Utah at home in the first game of the Billy Napier era. How will Anthony Richardson play in his first game as the unquestioned starter? Can the Gators upset 7th-ranked Utah in this primetime matchup?
In the first game of the Billy Napier era, Florida will be playing Utah at home. Napier starts off his coaching debut at Florida after leading Louisana to three straight 10+ win seasons. After Emory Jones transferred to Arizona State, Anthony Richardson is the unquestioned starter at QB for this team.
This is Richardson’s third year with the Gators. He barely played in his freshman year and posted non-notable stats that year. Last year with the Gators, he was the co-starter with Emory Jones. He eventually beat out Jones for the job during the season. He played 7 games and threw for 529 yards. Additionally, he threw for 6 touchdowns.
All off-season, college football fans have hyped up Richardson. He is considered to have an outside chance at the Heisman, with sports betting books having him with the 11th best odds to win the Heisman. Despite all of this, he is considered a relative unknown who has shown flashes of greatness. He seems to be a very explosive player but he is very inconsistent. Additionally, he seems to be very turnover-prone. Last year, he had six interceptions.
Utah goes into this game after a 10-4 record last year. The Utes won the PAC-12 championship last year against Oregon and lost in the Rose Bowl against Ohio State. Utah has its’ amazing offensive line returning from last year. Braden Daniel and Satoa Laumea are returning solid starters and will lead the offensive line at tackle and guard respectfully.
Utah’s defense will need to find new playmakers after losing star linebacker Devin Lloyd to the draft. Look for guys like Junior Taufuna to step up in Devin Lloyd’s absence on the defensive front. In the secondary, look for Clark Phillips to shine for the Utes.
Florida: 21 Utah: 28
Look for the Utes to win this game behind a solid performance from their offensive line and defense. If Florida wants to win this game, they will need a big performance from their third-year player. While Anthony Richardson will make this game interesting, picking Florida to win this game, considering Richardson’s inconsistency, would be foolish. Utah starts this season off right with a win against Florida in a game that will be close.