Florida Gators

Anthony Richardson shines as Gators upset Utah

todaySeptember 4, 2022


By Hays Carlyon

GAINESVILLE – I’m not going to use the H word.

I’m not going to talk about Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson going to a certain New York athletic club in mid-December.

But you’re thinking it.

And you should be.

Soak it up, Gators fans.

You might not have much of a defense, but you’ve got a legit coach in Billy Napier and you have a potential superstar at quarterback in Richardson.

Potential wasn’t needed Saturday night in The Swamp. Richardson simply was a superstar, leading the unranked (for now) Gators to a 29-26 win over No. 7 Utah in front of 90,799 fans.

The sophomore ran for 106 yards with three touchdowns. Richardson also completed 17 of 24 passes for 168 yards.

In just his second career start, Richardson avoided making critical mistakes against a team that played in the Rose Bowl last season and made some dazzling plays.

He broke a 45-yard touchdown run. He escaped two Utah defenders and then completed a pass to receiver Ja’Quavion Fraziars for a two-point conversion.

Richardson certainly made a believer out of Utah coach Kyle Whittingham.

“If they can keep him healthy, they are going to win a lot of games,” Whittingham said. “He’s going to get his. He’s 6-4, 230 and runs like a 4.3. He’s a terrific player.”

Florida linebacker Amari Burney sealed the victory. His diving interception in the end zone allowed the Gators to run out the final seconds.

Burney will forever be remembered in Gators lore for his sensational pick.

But this was Richardson’s night.

Richardson will be among the most talked about names in college football this week.

We were all waiting to see what he would do. We saw the moments of brilliant athleticism last season, but former coach Dan Mullen rarely played him.

He started one game and that was against perhaps the best defense we’ve seen in many years in Georgia’s national-championship winning unit.

We waited months to find out what Richardson might be under Napier.

Saturday’s victory was a huge momentum builder.

Richardson is going to have to be a star almost every week. The Gators defense gave up 449 yards of offense to the Utes with an electrifying crowd behind them.

Florida simply isn’t going to stop any competent offense.

Richardson will have as much pressure on him individually to shine as any player in the country.

The Gators aren’t a bowl team without him.

But with him, we learned UF is good enough to take down one of the best teams in the country.

I’m not saying the H word.

But I will check to see how much room is available around the statues outside The Swamp before I drive home.

(You can email Hays at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @HaysCarlyon).

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