The #14 Utah Utes open the season at home with a statement victory against the Florida Gators with the final score 24-11. It is just the second-straight meeting that both teams open up the season against one another. Last year, Florida won 29-26 in Gainesville with a last second field goal to ice the game that was led by former and now Indianapolis Colts quarterback Anthony Richardson. this time it was the completely different game that a lot of game analyst predict.
Utah Issues Statement Game vs Florida
Utah Starts Fast
Utah got off to the fast start on their 1st drive with quarterback Bryson Barnes delivered a laser throw that was caught by Money Parks for a 70-yard touchdown, to get both them and the crowd in motion. Bryson was able to finish the game with 159 passing yards and a rushing touchdown, along with freshman quarterback Nate Johnson getting some action as well. The story of the game is Utah’s defense holding the Gators to just 11 points for the entire game making it hard for them to score on both the ground and passing game. Utah was able to sack the quarterback 5 times in that game and a key interception in the 3rd quarter to extend the lead from 17 to 24 in a blink of an eye. This is the reason why they have won the Pac-12 Championship 2 straight years in a row for a reason.
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Florida Off to Rough Start
As for the SEC’s Florida Gators, it wasn’t the start they were hoping to get off for the first game of the season. Gator quarterback Graham Mertz threw for 333 passing yards, a touchdown and an interception to finish the game. Even his favorite receiver, Ricky Pearsall was only to snatch 92 yards for only eight catches, which tells show how good the Utes corners were good on holding him to under 100 yards. Mertz was able to make good throws but, stayed in the pocket for too long, while trying to find open receivers. There were times when he didn’t see plays where a receiver was able to make a big play. The biggest issue for them was committing an 4th down conversion multiple times and not taking full advantage of it to keep the drive alive. The Utah offense was too much for the defense especially, against their big tight ends who had a huge impact in the game as well.
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Utes on the Road vs Big-12 Powerhouse
The Utes will take last night’s win on the road where they play another non-conference opponent next week. When they take on BIG-12 powerhouse Baylor in another key game that has both PAC-12 championship and playoff implications on the line. Everyone has them as the second-best favorite to win the PAC-12 while, USC the team they beat last year is favorite yet again to win the conference. The Gators return home to Gainesville when McNeese comes into town. They have a lot of work to do especially when it is time to play against SEC foes with #12 Tennesse comes into town in 2 weeks from Saturday. These gives both Mertz, Pearsall and the other Gators time to get ready for their showdown.