GAMEDAY College Football

Florida 29, Utah 26

(AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

By MARK LONG
AP Sports Writer

GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Anthony Richardson ran for three scores in his second career start, including a 2-yard scamper with 1:25 remaining, and Florida upset seventh-ranked Utah 29-26 to get the Billy Napier era off to a rousing start.

Richardson was the best player on the field most of the night. He really showed up down the stretch, although linebacker Amari Burney was the guy who sealed the victory for the Gators.

Burney intercepted Cam Rising's second-down pass into the end zone with 17 seconds remaining. That set off a wild celebration that surely will last long into the night.

Richardson took a knee from there, and the Gators stormed the field to revel in their 33rd consecutive victory in home season openers. That's the longest current streak in the nation.

Richardson ran 11 times for 106 yards and was never stopped for a loss. He completed 17 of 24 passes for 168 yards and played turnover-free football.

His best play? He had an electrifying 2-point conversion early in the fourth quarter that put the Gators up 22-19. He juked former Florida teammate Mohamoud Diabate with a pump fake and then sprinted right by fellow Utah linebacker Lander Barton before throwing a strike to Ja'Quavion Fraziers in the back of the end zone.

Utah answered and took the lead briefly, but Richardson did it again. He moved the chains with a third-down throw and again with a fourth-down run, both of which set up his game winner.

Rising moved the Utes in position to steal one on the road for a team that entered the season with its highest preseason ranking in school history. But Rising's last pass was his most important - or costly - of the night.

Rising completed 22 of 32 passes for 216 yards, with a touchdown and the turnover. He also ran for 91 more.

Tavion Thomas had 115 yards rushing and a score for Utah, which caught a break when it rained about two hours before kickoff and erased whatever advantage Florida had with sweltering summer heat and humidity.

THE TAKEAWAY

Utah: The defending Pac-12 champions showed resiliency on the road, battling back to take the lead in the fourth quarter. Rising, Thomas and Micah Bernard were as good as advertised on the ground, and Brant Kuithe (9 catches for 105 yards and a TD) showed why he's considered one of the best tight ends in the country. Despite the loss, the Utes have enough talent and experience to still be a factor in the College Football Playoff.

Florida: The Gators don't look like they'll in rebuilding mode for long. Napier's recruiting has jumped in the last two months and a game like this could do wonders to help him close the gap on Southeastern Conference heavyweights Alabama and Georgia.

MILLION DOLLAR HANDSHAKE

Napier showed a bit of modern-day coaching nuance in the first half when he left his team during a timeout to offer millionaire booster Hugh Hathcock a handshake and a partial hug. Hathcock is one of the program's top donors.

Hathcock, who owns Velocity Automotive Solutions, gave the University Athletic Association a $12.6 million gift in April. Some of the money will be used to renovate Florida's aging basketball practice facility and some is sure to help the football program. The Gators plan to name a suite tower at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium and its basketball complex after Hathcock.


Scoring Summary
First Quarter UtahFla
Utah TD 11:23 Brant Kuithe 7 yd pass from Cameron Rising (Jordan Noyes kick) 7 0
Fla TD 0:39 Anthony Richardson 2 yd run (Adam Mihalek kick) 7 7
Second Quarter UtahFla
Utah FG 10:26 Jordan Noyes 43 yd FG 10 7
Utah FG 3:18 Jordan Noyes 31 yd FG 13 7
Fla TD 1:42 Anthony Richardson 45 yd run (Adam Mihalek kick) 13 14
Third Quarter UtahFla
Utah TD 0:12 Micah Bernard 7 yd run (failed 2pt rush) 19 14
Fourth Quarter UtahFla
Fla TD 12:48 Montrell Johnson Jr. 14 yd run (Ja'Quavion Fraziars 2pt pass from Anthony Richardson) 19 22
Utah TD 6:26 Tavion Thomas 4 yd run (Jordan Noyes kick) 26 22
Fla TD 1:25 Anthony Richardson 2 yd run (Adam Mihalek kick) 26 29
Team Stats
  Utah Florida
First downs 25 23
  Rushing 13 14
  Passing 12 9
  Penalty 0 0
3rd Down Efficiency 8-13, 62% 7-12, 58%
4th down efficiency 0-1, 0% 2-2, 100%
Rushes-Yards 39-230 39-283
Passing Yards 216 168
Return Yards 45 81
Completions-Attempts-Int 22-32-1 17-24-0
Sacks-Yards Lost 0-0 0-0
Punts 2 3
Punts-Average 46.5 40
Fumbles Lost 0-0 2-1
Penalties - Yards 3-15 7-38
Time of Possession 32:17 27:43
Utah Passing
Player Cmp Att Yds TDs Int
C. Rising 22 32 216 1 1
Florida Passing
Player Cmp Att Yds TDs Int
A. Richardson 17 24 168 0 0
Utah Rushing
Player Carries Yds Avg TDs
T. Thomas 23 115 5.0 1
C. Rising 7 91 13.0 0
C. Curry 5 13 2.6 0
M. Bernard 3 6 2.0 1
D. Vele 1 5 5.0 0
Florida Rushing
Player Carries Yds Avg TDs
A. Richardson 11 106 9.6 3
M. Johnson Jr. 12 75 6.3 1
T. Etienne 5 64 12.8 0
N. Wright 10 39 3.9 0
Utah Receiving
Player Rec Yds Avg TDs
B. Kuithe 9 105 11.7 1
D. Vele 3 36 12.0 0
M. Bernard 5 31 6.2 0
D. Kincaid 2 29 14.5 0
S. Enis 2 11 5.5 0
M. Parks 1 4 4.0 0
Florida Receiving
Player Rec Yds Avg TDs
R. Pearsall 4 67 16.8 0
X. Henderson 6 41 6.8 0
J. Shorter 2 25 12.5 0
M. Johnson Jr. 1 14 14.0 0
T. Etienne 2 9 4.5 0
K. Zipperer 1 7 7.0 0
D. Reynolds 1 5 5.0 0
Utah Interceptions
Player Int Yards
Florida Interceptions
Player Int Yards
A. Burney 1 0
Utah Punting
Player Punts Yards Avg
J. Bouwmeester 2 93 46.5
Florida Punting
Player Punts Yards Avg
J. Crawshaw 3 120 40.0
Utah Punt Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
D. Vele 1 10 10.0
Florida Punt Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
Utah Kick Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
M. Bernard 2 35 17.5
Florida Kick Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
X. Henderson 3 49 16.3
J. Weston 2 32 16.0
Utah Missed FG
Player Length
Florida Missed FG
Player Length




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