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3 takeaways from Utah’s 29-26 loss to Florida

The No. 7 Utah Utes fell on the road to open the season

SHARE 3 takeaways from Utah’s 29-26 loss to Florida
Utah Utes quarterback Cameron Rising falls down.

Utah Utes quarterback Cameron Rising (7) fights to keep his balance on a run up the middle as Utah and Florida play in Gainesvillle, Fla., on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

The No. 7 Utah Utes fell on the road to open the season after Florida’s Amari Burney intercepted Utah quarterback Cameron Rising with 17 seconds left to seal a 29-26 win for the Gators.

Here are three takeaways from Utah’s loss:

Utah’s final drive comes up short

With the game on the line, Utah quarterback Cameron Rising guided the Utes 69 yards down the field in just over a minute. But with 17 seconds left, down by three, on the Florida 6-yard line, Rising threw an interception. Burney’s pick won the game for the Gators as they upset the Utes.

Credit Rising for getting the Utes to that point — though Florida dropped what looked like a sure interception earlier in the drive — with a couple of key passes to Devaughn Vele and a 28-yard run on 3rd-and-6. It was a great individual play by Burney, but with Utah in chip-shot field goal range with time winding down, a turnover was the only thing the Utes couldn’t afford to have happen.

Florida’s third-quarter goal-line stand changed the game

The Utes came out firing to begin the second half, with Tavion Thomas and Chris Curry establishing Utah’s run game. Utah ran the ball five times and Rising found Micah Bernard to set up first-and-goal at the Florida 8-yard line.

The Gators’ defense made an excellent goal-line stand, which turned out to be a huge moment in a close game.

Utah had second-and-goal from the 1-yard line after a Florida penalty, but Thomas was stuffed for a loss of 2. Rising ran for 2 yards to set up fourth-and-goal from the 1, but Thomas was stuffed again.

Utah’s inability to score on that drive would come back to haunt them.

Anthony Richardson looks like the real deal

After a so-so 2021 season where he appeared in seven games, threw six touchdowns and five interceptions, and had a 59% completion percentage, Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson looks like he has made a big step forward.

Richardson was 17-for-24 for 168 yards and didn’t really make any mistakes. Where he really shined was on the ground. Richardson rushed for 104 yards and three touchdowns, including a 45-yard touchdown run and the game-winning 1-yard touchdown run with 1:25 left.

The 6-foot-4, 232-pound sophomore evaded Utah’s defense when it counted.

Richardson made good decisions pretty much the entire game and made good reads, finding opportune times to run with the ball.