In its last three games, Utah has played in front of crowds totaling nearly a quarter of a million fans.
Last December, 56,511 attended the first Pac-12 championship game in Las Vegas, where the Utes battered Oregon 38-10 at Allegiant Stadium.
On New Year’s Day, Utah fell to Ohio State 48-45 in a memorable Rose Bowl that featured 87,842 fans.
And last Saturday at The Swamp, the Utes were part of history. A crowd of 90,799 watched Utah fall 29-26 to Florida. It marked the largest home-opening crowd in Gator football history.
In the last three games, 235,152 fans have watched the Utes play live.
And, of course, all three games were televised nationally.
Coach Kyle Whittingham liked the way his team handled the noise and atmosphere in Gainesville.
“I thought we handled it exceptionally well, especially on offense handling the noise,” he said. “We’ve been in big games before, big environments. I don’t think they were overwhelmed.”
What did Utah linebacker Mohamoud Diabate, a Florida transfer, think about his return to The Swamp?
“Great experience, great game,” he said. “I just wish we would have been able to execute better so we could get the ‘W.’”
Diabate added that “first-game jitters” may have affected his new team.
“A lot of people are excited to get out there. When you’re over-excited, you’re not exactly focused on what you’re supposed to do,” he said. “We’re focusing on getting better this week so we don’t make the same mistakes.”
Defensive end Van Fillinger enjoyed the overall experience playing at The Swamp.
“It was really electric. The energy was there, for sure. I thought it was fun. It was a good game,” he said. “I never think that crowd noise is an issue for the defense. At least for me, it just gives me energy. It makes me feel good. I like to hear fans, even if it’s against me. It was cool to be in that stadium. Not cool to lose in it. But it’s a cool experience.”
“It was good. It was a hostile environment, just what we wanted,” said cornerback Clark Phillips III. “We got to battle a great team. It was fun.”
How does running back Micah Bernard compare Florida to other big teams the Utes have faced?
“They’re pretty good. Big, strong, fast guys,” he said. “They know how to play football down there. It was great to play them and get a little taste of the SEC. We know we can play with them.”