Florida Beats No. 7 Utah in First Major Upset of 2022 College Football Season

by Dustin Schutte

The Florida Gators wouldn’t back down. Billy Napier’s squad notched the first major upset of the college football season on Saturday night in “The Swamp,” defeating No. 7 Utah 29-26.

Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson threw for 168 yards and rushed for 104 more, scoring three touchdowns in the victory. The Gators also got 77 yards and a touchdown from Montrell Johnson Jr. on the ground.

Saturday’s contest was a back-and-forth affair that ended with high drama in the fourth quarter. Utah entered the final 15 minutes owning a 19-14 advantage. With 12:48 to play, UF’s Johnson rushed 14 yards to the end zone to put the Gators ahead 22-19.

The seventh-ranked Utes regained the lead with just under 6:30 to play on a four-yard run from Tavion Thomas, who finished the game with 115 yards. That put Utah ahead 26-22.

Richardson capped his magical night with a one-yard run to give the Gators a 29-26 lead with 1:25 to play. Utah marched down the field with a chance to win the game, but Rising’s pass into the end zone was intercepted by Amari Burney, sealing the win.

Napier starts his tenure in Gainesville off on the right foot. He also scored the first major upset of the college football season.

Billy Napier Gets Huge Win in Florida Gators Debut

Not many coaches faced a tougher challenge in their debut than Billy Napier. His team stood up to the test, though, and delivered a thrilling Week 1 upset to the college football world.

Napier racked up a 40-12 record in four seasons at Louisiana, which included three double-digit win seasons. Still going from the Sun Belt to the SEC is no easy transition. But the Gators handled the test of playing a top-10 foe well to open the 2022 campaign.

After the game, Napier had the perfect opening remark.

“Pretty good football game there, huh?” Napier said, per On3’s Nick de la Torre.

Florida’s slate doesn’t get much easier. After the 29-26 win over Utah, the Gators host No. 20 Kentucky in an SEC bout. The Wildcats defeated Miami (OH) 37-13 in Week 1. Both teams enter next week 1-0.

Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. CT on ESPN.