UTAH UTES

Late Interception Sends No. 7 Utah Home With Heartbreaking Loss To Florida

Sep 3, 2022, 4:56 PM | Updated: 8:36 pm
Cam Rising - Utah vs. Florida...
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)
(Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The seventh-ranked University of Utah football team suffered a heartbreaking 29-26 loss to the Florida Gators in their season opener.

With 22 seconds remaining and Utah inside the 10-yard line, Cam Rising threw the ball to the end zone and it was picked off by a Florida defender.

Rising finished the game completing 22 of his 32 pass attempts for 217 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He also ran the ball seven times for 90 yards. Tavion Thomas led the rushing attack with 23 carries for 115 yards and one TD.

Pregame

Here are some sights and sounds from around the stadium and in The Swamp before kickoff.

First Quarter

One play shifted the momentum in the opening quarter as Brant Kuithe scored a touchdown for Utah against Florida.

All the momentum was on Florida’s side, racking up 60 yards but everything changed when Jonah Elliss stripped the ball from Florida. Utah safety RJ Hubert scooped up the fumble and returned it inside Florida’s 30-yard line. Moments later, Cam Rising threw a touchdown pass to Brant Kuithe to give the Utes a 7-0 lead over the Gators.

After both teams exchanged punts, Florida was able to drive down the field and scored their first touchdown of the season on a two-yard run by quarterback Anthony Richardson. The score was tied at seven with 39 seconds to play in the first quarter.

Second Quarter

Utah couldn’t convert third down near the red zone but Jordan Noyes nailed a 43-yard field goal to take a 10-7 lead with 10:26 remaining in the second quarter.

The Utes’ defense forced Florida to punt and their offense went down the field before getting stalled at the Florida 8-yard line. Utah settled for a 31-yard field goal to take a 13-7 lead with 3:18 to play in the first half.

Richardson ran in his second touchdown of the night on a 45-yard strike and the Gators took a 14-13 lead with 1:42 remaining until halftime.

Third Quarter

Utah went into the first drive of the third quarter with the mindset of running the football better. They did that until they were at the Florida one-yard line on fourth and goal. Tavion Thomas ran the ball but was stuffed at the goal line.

The Gators were only able to get to midfield before having to punt the ball to the Utes.

Utah got the ball back and was able to get the lead back off of a seven-yard TD by Micah Bernard. Utah had a 19-14 lead with 12 seconds left in the third quarter.

Fourth Quarter

Quickly in the fourth quarter, Montrel Johson ran in a 14-yard touchdown. The Gators picked up the two-point conversion and had a 22-19 lead with 12:48 remaining in the game.

Utah would use a long drive to get into Florida territory before Tavion Thomas ran in a four-yard touchdown. The Utes held a 26-22 lead with 6:26 left to play in the game.

With 1:25 remaining in the game, Richardson scored his third rushing touchdown of the game. The Gators had a 28-26 lead.

Utah dropped their record to 0-1 on the season. They will open their 2022 home schedule on Saturday, September 10 against Southern Utah at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Kickoff is at 11:00 a.m. MT on the Pac-12 Network.

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