Utah Plays Tough, Comes Up Short In The Swamp

Sep 3, 2022, 10:07 PM | Updated: Sep 6, 2022, 12:38 pm

GAINESVILLE- They say football is a game of inches and #7 Utah learned that the hard way in their season opener at The Swamp. Utah versus Florida gave us everything we love most about college football coming down to literally the last play to determine a winner. Despite Utah’s tough play, they came up a hair short 29-26, after quarterback Cam Rising threw an unusual interception in the end zone to end the game.

What Went Right For Utah

Not everything was a loss for the Utes in their contest with the Gators, though they did start a little slow. Once the offense found their rhythm and got going they were very effecient.

Rising was 22 of 32 for 216 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He also added seven carries for 91 yards, averaging 13 yards per play. When things were shaky, Rising never faltered, continuing to be the steadying force for the team he always has been.

Running back Tavion Thomas continued to be the same beast he was last year going for 115 yards off 23 carries and a touchdown. Thomas averaged about five yards per carry and often took Florida defenders for a ride with him.

Brante Kuithe was Utah’s leading receiver hauling in nine passes for 105 yards and a touchdown. Behind Kuithe was running back Micah Bernard with five catches for 31 yards. Bernard was also good for a rushing touchdown. Rounding up the pass catchers was Devaughn Vele who brought in three catches for 36 yards.

Defensively, Utah had their moments as well, though more often than not it felt like they weren’t always able to make key stops. Safety Cole Bishop led the team in tackles with 12 total and a partial tackle for loss. Linebacker Mohamoud Diabate was next with nine tackles followed by RJ Hubert who added eight along with a scooped fumble at the beginning of the game.

Kicker Jordan Noyes proved to be clutch for special teams contributing two field goals of 43 and 31 yards each.

What Went Wrong

While there was a lot to like about what Utah presented in their first game of 2022 in a hostile environment, there were also missed opportunities as well that ultimately cost them the game.

Rising’s interception to end the game aside, the Utes missed out on a touchdown after going the length of the field in the third quarter as well as not converting a two-point attempt. If one wants to get nit-picky, it can also be argued the Utes left points on the field settling for two field goals instead of touchdowns.

Defensively, tackling needs to get better for the Utes going forward. There were several instances throughout the game where they had Florida’s offense where they wanted them and they’d manage to break free for a big gain- usually at inopportune moments.

End of the day this Utah team is tough as nails and has proven they can go blow-for-blow with the big boys twice in a row now. The biggest thing will be taking what they learned they need to improve upon from playing Ohio State and Florida and running with it for the rest of the season. If they can do that nothing about their goals changes.


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