Utah Football Returns Home After Complications Leaving Florida

Sep 4, 2022, 8:19 PM
Utah Utes head coach Kyle Whittingham grimaces as he and his players walk off the field after Utah and Florida played in Gainesville, Fla., on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022. Florida won 29-26. (Courtesy of Deseret News)
(Courtesy of Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah football program announced that its players and staff made it safely home to Salt Lake City after the Utes had airline complications leaving the state of Florida.

The Utes attempted to return home following their game against the Florida Gators on September 1.

Unfortunately, troubles with the team’s flight changed plans and Utah was stranded for hours in the Sunshine State. The University of Florida assisted the Utes during their extended stay.

A day after the game, Utah football tweeted that the team made it back to the Beehive State.

“We are finally home and we are ready for a new week,” the team tweeted. “#GoUtes, always.”

Utes Stuck In Gainesville

Word got out early Sunday morning that the Utes never made it back to Salt Lake City after their game at The Swamp. Paul Kirk, who is head of Utah Athletics Communications revealed the charter plane Utah was supposed to take Saturday night was grounded due to mechanical issues.

According to a source for KSL, the team and staff were stuck on the plane from about 1 am Sunday morning until around 5 am when they were finally deplaned. They have been sitting at a terminal in Gainesville Regional Airport since due to accommodations being tight because of the long holiday weekend.

Kirk said in a different Tweet the team has been in contact with the University of Florida and they have been graciously providing assistance.

Utah Athletic Director Mark Harlan recently followed up Kirks Tweets that Florida has been able to find the Utes a hotel partner, busses, and meals until they can get back to Salt Lake later Sunday night. A fine example of sportsmanship and looking out for each other despite being competitive foes.

After an extra long ordeal in Gainesville, it appears Utah football is finally on their way home. A source told KSL Sports earlier in the day the team most likely wasn’t leaving Florida till around 5:30 pm ET. A Twitter Account called Sports + Aviation Tweeted the team was on their way, and likely to land around 7:17 pm MT.

While most of the players and staff are on this particular flight, it has been reported several of the assistant coaches opted to find coach flights in order to get back to Salt Lake City and start putting together a game plan for Southern Utah this coming weekend.

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