UF FB: Florida-Utah Postgame Notes & Quotes

2022 Florida Football Postgame Notes

Florida 29, No. 7 Utah 26
September 3, 2022

Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at Steve Spurrier-Florida Field – Gainesville, Fla.
Napier Becomes First UF HC to Defeat Ranked Opponent in Debut in Front of Record Crowd
● Tonight’s official attendance of 90,799 represented the 10th-largest crowd in program history as
well as Florida’s largest crowd ever for a home opener.
● HC Billy Napier became the first Gators head football coach to defeat a ranked opponent in his
first game at the helm.
o Florida’s defeat of No. 7 Utah is tied for UF’s highest-ranked victory in a season opener in
program history, as this is the second time that an unranked Gators team has defeated a
top-ten opponent in a season opener – both were ranked No. 7.
▪ Florida 59, No. 7 Houston 34 (Sept. 20, 1969)
o New Gators Head Coaches in Debuts: 18-6
o New Gators Head Coaches in First Home Opener: 19-2-2
o New Gators Head Coaches in Season Opener at Home: 15-2
● The Gators improved to 3-0 against ranked opponents in The Swamp in season openers.
o Florida 59, No. 7 Houston 34 (Sept. 20, 1969)
o No. 16 Florida 17, No. 15 Miami 14 (Sept. 4, 1982)
● Florida extended its nation-leading home opener winning streak to 33-consecutive victories.
o Last loss: 24-19 vs. Ole Miss in 1989
● Florida has lost just one season opener (2017: No. 11 Michigan 33, No. 17 Florida 17) since 1990,
winning 30 of 31 season openers in that span.
● This was Florida’s fourth time playing a ranked opponent in a HOME opener.
o The Gators are now 2-0-1 in such games.
▪ Florida 0, No. 3 Georgia Tech 0 (1953)

● Tonight’s game marked the first time since 1978 that Florida was an underdog in a home opener.
Swamp Superlatives
● Florida boasts a 351-111-13 (.753) all-time record at The Swamp, holding the second-highest home
winning percentage in the nation since 1990 with a 170-32 (.842) record.
o The Gators have outscored opponents, 7,632 to 3,230 in 202 games since 1990 inside The
Swamp, putting the average outcome at 37.8 to 16.0 (21.8 points).

Richardson Rushes for Three Scores in Victory
● QB Anthony Richardson set a new career high with three rushing touchdowns in a single game,
becoming the first UF QB to rush for three-plus TDs in a contest since Emory Jones accomplished the
feat vs. Vanderbilt on Nov. 9, 2019.
o Richardson is the first FBS QB to rush for three touchdowns in a game this season.
o Richardson is one of three UF QBs since 1996 to rush for three touchdowns and pass for 150-
plus yards in the same game, joining Jesse Palmer and Tim Tebow (twice).
o Richardson is one of five UF QBs to rush for three touchdowns in a game since 1996.
▪ Jeff Driskel, Emory Jones, Jesse Palmer, Tim Tebow (twice)
o Richardson now owns six-career rushing touchdowns.
● Richardson set a new career high in single-game passing yards with 168, topping his previous best
of 167 at LSU on Oct. 16, 2021.
● Richardson scored his first touchdown of the season in the form of a two-yard TD rush on Florida’s
last drive of the first quarter.
● Richardson later erupted for a 45-yard touchdown rush.
● Of Richardson’s 13-career touchdowns (7 passing, 6 rushing), he has:
o Three 45-plus yard touchdown runs
o Seven scores of 25-plus yards
o Five scores of 40-plus yards
● That means more than half of Richardson’s career touchdowns have been scored from outside the
red zone.
● Tonight marked the first time Richardson accounted for a touchdown in a game in which he
started (second-career start).

● Richardson rushed for 100-plus yards for the third time in his career and for the second-consecutive
season opener.
o This is Richardson’s first 100-yard rushing performance since Week 2 of the 2021 season,
when he rushed for 115 yards on four carries at USF.

Gators Offense
● Florida amassed 400-plus total yards for the 18th time in its last 24 games including 31 of the last 43
o This is Florida’s fifth-straight season opener with 400-plus yards.
● Florida posted its seventh game of 200-plus rushing yards in the last 14 contests.
o Florida has eclipsed 200 rushing yards in two-straight season openers and four of the last
five after rushing for 400 yards against FAU in 2021.
▪ The Gators rushed for 196 yards in the 2020 season opener vs. Ole Miss.
o This marks Florida’s 20th 200-plus yard rushing game in its last 52 games.
● The Gators have now rushed for 100-plus yards in 12 of their last 14 games.
o Florida has rushed for 100-plus yards in 41 of its last 52 games.
● Transfer WR Ricky Pearsall caught four (of five targets) passes for 67 yards.
o Pearsall recorded his first-career catch as a Gator with a 14-yard grab in the first quarter.
o Pearsall’s second-career reception came in the form of a 23-yard catch to the UT35 yard
line to convert on 3rd and 15 on UF’s third drive of the game
o Pearsall now owns seven catches for 106 yards vs. Utah.
● Freshman RB Trevor Etienne rushed for 64 yards on five carries (12.8 YPC) while catching both of his
two targets for nine yards in his collegiate debut.
o Etienne saw three-straight touches to open Florida’s second drive of the game at 11:16.
o Etienne’s first-career carry was a 19-yard rush for a first down, followed by a carry of three
yards and subsequently his first-career reception – a two-yard catch on 2nd and 7.
● Transfer RB Montrell Johnson Jr. scored his first touchdown as a Gator in the form of a go-ahead,14-
yard touchdown rush in the fourth quarter.
o Johnson Jr. totaled 76 yards on 12 carries (6.2 YPC) while catching his lone target for 14

● The Gators converted their first two-point conversion since Oct. 16, 2021 at LSU.
o Richardson completed a pass to Ja’Quavion Fraziars to convert the two-point attempt.
● RB Thai Chiaokhiao-Bowman, TE Noah Keeter and Etienne made their collegiate debuts.
o RB Montrell Johnson Jr., Pearsall, OL O’Cyrus Torrence and OL Kamryn Waites made their
Gators debuts.

● RB Nay’Quan Wright and TE Dante Zanders made their first-career starts.
Gators Defense
● Florida sealed the 29-26 victory with an Amari Burney interception in the endzone with 0:17
remaining in the contest.
o The interception marked the third of Burney’s career.
● With one takeaway vs. Utah, Florida’s defense has now produced 79 turnovers since 2018, which
ranks third in the SEC and tied-for-27th in the FBS.
● The Gators outgained the Utes, 166-39, in the first quarter.
o Florida held Utah to seven rushing yards on three carries in the first quarter.
● DB Trey Dean and JACK Brenton Cox Jr. both set new career highs with 12 and 10 tackles,
o Dean and Cox Jr. paced UF in tackles in Week 1.
o Cox posted his seventh-straight game with a QB hurry and his sixth-straight game with a

● Shemar James, Tyreak Sapp, Kamari Wilson, Miguel Mitchell, Chris McClellan and Devin Moore all
made their collegiate debuts, with James receiving the start in his first-ever game.
o James is the first Gator true freshman to start a season opener since Marco Wilson vs.
Michigan in 2017.
o Jalen Kimber made his Gators debut.
● QB Anthony Richardson, LS Marco Ortiz, LB Shemar James, DB Devin Moore, DB Kamari Wilson and
DL Tyreak Sapp all recorded their first-career tackles.
● Despite not sacking the quarterback, Florida registered five QB hits.

Florida Special Teams
● Jeremy Crawshaw punted three times for an average of 40.0 yards, including two punts inside the
opposing 20-yard-line and a long punt of 42 yards.
● Making his collegiate debut, Adam Mihalek successfully converted the first-three extra point
attempts of his career.
Explosive Plays
● Anthony Richardson: 19-yard rush, first quarter
● Nay’Quan Wright: 14-yard rush, first quarter
● Trevor Etienne: 19-yard rush, first quarter
● Ricky Pearsall (from Anthony Richardson): 23-yard reception, first quarter
● Xzavier Henderson (from Anthony Richardson): 15-yard reception, second quarter
● Anthony Richardson: 45-yard TD rush, second quarter
● Justin Shorter (from Anthony Richardson): 15-yard reception, third quarter
● Trevor Etienne: 17-yard rush, third quarter
● Ricky Pearsall (from Anthony Richardson): 16-yard reception, third quarter
● Montrell Johnson Jr.: 11-yard rush, fourth quarter
● Montrell Johnson Jr.: 16-yard rush, fourth quarter
● Montrell Johnson Jr.: 14-yard rush, fourth quarter
● Trevor Etienne: 21-yard rush, fourth quarter
● Montrell Johnson Jr.: 10-yard rush, fourth quarter
Series Updates
● Tonight’s game represented the second all-time meeting between Florida and Utah.
o This was the first meeting since Nov. 19, 1977 (Florida 38, Utah 29).
● With tonight’s victory, Florida improved to 2-0 all-time against Utah.
o Florida has outscored Utah, 67-55, across the two games in the series.
● Billy Napier rises to 1-0 as a head coach and 1-0 all-time against Utah HC Kyle Whittingham.
o Napier was making his Gators coaching debut.
o Meanwhile, Whittingham is in his 18th season at Utah.
▪ He is the longest-tenured HC in the Pac-12 and the second-longest at the same
school in the FBS.

● Florida and Utah will square off again in the 2023 season opener on Sept. 2 in Salt Lake City, Utah.
● UF has scored in 424-consecutive games — which is an NCAA record and 56 games longer than
any other college football team in history.
o The Gators broke Michigan’s record of 365-consecutive games (1984-2014) against LSU on
Oct. 7, 2017.

● Florida has finished with fewer than 10 penalties in 43 of its last 46 games.
● Florida Game Captains: #9 Gervon Dexter, #51 Ventrell Miller, #15 Anthony Richardson, #5
Nay’Quan Wright
● Utah won the toss and deferred; Florida defended the south end zone.
● Attendance: 90,799

2022 Florida Football Postgame Quotes
Billy Napier, Florida Head Coach
Florida 29, No. 7 Utah 26
September 3, 2022

Opening statement…
“I just want to thank our fans for coming out. I think that was the tenth largest crowd in the history of
the school. We said in the very beginning that it was going to take a team effort to get this done, to
build, to create moment, positive energy on the outside. They made a difference tonight. There’s no
question they effected the game. The University of Florida is a special place and these people
coming back because of the way it impacted them. The memories they had here influenced their
lives and some of those memories are football games at the Swamp. We are very thankful for our
fans showing up. They contributed to our team.”
On Anthony Richardson…
“The one thing I can tell you about Anthony [Richardson] is that he is sitting in that locker room right
now and he is thinking about, probably, the six or eight plays that he could have done a little bit
better. That’s what I love about him. He is very critical of himself. He is an unbelievable competitor.
We all know the kid has got the physical talent. We’ve known that for a long time, but what’s
impressed me is his work ethic, his discipline, his detail. He’s a good teammate. He’s a great example.
He’s selfless. This kid has been in the spotlight for a long time. You may worry that that would affect
him. I think that’s made him a better person. I think he, being from Gainesville, I think he realizes the
platform and the opportunity of the example that he can set in the building and also in our
community. Anthony’s going to stay humble. That’s his first start in the Swamp. He’s going to continue
to improve. I’m certainly thankful we got him.”
On coaching in the Swamp…
“I think I told one of our guys during the game ‘Can you believe they pay us to do this?’ It’s a game
of football, right. I think sometimes we get caught up with the event, but what’s rewarding is when
you know what went into the event, the preparation for the event. When you go all the way back to
January, just the unique thing about the game of football. I mean countless hours. On the books, off
the books. Not just players, but staff members. Then we get to go out here in front of all the people
and put the work on show. It’s rewarding to see players. When you know the individual players, and
you’re observing them, the growth you’ve seen, and the work that you’ve seen from them. They’re
having success and they’re in the fight. There’s a lot to this game that is rewarding. I think we are
thankful for the work and trust in this group of players.”
On making a statement…
“This group’s got fight in them. I think I’ve said that publicly. That’s one thing about our team. They
compete. I’ve got to slow them down sometimes. I can remember a good friend of mine, when we
took the job, who had worked here before, he said ‘The kids at Florida are the most competitive kids
that I’ve been around.’ I would agree with them. They’ve got a little bit different edge about them.
The execution wasn’t always what we wanted out there. We got so much work to do. That’s what I’m
thinking about. We were fortunate to overcome many mistakes tonight. But the intangibles that the
team showed. They continue to respond and to rise up there at the end and make a play. We got
work to do. We won a game. We are going to enjoy it. Then, we are going to turn the page
tomorrow and get ready for SEC play.”

On Amari Burney…
“Amari Burney is one of my favorite players on the team. I think this is his sixth year. He’s really played
like 1600 snaps here and I call him an old man all the time. We are thankful for Amari. He’s got
character. He’s a great communicator. He makes other players around him better. He’s a guy who
really has risen to the occasion, in terms of that position and what we need from that position. That’s
one of the things that I was describing earlier. To see that guy make a play, I think that’s a special
moment for that locker room because they love Amari Burney. For that guy to make a play, I think
that’s pretty special.”
On Utah…
“Hat’s off to Utah. I told Coach Whittingham, ‘I know we got to play you next year, but at some point,
here when we get done competing against each other I want to come see you.’ They played great
football. They played complementary football. They are physical. They get a lot out of what they
have. I’ve got so much respect for them. We knew those tight ends were going to be a matchup
issue and they certainly were.”

2022 Florida Football Postgame Quotes

Florida Student-Athletes
Florida 29, Utah 26
September 3, 2022

15 Anthony Richardson, Sophomore, Quarterback

On the 2-point conversion…
“I did that in practice a few weeks ago. That wasn’t my first time ever doing it. Just tried to make
something happen. I guess it worked. I am glad it worked.”
On first start in the swamp…
“It was different for sure. During the first few drives, I messed up on a couple plays but got motions. I
was a little jittery, but it was definitely fun. My first start in the Swamp, second career start. I was in my
head a little bit, but the game was fun. Shoutout to Utah and shoutout to my teammates, but I was
On having the ball in his hands with the game on the line…
“It was different. Coach Napier told me I was going to score right here, a game winner. My heart
froze and I hadn’t really heard those words before, especially in a situation like that with the crowd
being so loud. I was thinking a lot. I feel like the team trust me, the coaches trust me. I made a play.”
On making a statement…
“It is definitely a big win. A lot of guys first game in the swamp. Coach Napier’s first game in the
Swamp. We just knocked off a top ranked team. There is a lot of good energy in the locker room right
now. I felt like it boost some guys confidence. A lot of people were doubting us. That’s just how the
world works. Some people love you, some people don’t. So, we fought through it and won the

9 Gervon Dexter Sr., Sophmore, Defensive Tackle

On Amari Burney’s Interception to seal the win…
“That was electric as well and obviously a great play by [Amari] Burney. He’s a senior who knows
what to do and where to be and he knows how to make big plays.”
On the younger players…
“Chris [McClellan] and some of the other young guys coming into the season[…] We knew we were
inexperienced at defensive line and he came in and prepared himself to be there. Obviously Coach
[Sean] Spencer and Coach [Patrick] Toney trust him enough to put him out there. He did his job and I
feel like he did pretty well.”
On being doubted prior to the game…
“I don’t think we felt any doubt. We prepared for this moment and the moment came and it was
time for us to execute. We’re the Florida Gators and we’re playing in the Swamp so it was nothing

On Freshman Linebacker Shemar James and Chris McClellan…
“Shemar is not experienced but I feel like he is a young mature player for his age. Just like Chris
McClellan he came in and competed for us and he earned his spot”
On the Goal Line Stand before Halftime…
“Coach [Patrick Toney] made a call and we just executed it.”
On how much confidence Anthony Richardson gives the team…
“He’s a leader. The whole team follows him. Every step he takes we are right behind him. We’ll go to
battle with him and everything he does we will follow him. He makes a huge positive impact.”
On Anthony’s ability with the ball in his hand and the two-point conversion…
“In my opinion every time Anthony has the ball I feel like something good is going to happen. He has
so many abilities. He can run the ball and throw the ball so when you play a quarterback like that
you have to watch for both and it’s hard to stop a quarterback like Anthony Richardson.”

2 Montrell Johnson Jr., Sophomore, Running Back

On his first game in the Swamp and the early fumble…
“My first career game in the swamp was…amazing I’m not gonna lie…it was amazing to hear 90,000+
thousand screaming for you. When the fumble happened, I was kinda frustrated with myself and my
teammates came to me and picked me up and made sure I was alright and just told me it’s a long
game to play. I feel I stepped up to the occasion.”
On the Swamp crowd and environment…
“Everything I heard, everything was true. I was kinda shocked when I first walked out I was just like
looking around and taking it all in and it was great to play here.”
On the offense tonight…
“I feel like we played alright. You know we got some mistakes that we gotta fix but overall, we came
out with the win. That’s all we could ask for.”
On the fumble and Coach Napier leaving him in the game…
“That shows me that he puts his trust in me and I gotta show up every day and work.”
On singing the alma mater at the end…
“It felt amazing. It felt unreal. I was just soaking up the moment. I’m still trying to learn the alma mater.
I know the fight song a little bit but I’m still trying to learn the alma mater.”

2 Amari Burney, Senior, Linebacker

On the environment
“This is my fifth year right now, so just to come back and play in this type of environment again, it was
just a great feeling. I love the crowd.”
On how he made the interception…
“We were basically in man coverage. I’m the Rat. I read the quarterback, he threw the ball […] I just
knew I had to come up with it. I played receiver, so it was really easy to catch the ball.”
On covering Brant Kuithe all game…
“Number 80 and number 86 are great tight ends. They’re probably the best tight ends we are going
to play all season. Just guarding him tonight, great coverage. Just got to get my head around for the
ball. Those boys are very outstanding athletes so I’m going to give them that for this one.”
On the defense having big moments like they had in the game…
“It is very great. I feel like at the end of the day we shouldn’t let them get down there. But when we
do let them get down there, we got to make four-point plays. That means either they kick a field goal
or we just stop them completely. That is basically what we were trying to do the whole game.”
On the interception
“Yeah, we were yelling at each other that somebody has to make a play right now and it just
happened so to be me. Coach called a very good defense at that time, and I came up with the
play. Shout out to Coach [Patrick Toney].”

2022 Florida Football Postgame Quotes
Kyle Whittingham, Utah Head Coach

Florida 29, No. 7 Utah 26
September 3, 2022

Opening statement…
“Tough loss but I am extremely proud of our football team, but there are no moral victories so I am
not trying to paint that picture. We are going to work past that. We have guys that are going to
compete until the bitter end. They showed toughness, grit and determination. You name it they
showed it, we just didn’t do enough and came up short. A big takeaway in the first quarter, when we
stripped that ball and returned it 40, 50, 60 yards and the offense punched it in and that was huge.
Conversely, we gave up a big quarterback run in the first and that was damaging. We didn’t run the
ball effectively in the first half and then we came back in the second half and did exactly what we
needed to do. Second half being stopped on the one-yard life was a tough deal and it hurt our
chances to win. Then we scored and a couple possessions later botched the two-point conversion
and that would have been big. A lot of shoulda, coulda, wouldas. Bottom line I couldn’t be prouder
of Cam Rising and Tavion Thomas and the defenders that played their hearts out. Give credit to
Florida, they are a great football team. They have some terrific athletes starting with their
quarterback. But I am proud of our guys. We have to regroup and can’t feel sorry for ourselves.”
On Cam Rising’s interception…
“It wasn’t one of his best throws of the night and I am sure he will wish he had it back but he played
really well tonight. Ran the ball effectively and threw the ball effectively. He is our guy and that is not
going to change.”
On the Anthony Richardson’s running ability…
“He ran for over 100 yards and there were some damaging runs in the first half and the touchdown
run in the second. He is going to get his. The guy is like 6’4” and 240 and runs like a 4.3 so there is no
way to keep him bottled up. He did the damage at key points and times in the game and he is a
terrific player.”
On the successful adjustments in the second half…
“We didn’t have a lot of possessions in the first half. In the second quarter we only had a few. So that
was a big thing. In the second half our offense got in a rhythm and we started to run the football
which is what we are all about. You start running the football and everything else opens up.”
On Brant Kuithe…
“What a stud, that dude is one of the best tight ends in the country if you can call him a tight end.
Between him and Dalton Kincaid there are not a lot of teams that have that good of a one-two
punch. I think Georgia has a few good tight ends. We are probably top 2 or 3 in the country with
those guys.”
On R.J. Hubert…
“He has had a few injuries and is not able to practice full time due to the lingering effects of the
injuries. He is just a tough kid and I love coaching him and having him on the team.”

80 Brant Kuithe, Senior, Tight End

On overall emotions after that ending…
“Yeah it’s hard. Just a lot of missed opportunities. We kind of shot ourselves in the foot, but give them
credit because they made stops when needed and they are good team, but we just got to bounce
back from this one and go on to next week and try to go 1-0.”
On how being one of those leaders can help Cameron Rising…
“We have been playing this game forever, people make mistakes but at the end of the day things
happen and we are all here playing the game and I had a lot of opportunities I could have made,
but I didn’t. So, at the end of the day, we don’t really look too harsh on it cause you can’t go back
and change that. The only thing you can do is improve. So, just trying to get back Monday and look
at film and see what we can do and go onto the next.”
On how much of a factor the crowd, the noise and the environment was tonight…
“It was none. We worked over a couple weeks on crowd noise, so it was not a factor at all. At least
for the offense. We didn’t care about it. We had a couple false starts, but I think that was more
technical, but you know, it had no effect on us.”

11 R.J. Hubert, Senior, Defensive Back

On what it was like trying to contain Anthony Richardson…
“There was a couple things where we would bring me down into the box to kind of; you know we’re
down a man if the quarterback runs and that’s kind of what the free safety’s job is to mirror the
quarterback and so they brought me down in the box a couple times.”
On handling the passing game well…
“It’s hard. I’m very critical on myself. Not so much my teammates, but I think there was definitely
things we could have done better. I thought we did an alright job. I mean we didn’t get gashed
deep so you know that’s always a big thing.”
On if there was any difference in the locker room at halftime…
“In the first half we had seen everything we had practiced for. The scouts did a great job this week
leading up. Well I guess most of the weeks leading up. Just giving us a really good look of what
Anthony Richardson would do. So, it wasn’t anything that took us by surprise, but there was you know
missed tackles, missed assignments that were really horrendous.”

7 Cameron Rising, Junior, Quarterback

On late-game interception
“Not very happy about it […] that’s it.”
On if the environment had an effect on the game…
“Nope we train for it. We prepared for it.”
On what changed for him from the first half to the second…
“Just settled down and started to play ball.”
On the possibility of running it on the last play…
“You don’t have timeouts, and the clock [was running]. Usually you want to pass the ball because
you just can’t get a field goal right there.”
On the possibility of running it on the last play…
“You don’t have timeouts, and the clock [was running]. Usually you want to pass the ball because
you just can’t get a field goal right there.”
On what Coach Kyle Whittingham’s message was on the final drive…
“Get the ball in field goal position and if we can score, score the ball.
On the goal line stand in the 3rd quarter…
“I think I got in, but hey, it is what it is […]I think I got in.”
On why they did not challenge call on the goal line…
“It is what it is. It happened. And that’s the way it is.”