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Utah vs. Florida Prediction | 2022 College Football Predictions | SEC Week 1

 Staff   in Football

Southeastern 14 provides an in-depth preview of the week 1 matchup between traditional SEC power the Florida Gators and current CFP hopeful the Utah Utes.

Utah Utes vs. Florida Gators
September 3, 2022. Kickoff @ 7:00 pm EST on ESPN.

Billy Napier opens up his tenure as Florida's head coach with a very challenging game against a Utah team that put the country on notice with an impressive Rose Bowl appearance vs. Ohio State at end of last season.

Both teams are excited about what they have at the quarterback, but for different reasons.

Cam Rising is Utah's undisputed leader after taking over as the starter in the 4th game of the season for the Utes a season ago. Rising is getting first-round draft hype after his impressive 2021 season. Rising finished the year just shy of 2500 yards and had a 4:1 touchdown to interception ratio with 20 TDs and 5 INTs on the season.
Anthony Richardson gives this Gators team a dynamic weapon at QB. Richardson is a very gifted runner and has an extremely strong arm. Media outlets are projecting Richardson to go as high as No. 9 overall in the 2023 NFL Draft, obviously expecting big things out of Richardson in 2022. Richardson must prove that he can stay healthy in order to live up to those expectations. Also, Richardson threw 6 touchdowns and 5 interceptions a season ago while splitting time. Can Richardson improve his accuracy and his rapport with Justin Shorter, Xavier Henderson, Trent Whittemore, and Ricky Pearsall. The passing game will be aided by TEs Keon Zipperer and Dante Zanders. Finally, Florida's rushing attack with be spearheaded by Montrell Johnson and supplemented by Nay'Quan Wright.

Utah's defense lost its top four tacklers from a season ago but has plenty of leadership with Junior Tafuna & Devin Kaufusi up front. Also, Karene Reid and Mohamoud Diabate (a transfer from Florida) will set the pace at linebacker. Utah also returns all-conference defensive backs, Clark Phillips & Cole Bishop.

Florida's defense was awful a season ago. However, some key members return in Gervon Dexter, Brenton Cox, and Ventrell Miller in the front 7. Trey Dean and Jason Marshall provided leadership and playmaking ability on the back end.