Florida earns plenty of Week 1 praise from Athlon Sports

·2 min read

Florida’s upset win over Utah to start the Billy Napier era was one of the more talked about stories over week one of the college football season, so it’s not too surprising to see the Gators pop up twice on Athlon Sports‘ weekly awards list.

Quarterback Anthony Richardson earned offensive player of the week honors. Despite throwing for just 168 yards in the win, Richardson added another 106 yards on the ground and three touchdowns. He also dazzled with a few big plays, including the pump-fake two-point conversion that set social media on fire.

“The arrival of new Florida coach Billy Napier was expected to help Richardson take the next step in his development. So far, so good. Richardson’s play was instrumental in Florida’s upset over Utah.”

Athlon Sports also named Florida its team of the week. Richardson was a big factor in Florida taking home the weekly honor, but the defense gets a mention for some clutch work in the second half.

“The Billy Napier era got off to a strong start on Saturday night with a 29-26 victory over Utah… Napier’s play-calling helped the Gators average 7.2 yards per play behind a stellar night from quarterback Anthony Richardson… Florida’s defense allowed 6.3 yards per play to the Utes but came up with two key stops.

“The Gators stopped Utah’s first drive after halftime on downs at the one-yard line and intercepted quarterback Cameron Rising in the end zone with less than one minute remaining to seal the victory.”

Coming into the season, the national expectations for the Gators were fairly low. Beating Utah changed that narrative and makes Florida an easy pick for week one. But now the bar has been raised, and Napier’s group needs to live up to the standard by beating Kentucky. A blowout victory might earn UF team of the week honors once against, but it won’t be as easy to impress this time around.

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