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  • Writer's pictureFagothethird Franklin

Gators had no answer for Utah in season opener loss 24-11

The rebuilding stage for the Florida Gators started in the offseason, as they went looking for an experience quarterback that could lead them into a successful season. They found that guy in Graham Mertz, who transferred from Wisconsin to "Gator Nation" Leading up to the season opener everyone has raved about the guy, and you could see that excitement and poise in his start against Utah.

Mertz had some success early on, but after Utah built up a sizeable lead, you could see the confidence start to decrease. You could blame Mertz for certain balls that were overthrown, but mistakes and opportunities snagged the Gators by the teeth and wouldn't let go in the first half. From a blown field goal to blown coverages, which lead Utah to another score, Florida looked all out of sorts. They did not even convert on any third down conversions and walked into the half down 17-3 with a total of 133 yards.

Coming out of the locker room, the Gators wanted Mertz to just breathe and play 'relaxed' football. Coach Billy Napier liked the way that the defense responded when Utah had a short field and forced either some bad throws or a longer field goal attempt. He wanted the defense to put more pressure on the quarterback and take it one play at a time.

Mertz apparently didn't listen to his coach and tried to fit a ball in double coverage, which was picked off, at the start of the half. Three plays later, Utah hammered it into the endzone, which was the potential nail in the coffin. For the rest of the half, Florida really didn't have any answer with stopping Utah and unfortunately suffered their first loss of the season. Mertz finished 31/44 for 333 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception.


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