University of Florida head football coach Billy Napier loved what he saw out of quarterback Anthony Richardson on Saturday in the Gators' 29-26 upset win over the seventh-ranked Utah Utes.
According to ESPN's Andrea Adelson, Napier said the following about Richardson's spectacular performance:
"My wife could call plays with that guy at quarterback. His legs, they're a difference maker. You saw it tonight. The fourth-down play, in the last drive. The 2-point conversion, I mean, come on. He did that exact same thing in practice one day. I'm talking about the exact scenario. I think we're figuring out here that this guy's a pretty special player."
After rushing for two- and 45-yard touchdowns in the first half, Richardson helped give the Gators a three-point lead early in the fourth quarter after a 14-yard touchdown run by Montrell Johnson Jr.
Richardson made several defenders miss on a two-point conversion attempt before finding Ja'Quavion Fraziars in the end zone.
Utah went back on top 26-22 with 6:26 remaining in the game, but Richardson delivered the knockout blow with 1:25 left when he punched the ball in from one yard out.
All told, Richardson completed 17 of his 24 passing attempts for 168 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions, while rushing for 106 yards and three scores on 11 carries.
In addition to affirmation from his new coach, several college football analysts and experts heaped praise on Richardson after watching him lead the Gators to one of their biggest wins in the past few years:
Richardson played somewhat sparingly as a redshirt freshman last season, attempting just 64 passes and throwing for 529 yards, six touchdowns and five interceptions, but he showed off his explosiveness as a runner with 401 yards and three touchdowns on only 51 carries.
On Saturday, Richardson led Florida to a win over a team with College Football Playoff aspirations and likely launched the Gators well into the Associated Press Top 25.
Richardson will have another test on his hands next Saturday when Florida hosts a No. 20 Kentucky team that beat Miami (Ohio) 37-13 this week on the strength of 303 yards and three touchdowns from quarterback and potential 2023 first-round NFL draft pick Will Levis.
If Richardson can turn in a repeat performance against the Wildcats, the Gators will likely be firmly established as defending national champion Georgia's biggest competition in the SEC East.