Utah quarterback Nate Johnson didn’t start, but he was promised playing time. And Johnson delivered early Thursday night against the Florida Gators, but not without a bit of help from UF.
Johnson raced for a 27-yard touchdown to extend Utah’s lead to 14-3 in the second quarter. The touchdown capped a drive that had initially stalled near midfield but was extended on a penalty from the Gators.
Florida stopped Johnson on a third-and-12 play from the Utah 42. The Utes punted from the Florida 49 but got the ball back because of an equipment penalty called on the Gators. Two players were on the field wearing the No. 3 jersey for Florida.
So the Utes got the football back.
Utah starter Bryson Barnes hit for a 15-yard pass to the left. Then Johnson came back into the game and, on second-and-8, broke free.
Nate Johnson just cooked the Florida defense for a touchdown 🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/k6iesSVRKG
— Alex 👋 (@Dubs408) September 1, 2023
The Gators had a few miscues on their previous possession before Utah’s score as well.
Graham Mertz drove the Gators down to the Utah 15 before a delay of game penalty on third down and then a false start on fourth-and-1 stalled things. The Gators then missed a 31-yard field goal that would have cut the Utah lead to just a single point.
Not the prettiest half for Florida.