ESPN tabs Utah-Florida one of the vital anticipated faculty soccer video games

As spring observe nears its conclusion, the 2022 faculty soccer season inches nearer and nearer.

Utah opens its 2022 season with a visit to “The Swamp” to play Florida on Sep. 3 — the primary time the Utes have performed an SEC opponent since Utah beat Alabama within the 2009 Sugar Bowl. The final time the Utes performed an SEC opponent within the common season was a 1984 highway loss to Tennessee.

After successful the Pac-12 championship, Utah may very well be ranked within the Top 10 coming into the season-opener. Florida completed final season with a 6-7 report and has a brand new coach in Billy Napier, however a win towards an SEC opponent on the highway may carry important weight on Utah’s resume, particularly if the Gators have a great season.

In a roundtable, ESPN faculty soccer reporters talked about Utah vs. Florida as one in every of their most anticipated video games of the season, and Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson vs. the Utes’ protection as one of the vital anticipated “player-opponent” matchups.

“Any time the SEC and Pac-12 square off — on somebody’s campus — sign me up. There’s just something about one school and its fans trekking all the way across the country to play another school with a different culture and different group of fans,” Chris Low wrote.

“For a Utah team ranked in the top 10 of some early season polls, it’s a chance to beat an SEC foe on the road, which would bolster the Utes’ College Football Playoff résumé if they can repeat as Pac-12 champions. Moreover, former Florida linebacker Mohamoud Diabate, second on the team in tackles a year ago, transferred to Utah and will be going up against his old teammates.”

Andrea Adelson talked about how uncommon it’s to see a Power Five nonconference sport performed in Gainesville.

“This will be the first time the Gators play a Pac-12 team since 1989 — Emmitt Smith’s last year on the Gator roster! Because Florida has been so averse to scheduling home-and-home games against Power 5 opponents not named Florida State in its past, games like this one in Gainesville provide a rare treat,” Adelson wrote.

Richardson, who threw for 529 yards, six touchdowns and 5 interceptions with a 59.4% completion share on 64 makes an attempt in seven video games because the No. 2 quarterback final season earlier than present process knee surgical procedure on the finish of the season, is the presumed starter for Florida.

“What will be most intriguing to watch is the way Anthony Richardson takes control of the offense as the projected starting quarterback, against what is typically one of the best defenses in the entire country. Utah has plenty of holes to fill on that side of the ball, starting with linebacker Devin Lloyd. But there will be at least one familiar face trying to stop Richardson — linebacker Mohamoud Diabate transferred from Florida to Utah in the offseason and adds a veteran presence to the Utes’ group,” Adelson wrote.

Adam Rittenberg additionally talked about Utah vs. USC, with new coach Lincoln Riley as an “in-conference must-see.” Utah hosts USC on Oct. 15.

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