Welcome to the SEC, Billy Napier: Crowd and competition change in Week 2 against Kentucky
Florida head coach Billy Napier got his first taste of The Swamp in last week's season-opening win over then-No. 8 Utah.
On Saturday, Napier crossed off another first from his list: Coaching in his first SEC matchup as the No. 20 Kentucky Wildcats came to town.
And just as Ben Hill Griffin Stadium has a different feel than the University of Louisiana-Lafayette's Cajun Field, the SEC has a different feel than the Sun Belt Conference.
Napier learned that first hand as the Wildcats nipped the No. 19 Gators 26-16, ripping the Band-aid off another Napier first — his first loss.
5 takeaways:From No. 19 Florida Gators loss to No. 20 Kentucky at The Swamp
Game recap:Florida Gators lose to Kentucky Wildcats in SEC opener
David Whitley:Losing to Kentucky shows Florida Gators they have a long way to go
Conference opener played in front of another hearty crowd
The University of Florida's athletic association announced Wednesday that Florida's SEC opener against the Wildcats was a sellout — making for the second straight sold-out contest of the Napier era.
While all tickets might've been sold, The Swamp was nowhere near the caliber it was against the Utes the week prior, when Ben Hill Griffin Stadium housed 90,977 fans — the most of any season opener in program history.
Saturday's conference contest was played in front of 89,993 fans, who were first riled up by Gators' track and field head coach Mike Holloway, who served as the Week 2 honorary Mr. Two Bits.
Did Anthony Richardson get banged up early?
After seeing his stock skyrocket after a stellar performance against Utah in Week 1, Florida sophomore quarterback Anthony Richardson left a lot to be desired against the Wildcats. Richardson finished the night 14-for-35 for 143 passing yards and a pair of interceptions — including a Pick 6.
Though our sample size is small, many picked up on the fact that Richardson wasn't playing like himself. And it didn't take long for folks on social media to dig into what could've been the reason.
In his first series, Richardson's ankles were tied up by Kentucky's Jalen Geiger, which appeared to have possibly injured, or at least affected, the Gators' quarterback.
Trevor Etienne shines in SEC debut
The last name "Etienne" is a household name in the ACC. After Saturday, the same might ring true in the SEC.
Trevor Etienne, Florida's true freshman running back, broke out in his conference opener, recording 46 yards on nine carries and his first collegiate touchdown rush, which came from 11 yards out in the second quarter.
Trevor terrific:Florida freshman Trevor Etienne shines in first half against Kentucky
Immediately following his touchdown rush, Etienne found himself on the receiving end of a successful two-point conversion — the Gators' second in two games. ESPN showed Etienne's family and friends celebrated in the stands.
Etienne, though lacking college football experience, likely comes with some intangibles that stem from being the younger brother of former Clemson running back and current Jacksonville Jaguar, Travis Etienne.