Photo: Anthony Richardson; Credit: Alex Shepherd, AllGators.com
Anthony Richardson made something happen every time he was involved in a play against the USF Bulls on Saturday. Naturally, there was plenty of suspense to go around when Richardson exited the game early.
At the end of an 80-yard touchdown scamper, his third score of the day after completing 3-of-3 passes for 152 yards and two touchdowns, Richardson went to the ground in pain, holding his leg, before he walked off the field slowly with trainers at his side. He would not return to action.
Head coach Dan Mullen would confirm that Richardson's right hamstring got tight on the run.
"Yeah, hamstring tightened up on him," Mullen said. "Yeah, he does special things; doesn't always do the right thing but he does special things. So, you know, we got to keep coaching him to be efficient and make sure we're making all the right reads."
Florida Gators vs. USF Bulls
The "special things" Richardson did on Saturday, much like he did a week ago against Florida Atlantic, have created a quarterback controversy in Gainesville - even if Mullen won't admit it. Richardson averaged 50.7 yards per passing attempt against USF and ran the ball at 28.8 yards per carry.
Richardson's 75-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter is the longest passing play UF has recorded since Mullen took over as head coach. Richardson became the first FBS quarterback in the past 25 years to post 100+ rushing yards, 150+ passing yards and a completion percentage of 100% in a game against the Bulls, as well.
Meanwhile, Florida's starter Emory Jones threw two momentum-killing interceptions after getting off to a strong start in the first half, tallying two touchdowns of his own.
Mullen said that although Richardson brought numerous explosive plays to life, he missed some reads along the way as well. Although Mullen would know more than anyone, it's hard to identify exactly which reads Richardson missed as his shortest rush went for eight yards and he did not throw an incomplete pass.
Whether Richardson is playing perfect football or not, his contributions to Florida's offense to start the 2021 season seem impossible to replace or replicate. The Gators will need his talent on the field against the No. 1-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide this upcoming Saturday in order to put up a fight, but Richardson's status will remain unclear until the game inches closer.
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