For Utah football, their weekend in Florida went from bad to worse. Following a heartbreaking loss to Florida thanks to linebacker Amari Burney’s game-ending interception, the team had boarded the plane and was ready to head back to Salt Lake City when it became apparent that there was a serious mechanical issue that would prevent the team’s chartered jet from leaving Gainesville.
The plane was scheduled to depart at midnight, but instead, the team and staff waited on the tarmac for over four hours before deplaning. A tweet from ESPN commentator Dan Orlovsky shows the team and staff stranded at the airport at 5:25 the morning.
The flight had been rescheduled for 4:10 am EST, but apparently still had mechanical issues, delaying the team in “the swamp” indefinitely until further accommodations could be made.
The University of Florida reportedly helped Utes players and staff get rooms at their partner hotels while they waited for a flight home.
Utah athletic director Mark Harlan thanked Florida’s athletic department in a tweet, stating: “Been a long night and day for the team but we are so greatful to [the Florida Gators] and AD [Scott Stricklin] & his administrative team for providing critical assistance as we have managed this, including providing a hotel partner, busses & meals. We expect to charter home later today.”
The team reportedly left at about 5:10 pm EST, just shy of 24 hours after the prior day’s kickoff.
The University of Utah Utes, who started the season ranked No. 7, suffered a 29-26 loss to the unranked Gators following quarterback Cam Rising’s interception toss in the end zone.