Dooley at the Half: Gators take lead

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Michigan tight end Sean McKeon (84) misses a catch against Florida safety Donovan Stiner (13) during the first half of the Peach Bowl NCAA college football game, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2018, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)

Sun sports columnist Pat Dooley analyzes the first half of the Florida-Michigan game:

* The Gators had some of the same problems inside the red zone that they did in their last regular-season game at FSU. In that game, they scored two touchdowns on six trips inside the 20. On their first two red-zone drives against Michigan, they again settled for field goals and the calls were less than creative. Finally, Feleipe Franks broke through on a 20-yard draw for the Gators’ only touchdown of the first half.

* Trey Dean had a nice year for a freshman cornerback but the Wolverines went right at him on back-shoulder throws. One was a 41-yard completion to Nico Collins and, four plays later, a nine-yard touchdown to Donovan Peoples-Jones. Dean has to get his head around on those kinds of plays.

* What is it about Atlanta? Florida hadn’t had a punt blocked all year before Tommy Townsend had one stuffed in the second quarter. It led to a Michigan field goal and Townsend took way too much time with a shuffle step to his right before he kicked it. That means Florida has had a punt blocked in each of its last three games in Atlanta (2015 and 2016 SEC Championship Games).

* It was a productive first half on the ground for the Gators with 128 rushing yards and a couple of plays that almost broke for a big gain. Adjustments in the second half are going to be interesting. There’s also this — the Gators didn’t run any trick plays in the half so maybe there will be one in the second.

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