FINAL at Peach Bowl: No. 10 Florida 41, No. 7 Michigan 15

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Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks leaps into the end zone for a touchdown against Michigan linebacker Khaleke Hudson (7) during the first half of the Peach Bowl on Saturday in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)

Live blog of the Peach Bowl between Florida and Michigan at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on Saturday:

FIRST QUARTER

Freshman kicker Evan McPherson gives UF a 3-0 lead with a 21-yard field goal with 5:37 left in the quarter. Feleipe Franks put UF on the Michigan 3 with a 41-yard pass to receiver Van Jefferson. The score capped a 10-play, 71-yard drive for the Gators.

Michigan went up 7-3 when QB Shea Patterson completed a 9-yard TD pass to Donovan Peoples-Jones (Jake Moody kick) to complete a 9-play, 75-yards drive. Patterson’s 41-yard pass to Nico Collins to the UF 21 sparked the march.

Notes: Big-12 refs for this game. Do they know it’s OK to play defense? – Pat Dooley. … The Gators won the coin toss and defers to second half.

What went right: One of the biggest things that went right came in the game’s opening minutes, when Christian Turner’s 41-yard TD run was reviewed and the officials ruled he had stepped out of bounds on the 38. The Wolverines then were denied points when the UF defensive front stuffed UM fullback Ben Mason on a fourth-and-inches play. On offense, the Gators had some success in the passing game, the big play coming on a 41-yard strike from Feleipe Franks to Van Jefferson that set up a field goal that gave the Gators a 3-0 lead.

What went wrong: The offense stalled in the red zone after having a first-and-goal from the four and had to settle for a 21-yard field goal by Evan McPherson. Defensively, the Gators, and freshman cornerback Trey Dean in particular, got burned by some big pass plays. On Michigan’s touchdown drive, Dean got beaten on a back-shoulder throw to Nico Collins for 41 yards, then gave up a 9-yard TD pass to Donovan Peoples-Jones. The secondary didn’t get much help from the defensive line, which failed to put any pressure on Shea Patterson for most of the quarter.

Play of the quarter: The 41-yard strike from Franks to Jefferson.

Trending: Michigan’s passing game.

— Robbie Andreu

Florida       3

Michigan    7   


SECOND QUARTER

McPherson’s 26-yard field goal with 12:22 left brings UF to 7-6 and caps a 10-play, 66-yard drive. Franks and Josh Hammond teamed for a 31-yard pass play to the Michigan 44 to ignite the drive in which freshman QB Emory Jones saw action.

Michigan went up 10-6 on Jake Moody’s 48-yard field goal with 5:56 left, as the Wolverines took advantage of field position when they blocked UF punter Tommy Townsend’s boot by J’Marick Woods and recovered at the UF 30. The Gators’ defense held, bringing in Moody.

UF took the 13-10 lead on Franks’ 20-yard TD run at the 2:41 mark to cap an eight-play, 75-yard drive. Franks ran for 30 yards to the UM 38 to spark the series. Franks has 70 yards on nine carries.

Moody missed a 52-yard field goal attempt with six seconds left to leave UF in the lead at the break.

What went right: Franks was more than a willing runner in the quarter. He seemed more like a natural one. His legs led the Gators on their touchdown drive that gave UF the halftime lead, 13-10. He scrambled right out of the pocket under duress and ran 30 yards down to the UM. A few plays later, he turned a second-and-19 situation into a doable third-down with a 15-yard run. Then two plays later, he bolted up the middle on a quarterback draw, made a nice cutback and went 20 yards for a touchdown. Defensively, other than giving up a few plays late in the quarter, the Gators dominated. After Tommy Townsend’s punt was blocked, giving UM the ball on the UF 28, the defense answered the sudden change with a quick three-and-out (zero yards) that forced the Wolverines to settle for a field goal.

What went wrong: The offense failed in the red zone again in the opening minutes of the quarter. After having a first down on the UM 14, the Gators stalled and had to settle for a 26-yard field goal by McPherson.

Play of the quarter: Franks’ 20-yard touchdown run that gave the Gators a 13-10 halftime lead.

Trending: The legs of Franks.

Robbie Andreu

Florida       3    10

Michigan    7     3


THIRD QUARTER

UF junior defensive back Chauncey Gardner-Johnson intercepts Patterson and returns it for 53 yards to the Michigan 44 to stop the Wolverines’ first drive on the half and set up the Gators’ offense.

Kadarius Toney runs for 30 yards to the Michigan 5 on a fourth-and-1 play to set up Franks’ 5-yard TD pass to running back Lamical Perine with 8:06 left in the period. The score caps a six-play, 44-yard drive.

Jordan Scarlett scored from a yard out off a Franks pitch on fourth-and goal to put UF up 27-10 with 2:34 left to cap an eight-play, 63-yard drive. Franks’ 30-yard pass to Hammond to the Michigan 35 on third-and-12 was the key play.

What went right: Lots of good stuff in a dominant performance by the Gators. It all started on Michigan’s first possession, when defensive back Chauncey Gardner-Johnson killed a UM scoring threat with an interception on the UF 3-yard line. He returned it 53 yards to the UM 44.  Five plays later, Franks threw a 5-yard TD pass to running back Lamical Perine to give the Gators a 20-10 lead. On UF’s next possession, Franks completed a 30-yard pass to Josh Hammond. Two plays later, Jordan Scarlett busted loose for a 30-yard run to the UM 3. Scarlett scored on a 1-yard run two plays later.

What went wrong: Nothing, really.

Play of the quarter: The Gardner-Johnson interception and return that gave the Gators all the momentum.

Trending: The UM offense started driving in the closing minutes of the quarter.

Robbie Andreu

Florida       3    10     14

Michigan    7      3       0


FOURTH QUARTER

Moody made a 26-yard field goal to bring Michigan within 27-13 at the 12:17 mark and capped an 11-play, 67-yard drive.

Perine busted off on a 53-yard scoring run to put UF up 34-13, coming up clutch off a third-and-20 situation.

Michigan blocks its second punt of the game, this one out of the back of the UF end zone for a safety at 4:58.

Gardner-Johnson grabs a tipped pass and returns it 30 yards for a touchdown at 4:43 and a 41-15 Gators lead.

The Gators finish coach Dan Mullen’s first season 10-3, while Michigan drops to 10-3. Mullen is the first UF coach to finish his first season with 10 wins and a bowl triumph.

What went right: For the second time in the game, the Wolverines had a touchdown taken off the board following a review. Wide receiver Tarik Black appeared to catch an 8-yard TD pass early in the quarter, but replays showed he did not hold onto the ball as he was going to the ground. The Wolverines had to settle for a 26-yard FG to make it a two-score game, 27-13. On UF’s next possession, when it looked like the Wolverines were going to get a stop, running back Lamical Perine dashed 53 yards for a touchdown on a third-and-20 play. A little later in the quarter, safety Chauncey Gardner-Johnson ended any doubt about the outcome of the game, returning an interception 30 yards for a touchdown to make it a 41-15 game.

What went wrong: Townsend has his second blocked punt of the game, this one went for a safety, making it a 34-15 game.

Play of the quarter: Perine’s 53-yard TD run on third-and-20 to give the Gators a 21-point lead.

– Robbie Andreu

Florida 3 10 14 14—41
Michigan 7 3 0 5—15
First Quarter

FLA_FG McPherson 21, 5:37

MICH_Peoples-Jones 9 pass from Patterson (Moody kick), 2:03

Second Quarter

FLA_FG McPherson 26, 12:22

MICH_FG Moody 48, 5:56

FLA_Franks 20 run (McPherson kick), 2:41

Third Quarter

FLA_Perine 5 pass from Franks (McPherson kick), 8:06

FLA_Scarlett 1 run (McPherson kick), 2:34

Fourth Quarter

MICH_FG Moody 26, 12:16

FLA_Perine 53 run (McPherson kick), 9:21

MICH_Blocks punt out of end zone for a safety

FLA_Gardner-Johnson 30 interception return (McPherson kick), 4:43

FLA MICH
First downs 15 18
Rushes-yards 40-257 30-77
Passing 170 249
Comp-Att-Int 14-24-0 23-37-2
Return Yards 17 80
Punts-Avg. 2-53.0 4-40.25
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 1-0
Penalties-Yards 5-40 4-22
Time of Possession 31:19 28:41

 

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING_Florida, Perine 6-76, Franks 14-74, Scarlett 9-59, Toney 2-36, E.Jones 4-14, (Team) 1-(minus 1), Pierce 4-(minus 1). Michigan, Turner 7-32, Evans 7-20, Milton 1-11, T.Wilson 3-9, Patterson 10-5, Mason 2-0.

PASSING_Florida, Franks 13-23-0-173, V.Jefferson 1-1-0-(minus 3). Michigan, Patterson 22-36-2-236, Milton 1-1-0-13.

RECEIVING_Florida, V.Jefferson 4-64, Perine 4-22, Hammond 2-61, Lewis 1-28, Toney 1-0, Grimes 1-(minus 2), Franks 1-(minus 3). Michigan, Peoples-Jones 8-71, Collins 5-80, Gentry 2-39, G.Perry 2-16, Black 2-15, T.Wilson 2-6, Turner 1-16, Evans 1-6.

MISSED FIELD GOALS_Michigan, Moody 52.

105 COMMENTS

  1. Florida is definitely playing physical with great effort. Franks missed a wide open Toney in the end zone on 2nd down of the first and goal. Trey Dean has been in position, but isn’t turning his head to find the ball. Michigan is playing with better effort than I expected. One of the best bowl games so far this year.

    • Sparky – I want to give two shout-outs for this game. 1. Thanks to the players that stayed to play this game with their Brothers. There cannot be enough said about the character of players we have here at U of F. 2. Thank you to the 4 players for UM that decided to bail on their teammates and prepare for the NFL. If you do not think that is a big deal, look at what happened to West Virginia when their QB decided not to play. Grier decided to prepare for the NFL and he bailed on his team too. They kept it close, but Will could have helped them win that one. And look on the other side of the coin. Players were worried that they would get injured, but like CGJ – he did nothing but make his draft stock go up after deciding to play with his Brothers. That game just might bring him into the 1st round. We are all proud of our GATORS as this year was way better than expected. Now I can’t wait for the next season to begin. GO GATORS!!!

        • Exactly! CGJ bolstered his draft status as had the character to play with his Brothers. There cannot be enough said to make him any better suited then to be the face of who U of F wants to have representing our GATOR NATION! I am proud of each players individual choices to play even though they are headed to the NFL next year. These young men make me feel like they are my Nephews…lol. GO GATORS!!!

  2. Who was the best new coach hire this year? DAN MULLEN no question. What a difference great coaching does for a team. We are in the top 10 again…who would have thought that was going t happen?? Way to go such a team effort this year. All the coaches, players and staff exceeded my expectation. Even Franks made me a believer with his progression throughout the year. Way to go and HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYONE!! Now if we can just get the Basketball team to find that relentless effort for the rest of the season.

  3. Although Franks missed some passes, I thought he played a whale of a football game. I really think it’s going to be hard to unseat Franks as our quarterback next year. He has improved so much over the course this year. I really feel comfortable in our QB situation. Anyway congratulation on having a very good season. I hope all of our JR’s come for one more year.

    • I would like to thank Mr. Franks for his really good effort today. He did the best he could based on his limited mental and visual abilities.

      He ran the ball really well, connected with his primary receivers when they were open, didn’t force any passes into coverage and minimized his sack losses. His 13 completions in 23 attempts for 173 yards, 1 TD and 0 interceptions was positively… mediocre. With that performance, he’s in no danger of having a new statue built for him outside the Swamp. On the other hand, he didn’t lose the game for us.

      That said, he wouldn’t be the Feleipe Franks we’ve come to “know and love” if he hadn’t missed 2 wide open receivers and a sure TD on a poorly thrown screen pass to Scarlett. His passing was just good enough to allow the Gators’ spectacular (257 yards) running game to destroy Michigan’s D the way they did to McElwhiner’s Gator teams last 2 times out.

      Now, it’s Emory Jones time!

      Go Gators!!!

        • I’m a proud Gator alum who has watched A LOT of college football over the past 30 years. In that time, I’ve seen some outstanding QBs like Wuerffel, Grossman and Tebow, some very good QBs like Matthews, Palmer and Leak and some very mediocre QBs, like Dean, Johnson and Driskel. Mr. Franks has much more in common with the last 3 than the first 6.

          On a Mullen coached team, Mr. Franks is good enough for 10 wins and a trip to a NY-6 bowl. However, anyone who believes the Gators will beat the likes of Georgia and Alabama and contend for a NC with him at the helm, just doesn’t understand the nature of the QB position.

          I repeat, it’s Emory Jones time!

          Go Gators!!!

    • You’re right. Felipe played well and keeps getting better. He threw it away when you should have, made some huge throws with confidence and made really good decisions. Well deserved offensive MVP today. The really good news is he still has upside and the coach to realize that potential.

      • I don’t think people even realize he accounted for 31 TDs this season. The last time that happened a guy by the name of Tebow was behind center. Of course he had some ups and downs, it was his first season learning and running a new offense. 31 TDs in a new offense, is pretty amazing. He’s going to know this offense like the back of his hand by next season. He’s obviously gotten better as the season progressed, and I can only imagine that progression will continue. Barring an offseason injury, I think there’s no question he’s going to be the starter against Miami.

  4. Robby will say, “Hey, you gators should thank me, I picked them to lose and once again they won”. No Robby, you’re simply better suited for Walmart welcomer. But your buddy picked UF to lose as well, wonder what his record is for picking against UF?

  5. The Gators I know are back, and its not just winning games, its playing with fun, playing loose, not panicking, getting mean, playing selflessly, and being class acts. I want to thank Jordan Scarlett for being one of the most humble, selfless and amazing backs I’ve ever seen; he’s been a blessing to watch. I want to thank Franks for being a man of steel – taking all of the crap that UF fans and posers can throw at him- getting boo’d by his fans – and coming back meaner, running people over, and managing the game today like a BOSS!! I also want to thank Dan Mullen and his staff for being part of the Gator family, and I hope you’ll stay around like they used to, like Bobby B or Bear B.

    I want to thank the rest of the 2018 Florida Gator’s for an amazing season of FUN FOOTBALL and for positioning this team to compete for a NC next year!!!

    I don’t watch any TV, and I don’t watch professional sports and have not since Dan Marino played QB in Miami. But I watch you Gators, and I am proud of you!

    • That’s a bold prediction, Hogtown — kudos for taking it. We’ll see; in any event, I’m hoping to see what the latest Jones boy brings to the table before making any predictions. If FF makes the next step, and if he actually beats out the Jones already on the team after his redshirt season, maybe you’re on to something there.

      • Great game by FF today. At times it looks like he’s turned the corner and finally “gets it”. That Feleipe will be hard to beat out. Then, he doesn’t see an open receiver or takes a sack with an open back as an outlet right in front of him, and it looks like he’s still the same old Feleipe. Regarding EJ, I wonder if he has the body to take the pounding of running the ball 10-15 times a game against SEC defenses. JJ looks bigger and may be the future if CDM plans to have the QB run that much on a regular basis. If so, it makes me wonder whether big time RB recruits will come to a program where the QB will get more carries than them (FF 14 carries today vs. 15 for Scarlett and Perine combined).

        • That’s just the nature of the spread option offense Joe. It’s at its most effective when the QB makes the proper read and keeps the ball himself when the D commits to tackling the RB. That’s approximately half the time that running plays are called.

          That reality is why Mullen and Meyer have always had difficulty selling elite RB recruits on playing for the Gators. Sanders just signed with Alabama instead of UF and I’m pretty sure that was one of his main reasons for doing it.

          Go Gators!!!

          • Yeah, I know you’re right about the spread option, and it makes sense that Sanders would take that into consideration. My preference is more oriented to a pro-style, but after so many years of offensive ineptitude, I’m happy to see the Gators gaining yards and scoring points regardless of the scheme. I would like to see a more effective vertical passing game, but I’m sure Mullen would, too, and he’s working on it. He got more out of Franks than I thought possible, and if he can continue to develop Feleipe, that’s great. If not, hopefully EJ or JJ will be the QB to take us back to NC contention.

        • Spread option is the Meyer/Mullen way. We may as well get used to it.

          EJ will be an upgrade over Franks in that system, both running and passing. He’s faster and more fluid as a runner. He also doesn’t miss open receivers, short or long, as Franks STILL does. The vertical passing game will come along nicely when EJ takes over.

          JJ will most likely red shirt next season, setting up a one-year spread between the two Joneses. To do that, Trask may need to be the backup. Don’t know how Franks will handle losing the starting job. Mullen will pick up another elite dual threat QB in the 2020 recruiting class.

          It’s all good.

          • I know you’re right, but like a true “spoiled Gator fan”, I want it my way, and I want it now! To be fair, I recall thinking Spurrier was too “pass happy” early in his tenure. We all know how that turned out, so what do I know? Go Gators!!

  6. Great win for the players, coaches, fans, and the program as a whole. To win 10 games and finally beat Michigan in the process is sweeter than a Georgia peach. Another victory over a top 10 team is impressive for these Gators… definitely a statement. Great to see CGJ have a great overall game and go out in a blaze of glory with the pick-6.

  7. We did some things that reminded me of our winning years. Won turnover battle, defense scored, time of possession, yardage, oh and shoes more points. While there wasn’t one run away best performance everyone played a solid game. I thought Michigan got away with a hit that could have been targeting in the first qtr. FF has improved, CGJ had a great day.