Dooley Grades The Gators: Good finish to season

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Virginia safety Chris Moore (7) tackles Florida tight end Kyle Pitts (84) during the first half Monday of the Orange Bowl in Miami Gardens. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Offense A

First half: Florida had great balance with 153 yards rushing and 189 passing. The only glitch was the interception thrown by Kyle Trask when he was blitzed by Virginia. Lamical Perine had a half to remember with 138 total yards and three touchdowns.

Second half: The third quarter was an opportunity to put the game away, but the Gators came out flat to start the half. In the fourth quarter, they answered every score Virginia threw at them. 

For the game: The 549 yards tells the story in a game where Florida needed to be strong offensively. Even though Trask wasn’t sharp at times, he still threw for 305 yards. Perine, the MVP, finished the game with 181 total yards.

Defense C-

First half: Missing CJ Henderson forced Florida to play two linebackers most of the half because of depth issues. The Gators struggled at times, but Virginia made some ridiculous catches. UF held UVA to 27 rushing yards.

Second half: Florida actually forced three punts in the third quarter and Kaiir Elam made the defensive play of the game with his pick at the 3-yard line. But the defense struggled in the fourth quarter to stop Bryce Perkins.

For the game: The Gators played a lot of soft defense and that allowed Perkins to excel at times in the game. Give Virginia credit for making a handful of really tough catches, but Florida allowed way too many yards to the passing game.

Special teams C

First half: Tommy Townsend didn’t get to try a punt and Evan McPherson only had short kicks. But Florida did a great job covering the one kickoff Virginia tried to return, stopping Joe Reed at the 12.  

Second half: Townsend got a chance to punt and the second punt was a near shank that gave the Cavs excellent field position. Both of McPherson’s field goals — from 49 and 42 yards — were big for UF.

For the game: McPherson continued to show that he is one of the best kickers in the country. Townsend did not have a good finale, but the rest of the special teams were solid as usual. 

Overall B

You knew that the Cavaliers would come into the game with a chip on their shoulders and they played really hard. Florida had to fight for a win even though most fans thought it would be a blowout. The point is that in another battle on a big stage, the Gators won another game and got to 11 wins.

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