The 51st Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl featured two of college football’s blue-bloods; however the Florida Gators dominated the Michigan Wolverines 41-15 in front of 74,006 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson put the Wolverines in the first quarter, he connected with wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones for a nine yard touchdown reception to lead 7-3 with 2:03 remaining in the opening stanza. However, it would be the only touchdown the Maize and Blue would score in the afternoon.

After Evan McPherson’s 26 yard field goal to cut Michigan’s lead to one, the Gators defense forced the Wolverines to settle for a field goal, making the score 10-6 with 5:56 remaining in the second quarter.

Florida needed some points before going into halftime. The fate of the Gators offense rested upon Felipe Franks and the redshirt sophomore delivered. Florida went eight plays, 75 yard drive in three minutes and 15 seconds, culminating with Franks scoring a 20 yard rushing touchdown. The score was 13-10 heading into halftime.

On Florida’s second offensive possession, It was second and goal at Michigan’s five yard line. Franks surveyed the field and found his favorite target, running back Lamical Perine, for a five yard touchdown reception. The Gators led 20-10 with 8:06 remaining in the third quarter. The score left Michigan fans silent and the players seeking answers.

Florida’s defense rose to the occasion in the second half. allowing only 77 total rushing yards, holding Michigan’s offense to 40 percent on third downs, and sacking Patterson five times.

“We were moving the ball at times and close to getting into a rhythm, but we didn’t get the run game going effectively enough,” said Michigan Head Coach Jim Harbaugh. “Or the passing game, the protection, and the rhythm in that area to make it — we got outplayed, really, on that side of the ball. Florida did a nice job defensively.”

Franks and the Gators smelled blood, completing an eight play, 63 yard drive. This time running back Jordan Scarlett rushed in from one yard to increase the lead to 17, putting the game out of hand for Patterson and the Michigan faithful.

The third quarter proved to be too much for the Wolverines to overcome. A 26 yard field goal by Wolverines kicker Jake Moody was successful and the score was 27-13 with 12:16 remaining in the game.

Lamical Perine put any possibility of a Michigan comeback to sleep as he iced the game with a 53 yard rushing touchdown with 9:21 left in the game, which forced the Michigan fans to leave early.

Defensive back Chauncey Gardner-Johnson placed the cherry on top of a superior Florida performance, as he returned a Patterson interception for a touchdown.

“The biggest thing they helped me do, is gain my confidence back. It just made football fun for me again,” said Offensive MVP Felipe Franks when asked about his play and how coach Dan Mullen brought that out of him.”

“I think he’s really grown, we trusted he would make good decisions and get the win for us,” said coach Dan Mullen.

“We wanted the shots [big plays]. Basically, I wanted to get the ball back to Felipe [Franks] and Lamical [Perine] because they were running hot,” said defensive MVP Chauncey Gardner-Johnson.

Florida finishes the season at 10-3 and gets their first win against Michigan, their first win in five tries.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.