Rapid Reaction: Fun continues as Florida tops Virginia in Orange Bowl to cap 11-win season
Dan Mullen promised he’d make football fun again.
It’s hard to imagine anybody in Gators gear not enjoying themselves Monday night in Miami.
The Gators won their 2nd consecutive NY6 bowl game, this time beating Virginia 36-28 in the Orange Bowl.
The Gators put a bow on an 11-win season, matching the 2012 edition for the most this decade.
After finishing No. 7 in the country last season, the Gators are guaranteed to finish in the top 10 again. The Gators haven’t had consecutive top 10 seasons since Tim Tebow left.
Everything about the program is trending up, including the fact starting quarterback Kyle Trask already has said he’ll be back in 2020.
They won’t have Lamical Perine, but they had him one last time Monday. He put on a show, too. He scored 3 TDs in the opening half as Florida took control.
On Florida’s 3rd play, Perine took a handoff, found a crease and raced 61 yards and a touchdown.
After Virginia tied it with an equally explosive play — a 34-yard TD throw immediately after intercepting Trask — the Gators reclaimed the lead when Trask hit Perine for a 16-yard strike.
He capped the 1st-half barrage with a 10-yard TD run to make it 24-14.
Florida’s defense did its part to maintain the cushion.
Virginia, which won the ACC Coastal Division largely on the strength of its offense, struggled to generate much of it Monday until the 4th quarter.
Bryce Perkins, one of the more underrated QBs in the country, threw 2 TD passes in the opening half but couldn’t get anything going with his legs. That spelled trouble for the Cavs, considering Perkins is their leading rusher.
Virginia pulled with 27-21 early in the 4th quarter on Perkins’ 3rd TD pass.
Florida answered with a signature drive, capped by Trask’s QB sneak. Florida didn’t convert the 2-point try, but it led 33-21 with 9:33 left.
Virginia quickly drove back into scoring position, but freshman Kaiir Elam made a leaping interception to end the bid at Florida’s 3.
Trask promptly hit Van Jefferson for a 53-yard gain. Florida didn’t need any more points. It merely needed to enjoy the final minutes. It got both when Evan McPherson drilled a 42-yard field goal, Florida’s final points of the game, season and decade.