Orange Bowl-Florida Gators to Meet Virginia Cavaliers
The Florida Gators (10-2) will meet #24 Virginia Cavaliers (9-4) in the Orange Bowl. Kickoff is set for 7:00 pm on Monday, December 30th at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami. The Cavaliers are coming off a 62-17 loss to Clemson in the ACC championship game.
The Gators, coached by Dan Mullen, are led on the field by QB Kyle Trask. Trask took over for an injured Felipe Franks in the Kentucky game and has thrown for 2636 yards and 24 touchdowns against only 6 interceptions. Trask’s main receiving targets are TE Kyle Pitts (610 yards, 5 TDs), WR Van Jefferson (528 yards, 6 TDs), and WR Freddie Swain (496 yards, 7 TDs). Trask has thrown 15 touchdowns in the last five games.
RB Lamical Perrine leads the rushing attack with 538 yards and only 4 touchdowns. But, the Gators have failed to rush for 100 yards in their last two games and have rushed for 100 yards in only five games this season.
Gator Defense Has Bite
The Florida defense is the real strength of this team, led by LB Jonathan Greenard. Greenard has recorded 14.5 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks on the season.
The Gators are ranked in the Top 10 in total defense (299 yards/game) and scoring defense (14 points/game).
As a team over the last three games, this unit has racked up 17 sacks, three interceptions, 33 tackles for loss, and five turnovers. For the season, the Gators have 46 sacks, 97 tackles for loss, 15 interceptions, and are +5 in turnover margin
But in their only two losses against #1 LSU and #5 Georgia, Florida had zero interceptions and zero sacks. And against the Tigers, they could only muster one tackle for loss.
As Perkins Goes, So Go The Cavaliers
Virginia, coached by Bronco Mendenhall, is led by QB Bryce Perkins. Perkins has passed for 3215 yards and 18 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He has also rushed for 745 yards and 11 touchdowns. In the loss to Clemson in the ACC title game, Perkins passed for 266 yards and two touchdowns but threw two interceptions.
Perkins has also rushed for 100 yards in three games this season.
Perkins targets three receivers on a regular basis: WR Hasise Dubois (979 yards, 4 TDs), WR Terrell Jana (760 yards, 2 TDs), WR Joe Reed (627 yards, 6 TDs). Dubois is coming off a 10 catch, 130-yard effort against Clemson.
The Cavalier defense is solid in its own right. They are ranked #8 in sacks at 3 per game, recording 45 on the season. And they are ranked 19th in the nation in tackles for loss, averaging 7 per game and recording 94 on the season.
The Gators and Cavaliers will meet in the Orange Bowl. But they have only played each other once in school history. They met in 1959, with Florida winning 55-10.
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