The first year of the Dan Mullen era is officially over, with the No. 10 Gators securing a 41-15 win over No. 7 Michigan Saturday in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.
With two of the top defenses in the country facing off, Saturday’s game was not expected to be high-scoring.
However, the Gators offense did not seem to have a problem deciphering Michigan’s scheme.
Quarterback Feleipe Franks finished the game with 247 total yards, completing 13/23 pass attempts. Heading into halftime, he was also the team’s leading rusher.
Fortunately for Florida, two picks from Chauncey Gardner-Johnson allowed their running backs more time with the ball. Lamical Perine and Jordan Scarlett each had a touchdown, as well as 76 yards and 59 yards, respectively.
Florida DB Chauncey Gardner-Johnson.
Declared for NFL Draft.
Didn't skip the Peach Bowl.
Has 2 INT (including a pick six).
Florida Gators just beat the brakes off Michigan.
— Football Recruit. (@FootballRecruit) December 29, 2018
Gardner-Johnson said he was doing everything he could to get his offense the ball:
“Basically, just getting the ball back to Feleipe and Lamical, because they running hot. Wanted to get the ball back, keep running them. They kept us up the whole game. If it wasn’t for them two, the whole offense, there wouldn’t be no points on the board. We wanted to go out there and hold our ground and give us a blade of grass and we’ll defend it. That’s what we did, and give them boys back the ball.”
The Mullen Era
Head coach Dan Mullen finished his first season with the Gators with 10 wins. Mullen is just the second coach in program history to accomplish this. He has spoken consistently throughout the season of the “Gator Standard”.
Quarterback Feleipe Franks shared his thoughts on what Mullen has done for the program thus far:
“Just filled with emotion and just on how much I felt like I’ve improved from last season under Coach Mullen and Coach Johnson, and how much this team’s improved from last season as well. So it’s just a great feeling, tears of joy, that I’ve always wanted to be in the middle of confetti falling down on me, winning championships. Coach Mullen’s bringing that back to Florida.”
Florida linebacker Vosean Joseph also had high praise for Mullen, saying “This is big. All I have to say is the Gators are back, and I’m proud of Coach Mullen and the staff they have here and how they keep pushing us. They’re going to keep pushing us to be great players and great men in the world.”
- Florida’s win over Michigan Saturday was the first time the Gators have beaten the Wolverines in program history.
- Feleipe Franks was named the Offensive MVP, while Chauncey Gardner-Johnson was named the Defensive MVP.
- Saturday’s attendance of 74,006 was the fifth-largest in Peach Bowl history.