Las Vegas
Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson (15) throws a pass during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Texas A&M, Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022, in College Station, Texas. (Logan Hannigan-Downs/College Station Eagle via AP)

Gators Going Bowling in Las Vegas

The Gators are heading to Las Vegas and will be taking on the No. 14 Oregon State Beavers in the SRS Distribution Las Vegas Bowl on Dec. 17. This is the first time the Gators are competing in the Las Vegas Bowl and this is the third time the Beavers will be playing in the bowl.

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Up and Down Year

Despite slipping up in recent contests, Florida became bowl-eligible on Nov. 5 after a 38-7 win over the South Carolina Gamecocks. In hindsight, this is a bit of a headscratcher. After all, South Carolina knocked off then No. 5 Tennessee just a week later. Although the blowout win over an SEC opponent signaled the program was moving in a positive direction, the Gators closed the season out by falling to Vanderbilt and Florida State.

Since welcoming first-year head coach Billy Napier, the team has been in the midst of a rebuilding process. Quarterback Anthony Richardson is in his first full year as a starter, after splitting time with Emory Jones last season. Richardson has flashed enough potential to cement himself as one of college football’s most dynamic players, but he has performed inconsistently. After leading the Gators to a win against No. 7 Utah to open the season, Richardson seemed destined to lead the Gators to success. While he has been brilliant at times, the offense has not succeeded on a weekly basis.

The Gainesville native has completed 53% of his passes, tossing 17 touchdowns and nine interceptions for a total of 2,549 yards.

Justin Shorter, the team’s second-leading receiver, will not be participating in the bowl game, as he declared for the upcoming NFL draft. Offensive lineman O’Cyrus Torrence has also declared for the draft, but it is unclear if he will be competing in the bowl game.

Tough Competition

Oregon State will be heading into this matchup with a head of steam, especially after knocking off in-state rival Oregon 38-34. The Beavers have only had two 10-win seasons but have the chance to capture one more if they beat the Gators.

Oregon State is led by a stout offensive line. Three members of the team’s front-five were selected to All-Pac 12 teams this year. This offensive line has cleared the way for true freshman running back Damien Martinez, who earned Third-Team All-Pac 12 honors. Martinez has 970 rushing yards this season and has been named the Pac 12 Freshman of the Week three times.

The game will take place at 4:30 PM at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas on Dec. 17.

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About Tyler Carmona

Tyler Carmona is a junior journalism major at the University of Florida. Originally from Miami, Tyler played football as a wide receiver at the University of St. Francis before transferring to UF.

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