Florida running back Lamical Perine scored three touchdowns as the Gators hung on to beat Virginia 36-28 in the Orange Bowl.
Perine finished with 138 yards on 13 carries thanks to a 61-yard touchdown run on Florida’s first drive of the game. He added a receiving TD in addition to his two rushing scores and almost had a fourth touchdown in the fourth quarter. It was called a TD on the field but reversed when officials noticed on replay that Perine’s toe hit out of bounds when he was at the 1.
Virginia had a chance to make it a one-score game at 33-28 with just over five minutes left, but QB Bryce Perkins was intercepted by Florida DB Kaiir Elam at the 3.
Virginia’s offense was driving down the field before that interception. And the pick came two plays after Florida’s defense got a breather when defensive back Brad Stewart, uh, had an apparent cramp. Allegedly. Maybe.
Virginia pulled within eight with 38 seconds left but couldn’t recover the onside kick to get a chance to tie the game.
Florida QB Kyle Trask was 24-of-39 passing for 305 yards and threw a TD and an interception and had a couple other throws that could have easily been intercepted. Perkins threw for four touchdowns as Virginia could only muster 52 yards rushing.
Florida, meanwhile, doubled its season average on the ground. The Gators entered the game averaging just over 120 yards per game. And UF ended up with 244 rushing yards, the most it’s had in a single game all season.
The Gators finish the season at 11-2 and could open the season ranked in the top 10. But Florida’s offense will also have to replace Perine and WRs Van Jefferson and Tyrie Cleveland. All three players are seniors.
Virginia, meanwhile, finishes the season at 9-5 and missed out on getting just the second 10-win season in program history.
Louisville storms back to beat Mississippi State in Music City Bowl
The first year of the Scott Satterfield era at Louisville culminated with a bowl win.
After falling behind Mississippi State 14-0 on Monday in the Music City Bowl, the Cardinals stormed back with 31 unanswered points and eventually emerged with a 38-28 victory in Nashville.
Louisville got strong efforts from its three offensive stars. Sophomore quarterback Micale Cunningham threw for 279 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 81 yards in the win. With 147 yards on nine catches, Tutu Atwell was Cunningham’s favorite target. Atwell also threw a 33-yard touchdown pass to Marshon Ford on a trick play in the second quarter. On top of that, redshirt freshman running back Javian Hawkins went for 105 yards on 23 carries, going over the 1,500-yard rushing mark for the season.
Monday’s win caps off a remarkable turnaround for Louisville. The Cardinals had a miserable 2018 season, going 2-10 without a single victory in ACC play. That miserable year cost Bobby Petrino his job and the school brought in Satterfield from Appalachian State. The early returns have been fantastic.
With the win over MSU, Louisville finished the year 8-5 — a six-year win increase. The program was in a miserable state at the end of the Petrino era, but now things are looking extremely bright under Satterfield. What a difference a year makes.
The same can’t be said for Mississippi State. The Bulldogs underperformed in Joe Moorhead’s first season as head coach, going 8-5 despite being stacked with NFL talent. Things haven’t been better this year. MSU started the season 3-5 and needed to win three of its last four, including a wild Egg Bowl, just to get to a bowl game.
Now, after the loss to Louisville, MSU finishes with just its second losing record in the last 10 seasons. In two seasons under Moorhead, MSU is 14-12 overall with a 7-9 mark in SEC play. The Bulldogs are also 0-2 in bowl games.
Don’t be surprised if you hear plenty of hot seat talk surrounding Moorhead in 2020.
Cal easily beats Illinois in Redbox Bowl
It took Cal and Illinois only a quarter to top the total points in the 2018 Redbox Bowl.
Granted, there were just 13 points total in Oregon’s 7-6 win over Michigan State a year ago. And Cal and Illinois easily eclipsed that mark as the Bears beat the Illini 35-20.
Cal QB Chase Garbers accounted for all five of the Bears touchdowns. He was 22-of-31 passing for 272 yards and four touchdowns and also scored a rushing touchdown.
Cal led 21-3 at halftime and put the game away in the second half when Garbers hit Nikko Remigio for a six-yard touchdown and a 35-13 lead.
The win pushes Cal’s record to 8-5 and gives the Bears their first eight-win season since 2015 and just the second in the decade. Illinois finishes the season at 6-7.
Wild finish to the First Responder Bowl
The First Responder Bowl wasn’t a thriller until the end. Western Kentucky got a 23-20 win on a long field goal on an untimed down to end the game. Click here to read how the final minutes of the game transpired.