This year’s Orange Bowl matches the SEC’s Florida Gators against the ACC’s Virginia Cavaliers. The game will kickoff at 8 pm on December 30. We’ll take a look at the teams here.
Florida Gators: 10-2 (6-2)
Dan Mullen has the Gators playing for their highest win total since 2012. While the 2019 season isn’t the playoff year the Gators were hoping for, it was still a wildly successful year. Despite starting quarterback Feleipe Franks going down with injury early in the season the Gators have still dominated.
Florida jumped to a 6-0 start with an impressive win over No.7 Auburn to start the season. After a tough loss at LSU the Gators still had the playoffs within their grasps. A close loss to Georgia squashed those hopes and leaves them at 10-2.
Kyle Trask has had an outstanding season filling in for Franks. The junior has thrown for 2,636 yards with 24 touchdowns to just six interceptions. The Gators thrive on their passing game to take care of the offensive production as their lackluster running offense ranks 122nd in the country.
Virginia Cavaliers: 9-4 (6-2)
Virginia is playing for their 10th win of the season which would be only the second time in program history. The Cavaliers last won 10 games in 1989. Bronco Mendenhall has continued his winning ways at Virginia, improving their win total each year he has been the head coach.
The Cavaliers’ three losses have all come on the road this season. They lost their first game to then No.10 Notre Dame 35-20. Their other two losses came to Miami and Louisville, each by one possession.
Like the Gators, the Cavaliers’ offense is generated through the air. Dual-threat quarterback Bryce Perkins is the heart and soul of the offense. He’s thrown for 3,215 yards, ran for 745 and has 29 total touchdowns this year.
Both teams are proven offensively through the air. Both defenses have established themselves against stopping the run this season. It will come down to which team can stop the air raid.
Florida’s defense ranks 8th in the country in scoring defense. They rank 18th in stopping the passing game as well.
Gator junior Shawn Davis leads a Florida secondary that has been a terror on the field opposing offenses. He ranks third on the team in tackles and also has the second most interceptions with three. He’s a big reason the Gators are tied for 3rd in the country in turnovers forced per game.
Virginia isn’t used to facing such formidable defenses as the Gators will challenge them with. If Florida can contain Perkins and take away his threat on the ground, the Cavaliers are going to have a tough time getting things moving offensively.
Florida: 31, Virginia: 13
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