The optics in play for Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh this season were plain to see. The Wolverines’ battles to win a big games versus their rivals or play for a conference title have haunted him during his 4 seasons in Ann Arbor, despite the fact that three of those projects resulted in 10 wins.
Another offseason of concerns about the direction of the Michigan program and Harbaugh’s capability to provide it that last push back to college football’s top tier make sure to come after the Wolverines’ 41– 15 loss to Florida in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.
Michigan played without four essential starters, consisting of defensive end Rashan Gary and linebacker Devin Bush, who both declared for the NFL draft and are anticipated to go in the very first round. Leading rusher Karan Higdon also skipped the championship game to get ready for his pro profession.
In spite of a blowout 62– 39 loss to Ohio State in the routine season ending, the Wolverines still got in the video game ranked No. 1 in backyards enabled and 2nd in pass defense, providing up 17.6 points a game. However that stout defense was exposed time and time once again with the crafty playcalling of Gators coach Dan Mullen, who established his receivers to facilitate catches, unleashed quarterback Feleipe Franks’ running capability and, rather of attempting to face the middle of Michigan’s defense, called up jet sweeps and option plays at the best times.
Michigan, who lost to Florida for the very first time in 5 meetings in between the 2 schools, got the game’s first goal on a Donovan Peoples-Jones nine-yard catch from Shea Patterson. The Wolverines’ junior quarterback was largely inadequate after that, finishing 22-of-36 for 236 yards with one touchdown. He was picked off twice by Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, who took his second interception to your home to cap the scoring, and was sacked 5 times.
Michigan’s unique teams did its part, providing a trigger in the 2nd quarter when J’Marick Woods got his hands on a Florida punt, however the Wolverines had to opt for a 48-yard Jake Moody basket after acquiring no yards on the occurring belongings. The Wolverines obstructed a 2nd punt that went through the back of the end zone for a safety, but their ensuing ownership ended with Gardner-Johnson’s exclamation point pick-six, setting off a celebration on the Florida sideline.
The Gators waited patiently for their chances and lastly took the lead for great before halftime thanks to the legs of Franks. On a 75-yard march to a three-point halftime lead, Franks had runs of 30 and 15 lawns prior to striking paydirt on a 20-yard scuttle. Franks tossed for 174 yards and added 74 on the ground with 2 overall goals, ending his roller-coaster year on a high note.
After being benched in a house loss against Missouri throughout which he was booed loudly as Gators fans cheered for his backup Kyle Trask, Franks redeemed himself the next week, however just after Florida once again found itself down, trailing South Carolina by 17 points in the 3rd quarter. Franks led a furious resurgence and had the last word in the victory, with 3 total touchdowns and a hush for the Ben Hill Griffin Stadium crowd after his game-winning rating in the
35– 31 win. That game started a rare offending hot streak, in which the Gators gained 500-plus yards in each of their final three regular season games after reaching that threshold just once before November. Florida acquired 427 lawns on Saturday, converting eight of their 16 third-down chances and scoring on each of their 5 red-zone belongings at the expense of planner Don Brown’s vaunted defense.
Michigan’s meltdown was complete when Lamical Perine raced unblemished for 53 backyards on a third-and-20 draw to put Florida put by 3 goals. The Wolverines quit a season-high 257 yards on the ground to Gators.
As Michigan and its fan base fume over this most current addition to Harbaugh’s 1– 3 bowl record, the Wolverines will be losing some crucial factors. Still, 2019 figures to establish well for another run at conference and national hardward, with the news that Patterson is going back to school for his senior season.
Florida will look to continue to develop itself into a challenger to SEC East champ Georgia, with the hope of being back in Atlanta for the SEC title video game and beyond. For now, the Gators have a humiliation of among the nation’s most appreciated defenses as a springboard into the offseason.