ATLANTA (AP) — Lamical Perine had a 5-yard scoring catch and 53-yard touchdown run to lead No. 10 Florida’s strong rushing attack Saturday, helping the Gators cap their comeback season with a 41-15 rout of No. 8 Michigan in the Peach Bowl.
After finishing 4-7 in 2017, Florida enjoyed a dramatic turnaround in Dan Mullen’s debut season as coach. Florida (10-3) closed the season with four straight wins. Michigan (10-3) closed a promising season with two straight lopsided losses.
Feleipe Franks ran and passed for touchdowns to lead Florida’s offense. He had a 20-yard scoring run in the second quarter and finished with 74 yards rushing on 14 carries. Franks passed for 173 yards.
Chauncey Gardner-Johnson led Florida’s defense with two interceptions, including one returned 30 yards for a touchdown with less than five minutes remaining. Gardner-Johnson’s first interception early in the second half, when Florida led only 13-10, set the tone for the Gators.
The Wolverines faced the unenviable task of having four top starters, including top rusher Karan Higdon and leading tackler Devin Bush, skip the game to focus on the NFL draft.
After giving up 567 yards in a crushing 62-39 loss to Ohio State to close the regular season, Michigan’s defense again couldn’t play up to its No. 1 ranking.
Florida compiled 427 total yards, including 257 on the ground. Perine led the Gators with 76 yards rushing. Jordan Scarlett ran for 59 yards, including a 1-yard scoring run.
Michigan led 7-3 after Shea Patterson’s 9-yard scoring pass to Donovan Peoples-Jones in the first quarter — the Wolverines’ only touchdown. Patterson threw two second-half interceptions and completed 22 of 36 passes for 236 yards and a touchdown.