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Peach Bowl: Big second half leads to Florida rout of Michigan

By
UPI Staff
Florida celebrates after Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl win in Atlanta
Florida Gators teammates celebrate a 41-15 victory over the Michigan Wolverines. Photo by David Tulis/UPI

Dec. 29 (UPI) -- Lamical Perine scored on a 5-yard reception and added a 53-yard scoring run to lead No. 13 Florida to a 41-15 rout of No. 8 Michigan in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl on Saturday.

The Gators (10-3) put a bow on coach Dan Mullen's first season at the helm, bouncing back from a 4-7 mark last season and closed the year on a four-game winning streak.

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The Wolverines (10-3), coming off a 62-39 thrashing at archrival Ohio State, ended their season with two consecutive blowout losses. Before the loss to the Buckeyes, Michigan was No. 4 in the College Football Playoff rankings.

Quarterback Felipe Franks scored on the ground and in the air to pace Florida offense, which piled up 427 total yards, against the nation's top-ranked defense. Franks reached the end zone from 20 yards out in the second quarter, finishing with 74 yards on 14 carries, and added 173 yards through the air.

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Michigan, which allowed 567 total yards in the loss at Ohio State, played without four starters, including leading rusher Karan Higdon and leading tackler Devin Bush, who bypassed the game in order to prepare for the NFL draft. Higdon's replacement, Christian Turner, had 32 of the Wolverines' 66 yards rushing.

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Perine led Florida with 76 yards rushing and John Scarlett added 59, including a 1-yard touchdown run. The Gators totaled 257 yards on the ground.

The Wolverines took a 7-3 lead in the first quarter when quarterback Shea Patterson threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Donovan Peoples-Jones, Michigan's only touchdown of the game.

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Patterson, a transfer from Mississippi State, completed 22 of 36 passes for 236 yards and a touchdown, but was also intercepted twice, both in the second half.

Down 13-10 entering its first possession of the second half, Michigan began at its own 48. After a first down, Patterson's long pass over the middle was picked off by Chauncey Gardner-Johnson at the Florida 3. His 47-yard return set up the Gators at the Michigan 44.

On a fourth-down play, Kadarius Toney sprinted 30 yards around left end to the Michigan 5. Perine's 5-yard scoring catch from Perine made it 20-10.

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Chauncey-Gardner added a 30-yard pick-6 of Patterson with less than five minutes to play.

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh has won 38 games at his alma mater, but has never beaten Ohio State and is now 1-3 in bowl games, having dropped three consecutive contests.

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