The 2019 Florida Gators will close their stellar season in Miami, Florida for the Capital One Orange Bowl. The Florida Gators will take on ACC Coastal champion, the Virginia Cavaliers. This will be the second time Florida has ever played the Virginia Cavaliers. The last time Florida play UVA was in 1959 and Florida won the game 55-10. A win for the Gators would give Florida an eleven win season for the first time since 2012. The Florida Gators have a 3-0 record in the Orange Bowl and 4-0 if you count the 2008 National Championship. Here is the Florida Gators vs. Virginia Cavaliers Orange Bowl preview.
The Virginia Cavaliers will look to bounce back in the Orange Bowl after getting routed by Clemson in the ACC Championship Game. The Virginia Cavaliers will be led by their head coach, Bronco Mendenhall, who’s in his fourth season as UVA’s head coach. The Cavaliers offense will be led by their senior quarterback Bryce Perkins. The Arizona native has had a nice senior season as he’s been killing defenses with his arm and legs. Perkins has completed 63.9% of his passes for 3,207 yards, 18 touchdowns, and eleven interceptions. Perkins is also the lead rusher for Virginia as he has 213 carries for 745 yards and 12 touchdowns. Sophomore running back Wayne Taulapapa has also played well as he has 459 yards and team-high twelve rushing touchdowns. Hasise Dubois is the lead receiver with 65 receptions for 979 yards and four touchdowns.
The Virginia Cavaliers defense has had a rough season as they’ve given up a lot of points. They average 26.4 points allowed per game. Also, allow 358.2 total yards per game. Junior linebacker Zane Zandier has been one of Virginia’s most consistent players on defense. Zandier has recorded a team-high nine tackles with 11.5 tackles for loss, five sacks, and an interception. Safety Joey Blount has also been a key player on defense. Blount has 90 tackles with six-and-a-half tackles for loss, three-and-a-half sacks, and three interceptions. Senior linebacker Jordan Mack leads the UVA defense in sacks with seven-and-a-half on the season. Sophomore linebacker Noah Taylor also has seven sacks on the year.
The Florida Gators would like to continue their winning ways with another New Year’s Six Bowl win in Miami. The Florida Gators are led by their head coach Dan Mullen, who’s in his second season as Florida’s head coach. The Gators offense is also led by their redshirt-junior quarterback Kyle Trask. Florida’s passing attack has been one of their strengths thanks to the emergence of Trask. The Texas native has completed 67.2% of his passes for 24 touchdowns and six interceptions. Lamical Perine is lead rusher for Florida with 119 carries for 538 yards and four touchdowns. Tight end Kyle Pitts is the lead receiver for Florida with 51 receptions for 610 yards and five touchdowns. Van Jefferson has been an impact player this season with 43 catches for 528 yards and six touchdowns.
The Florida Gators have one of the top-ranked defenses in the country. Although, the Florida defense will be without cornerback, C.J. Henderson. Henderson has declared for the NFL Draft. True freshman cornerback Kaiir Elam is expected to replace the junior cornerback. The top defensive player for Florida this season has been Jon Greenard. The Louisville transfer has exceeded everybody’s expectations and has been one of the top pass rushers in the country. Greenard has 51 tackles for 14.5 tackles for loss and eight-and-a-half sacks. He also has eight QB hurries and two forced fumbles. Senior linebacker David Reese leads the Gators in tackles with 89 on the season. He also has five tackles for loss and two sacks. Zachary Carter is one of Florida’s hottest defensive players with 28 tackles, seven tackles for loss and four-and-a-half sacks.
5 Players to Watch: Virginia Cavaliers
- QB Bryce Perkins
- LB Jordan Mack
- RB Wayne Taulapapa
- S Joey Blount
- WR Hasise Dubois
5 Players to Watch: Florida Gators
- QB Kyle Trask
- DE Jon Greenard
- TE Kyle Pitts
- LB David Reese
- WR Freddie Swain
- Trask throws for over 250 yards and three touchdowns.
- Perkins has 275 yards of total offense.
- Florida’s defense gets at least two turnovers.
- Virginia’s defense records at least two sacks.
- Florida Gators beats Virginia Cavaliers 38-17.