Tampa Bay Sports Day

CAMPING WORLD: Gators Hold on in 24-20 Win over UM

Photo by Nancy Beecher/Florida Sports Wire

ORLANDO – On a hot and humid night in Central Florida, No. 8 Florida held on to beat the unranked Miami Hurricanes 24-20 the Camping World Kickoff Classic.

“They competed and they competed and they kept competing and kept battling,” said Florida coach Dan Mullen. “It seemed like we had to win the game about four different times, but we continued to do that. And so I’m really proud of that.”

Miami couldnt take advantage of multiple pass interference calls against the Gators in the final two minutes of the game. The Canes finally stalled out when they couldn’t convert a fourth and 12 at the Florida 26 with 12 seconds to play.

“I want to congratulate the Florida on winning the game,” said Miami head coach Manny Diaz. “It was a game filled, like most opening games like this are, with a ton of mistakes from both teams. It ultimately came down to a couple of red zone possessions and they were able to capitalize and we were not able to capitalize and ultimately that was the difference in the ball game.”

QB Feleipe Franks scored on a three-yard TD to give Florida a 24-20 lead with 8:18 to play in the game. Josh Hammond’s career long 65-yard reception set up Franks go-ahead rushing score three plays later.

Franks completed 17 of 27 passes for 254 yards. Florida had passing plays of 66 and 65 yards. It had two passing plays of 60-plus yards all of last season

Miami’s Deejay Dallas ran for a 50-yard touchdown on the opening drive of the fourth quarter.

On the Gators next series Franks was picked off by Amari Carter. He returned it 22 yards to the Florda 25.

“I thought a crucial point in the game was when we got the big interception,” Diaz said. “And this just shows we’re not ready to be a big time team yet. We get a 15-yard penalty for taunting. And on the next play, we got a 15-yard penalty for a chop block. We gave away 30 yards on really what might have been the winning change of possession — play the game. And that just means we don’t have the maturity level to see a victory through. So, again, that’s a process of what we have to learn, and we’re obviously not there yet.”

A holding penalty against Miami and a 15-yard Florida penalty on a fake field goal for hitting out of bounds gave the Canes a new set of downs.

But Bubba Baxa missed his 27-yard field goal attempt.

The Canes trailed the Gators 17-13 going into the fourth quarter.

Miami’s first turnover of the game gave Florida the ball on the Canes 11 after a Jeff Thomas’ fumbled punt.

Van Jefferson recovered the ball for the Gators sparking the third lead change of the game.

Franks found running back Lamical Perrine over the middle for eight yards to regain the lead going into the final period.

The teams traded punts to open the second half.

On Florida’s third possession the Gators converted a 33-yard drive into a 27-yard field goal by Evan McPherson with 6:30 to play in the third quarter.

Miami went into the intermission leading 13-7.

With 1:14 to play in the second quarter Miami redshirt freshman QB Jarren Williams threw to to Dallas for 40 yards to the Gators 15. Williams finished 19-for-29 for 214 passing yards and one touchdown.

After being sacked for a loss and a Miami penalty, Williams found Brevin Jordan for a 25-yard score. Florida’s 10 sacks eclipsed its highest single-game total since 1996, with the previous high being its nine against Auburn.

The Gators second fumble of the night led to a Baxa 43-yard field goal with 8:26 to play in the first half. Running back Malik Davis coughed up the ball, recovered by Shaq Quarterman.

After one quarter Florida led Miami 7-3.

The Canes struck first. After taking the opening kickoff Miami drove 56 yards. Baxa connected on a 36-yard field goal.

The Gators began their first drive from their own 21. A fake punt gave them new life on their 34.

Franks made the Canes pay on the next play with a 66-yard TD pass to Kadarius Toney.

Miami’s defense totaled six tackles for loss and one sack in the loss. Miami had two interceptions and two fumble recoveries. Safety Gurvan Hall, Jr. had a career-best eight tackles in his first career start. He also had one tackle for loss.

KICKOFF NOTES: The Hurricanes totaled 308 yards of offense – 214 passing and 94 rushing – and outgained Florida 308-306….announced attendance was 66,543…Franks fumbled in the shadow of the UM goal post early in the second quarter. Scott Patchan recovered the turnover, but the Canes couldn’t move the ball and had to punt…the Canes committed two delay of game penalties…Florida had no first quarter flags…The Gators faced a fourth and one on their own 47, Toney picked up the first down. Florida was 4 for 4 on fourth down conversions.