TIME: 8:00 PM (EST)
DATE: December 30th, 2019
LOCATION: Hard Rock Stadium | Miami, FL
HOW TO WATCH: ESPN
In case you were wondering about the subhead, that is one of the many “Florida man” headlines from December 30th. If you aren’t familiar with Florida man, well, I suggest you give it a quick google search - it’s internet gold. Also, on December 30th, Virginia will play No. 9 Florida in the Orange Bowl. The Orange Bowl, I say!
This will mark the first ever time that Virginia has played in the Orange Bowl which serves as another testament to the successes of this year’s team. Winning the ACC Coastal and beating Virginia Tech have been huge achievements for the football program and validations of the positive direction that the program is trending in. Bryce Perkins, the dynamic quarterback, will suit up one last time as a Cavalier and try to get the team to ten wins, which has not been accomplished since 1989.
However, Florida will be no easy win, that is for sure. Despite losing starting quarterback Feleipe Franks early in the season, Head Coach Dan Mullen has strung together another 10 win season (in his second year at the helm, too). The Gators are anchored by their formidable defense, ranked No. 8 in points allowed and No. 9 in yards defended. Mullen seems to be returning the program back to elite levels and will look to prove that against Virginia.
It would be a big upset if the Hoos to beat the Gators. While sustained success and better recruiting classes are still the most important next steps for Bronco Mendenhall, a big win against a top-tier opponent would undoubtably be huge for the program. The opportunity will be there on Monday in South Florida.
from Danny Neckel
SEC football is still good
|Scoring Offense||43rd (32.4)||Scoring Defense||8th (14.4)|
|Scoring Defense||59th (26.5)||Scoring Offense||36th (33)|
|Yards Offense||80th (390.0)||Yards Defense||9th (299.0)|
|Yards Defense||39th (358.2)||Yards Offense||53rd (420.7)|
|Passing Offense||36th (263.5)||Passing Defense||18th (192.0)|
|Passing Defense||68th (228.2)||Passing Offense||17th (300.4)|
Bryce Perkins, QB
This will be Bryce Perkins’ last game as Virginia Cavalier. The quarterback has been instrumental in resurrecting Virginia’s football program under Bronco Mendenhall. Leading the Cavaliers to its first nine win season since 2007, Perkins has shown his ability to put the offense on his back to win time and time again. This week, he’ll get to show off his abilities once more to hopefully solidify his chances at getting drafted to the NFL.
Jordan Mack, LB
Mack will probably not go on Monday and first-year Nick Jackson would replace him. However, it is worth noting the fourth-year as he’s been such a steady player for the Hoos’ defense. Over the last four years, Mack has compiled 289 total tackles (120 solo), 14.5 sacks, and six forced fumbles over his four year career. While his NFL prospects look unclear, Mack may have a shot at getting drafted in the mid-to-late rounds.
Joey Blount, S
Third-year Joey Blount has had a little bit of a breakout year. This season, he is first on the team in solo tackles (55) and second in total tackles (90). On top of that, Blount also has 3.5 sacks and three interceptions. Virginia’s defense has been good, sometimes even great, due in part to the play of Blount and others in the secondary. We’ll hear his name a lot against Florida and in 2020.
Kyle Trask, QB
After starting quarterback Feleipe Franks went down with a season-ending ankle injury in Week 3, Junior quarterback Kyle Trask had to step up for the Gators. He has done so admirably in the ever-challenging SEC by leading his team to a 10-2 record. Trask has thrown for 2636 yards, 24 touchdowns, and only six interceptions. He is setting himself up for a breakout 2020 season and will aim to showcase that right at the close of 2019.
Kyle Pitts, TE
Sophomore tight-end Kyle Pitts leads the Gators in receptions and receiving yards. Pitts has had a breakout year, catching 51 balls for 610 yards and five touchdowns. While Pitts is the primary short-to-mid-range guy, Florida likes to spread the ball in the air quite a bit. Seven other players (not including Pitts) have over 20 receptions and 200 receiving yards each. Look for Pitts to be targeted a lot but also for Trask to get multiple guys involved.
Jonathan Greenard, LB
Graduate transfer Jonathan Greenard is likely to be an early NFL Draft pick. Coming off a season-ending wrist injury prior to his transfer, Greenard has developed into a complete pass rusher. As a Florida Gator, he has compiled 8.5 nine sacks, 15 tackles for loss, 41 quarterback pressures, an interception, and two forced fumbles. Greenard will look to have a statement game against Virginia to perhaps bump his stock up even more.
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