EditorsNote: tweaked 3rd graf, fixed time to 16 seconds in 9th graf, change Reed TD catch to 7 yards in 10th graf
Lamical Perine ran for 138 yards and scored three touchdowns as No. 9 Florida struck quickly and never trailed in a 36-28 defeat of No. 24 Virginia in the Orange Bowl on Monday night in Miami Gardens, Fla.
Kyle Trask passed for 305 yards and a touchdown and also ran for a score for the Gators (11-2), who rushed for a season-high 244 yards and reached 11 wins for the first time since 2012.
Florida’s Van Jefferson had six catches for 129 yards, and Perine added five catches for 43 yards and a score.
Bryce Perkins threw for 323 yards and a career-high four touchdowns for the Cavaliers (9-5), who were playing in a New Year’s Six bowl game just three years after a 2-10 season.
Virginia’s Hasise Dubois caught 10 passes for 83 yards and two scores, and Terrell Jana had seven grabs for 126 yards and one TD.
Perine put Florida up 7-0 just 40 seconds into the game with a 61-yard touchdown run. However, after a diving interception by Nick Grant, Virginia answered with Perkins’ 34-yard touchdown pass to Jana on the next play to tie it.
The Gators’ second scoring drive covered 75 yards in 13 plays, capped by Perine’s 16-yard touchdown reception. The Cavaliers responded with a 14-play, 88-yard march, knotting the score at 14-14 on the first play of the second quarter with Dubois’ leaping 9-yard TD catch.
Florida regained the lead on Evan McPherson’s 23-yard field goal and extended it to 24-14 on Perine’s third score of the half, a 10-yard touchdown run with 2:13 to play. Perine had 138 yards from scrimmage before halftime.
The teams exchanged five punts (three by Virginia) in the third quarter before McPherson’s 49-yard field goal gave the Gators a 27-14 lead with 16 seconds left.
Set up by Tanner Cowley’s 52-yard reception on the final play of the third quarter, the Cavaliers pulled to within 27-21 on Joe Reed’s 7-yard touchdown catch with 13:05 remaining.
After the Gators converted a risky fourth-and-1 in their own territory, Tyrie Cleveland’s 30-yard catch and Perine’s 23-yard run preceded Trask’s 1-yard TD rush. That pushed Florida’s lead to 33-21 with 9:33 left.
McPherson’s 42-yard field goal made it 36-21 with 2:32 to play.
Virginia closed out the scoring when Dubois caught a deflected 2-yard touchdown pass with 38 seconds left. Florida recovered the ensuing onside kick.
—Field Level Media