No. 6 Florida held off Virginia 36-28 in the Orange Bowl on Monday night to capture the program's first 11-win season since 2012.
The Gators, who struggled to run the ball most of the season, were led by an explosive showing from running back Lamical Perine. The senior tallied 138 yards on 13 carries and racked up three total touchdowns on the night (two rushing and one receiving).
Because of Clemson's invite to the College Football Playoff, Virginia represented the ACC in the Orange Bowl and kept things interesting despite entering the night as double-digit underdogs.
Virginia and Florida exchanged punches in the first half with big plays and creative offensive designs. The Gators gained control after the Cavaliers missed key opportunities down the stretch. Virginia — ACC's Coastal Division champ — dropped an interception in the red zone on an overthrow by quarterback Bryce Perkins, and another pick near the end zone with five minutes remaining in the game.
A successful onside kick in the final minute would have given Virginia a chance to tie things up late. Instead, Florida secured the attempt to put the finishing touches on the Orange Bowl victory.
Sporting News provided live updates, highlights and score changes for Florida vs. Virginia:
Florida vs. Virginia score
Florida vs. Virginia live updates, highlights
(All times Eastern)
FINAL: Florida 36, Virginia 28
11:43 p.m.: Virginia's onside kick is recovered by Florida's Freddie Swain and that should do it.
11:40 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, VIRGINIA. Perkins lofts it to Hasise Dubois for a 2-yard touchdown reception with 38 seconds remaining. Virginia will need an onside kick to keep its hopes alive. Florida 36, Virginia 28.
11:33 p.m.: Perkins dumps it off to Bobby Haskins on a backwards pass to the 6-7, 285-pound lineman for a 9-yard touchdown. After review, it was determined that Haskins was an ineligible receiver and the score is taken away.
11:28 p.m.: FIELD GOAL, FLORIDA . The Gators tack on three more with a 42-yard field goal by McPherson. Florida 36, Virginia 21.
11:16 p.m.: Perkins tries a jump ball and it's picked off by Florida at the Gators 4-yard line. Virginis desperately needed a touchdown on that drive and came away without any points. Five minutes to play.
11:01 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, FLORIDA. Trask takes it himself for a 1-yard score to extend Florida's lead with under 10 minutes to play. Florida's two-point attempt failed. Florida 33, Virginia 21.
11 p.m.: On the following play, Perine looked to pick up his fourth touchdown of the night but his heel was on the sidelines at the Virginia 1.
10:58 p.m.: Lamical Perine just barely gets the necessary yardage to move the chains on fourth down on Florida's own side of the field. Next play is a 31-yard passing play to set the Gators up in field-goal range.
10:53 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, VIRGINIA. The Cavaliers close the gap with a Joe Reed 7-yard touchdown reception from Perkins. Back to a one-possession game. Florida 27, Virginia 21.
End of third quarter: Florida 27, Virginia 14
10:43 p.m.: FIELD GOAL, FLORIDA. Evan McPherson drills a 49-yard field goal to push Florida's lead to 13. Virginia missed an opportunity for an easy interception earlier in the drive. Florida 27, Virginia 14.
10:35 p.m.: Virginia crosses midfield but Perkins is sacked on third down and the Cavs have no choice but to boot it away again. Missed opportunity for Virginia.
10:28 p.m.: Yet another drive ending quickly and the Cavaliers will get the ball back after the Florida punt.
10:23 p.m.: Virginia and Florida trade punts to get the second half going.
10:18 p.m.: Virginia forces Florida to punt for the first time. The Cavaliers will set up shop at their own 29.
10:13 p.m.: Perkins is caught from behind on third down and Virginia's first drive of the third quarter ends after six plays.
Halftime: Florida 24, Virginia 14
First downs: Florida 16, Virginia 9
Total yards: Florida 342, Virginia 135
Pass yards: Florida 153, Virginia 108
Rush yards: Florida 189, Virginia 27
Possession: Florida 17:24, Virginia 12:36
9:40 p.m.: Virginia is forced to punt and Florida will have it deep in its own territory with 45 seconds until the half.
9:33 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, FLORIDA. Lamical Perine is into the end zone for the third time in the first half as he rushes for a 10-yard score. Florida 24, Virginia 14.
9:27 p.m.: On a 4th-and-8 from the Virginia 35, Trask completes it across the middle for an 11-yard gain to pick up the first down. Florida striking again.
9:20 p.m.: Virginia goes three-and-out on the following possession and is forced to punt it away.
9:14 p.m.: FIELD GOAL, FLORIDA. The Gators march down the field on a 14-play, 73-yard drive and wrap it with a 23-yard field goal by Evan McPherson. Florida 17, Virginia 14.
9 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, VIRGINIA. Perkins scrambles out of a busy pocket and launches the football into the end zone for a jump-ball reception by Hasise Dubois. Game tied once again. Florida 14, Virginia 14.
Everything about this UVA touchdown is … wild! pic.twitter.com/PNdY6dCImS
— Sporting News (@sportingnews) December 31, 2019
End of first quarter: Florida 14, Virginia 7
8:51 p.m.: Virginia goes for it on 4th-and-1 from the Florida 28 and Perkins' completion moves the chains.
8:40 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, FLORIDA. Trask guides Florida downfield and completes the drive with a short pass to Perine who takes it in for a 16-yard score to regain the lead. Florida 14, Virginia 7.
— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) December 31, 2019
8:23 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, VIRGINIA. On the very first play after the Virginia takeaway, Bryce Perkins goes to the end zone to Terrell Jana for the touchdown strike. Florida 7, Virginia 7.
Virginia jumped RIGHT back in it after that Florida TD. pic.twitter.com/VB2nCqXJta
— Sporting News (@sportingnews) December 31, 2019
8:22 p.m.: Following Virginia's three-and-out, the Cavaliers intercept Florida's Kyle Trask on the following possession and set up shop at the Gators 34-yard line.
8:13 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, FLORIDA . Just 40 seconds in, Lamical Perine gets loose and scores on a 61-yard rush. Florida 7, Virginia 0.
— ESPN (@espn) December 31, 2019
8:11 p.m.: Virginia's opening kickoff reaches the end zone for the touchback and Florida will get things going on offense.