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Florida defeats Virginia to win fourth Orange Bowl in school history

The Gators capped off their second straight double-digit win season under Dan Mullen with another bowl victory, but what comes next?

NCAA Football: Orange Bowl-Florida vs Virginia Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Florida Gators capped off their second year under Dan Mullen with a bang Monday evening in Miami, coming away with a 36-28 victory over Virginia in the 2019 Orange Bowl.

Lamical Perine ended his college career with a bang, as the senior running back had 13 carries for a career-high 138 yards and two touchdowns, then added five receptions for 43 yards and another touchdown. He became the first Florida running back since Fred Taylor in 1998 to win bowl game MVP honors. The biggest play of the game for Perine came the first time he touched the ball. Following an incompletion and then a 14 yard pass for a first down, the Gators dialed up a run and Perine took it 61 yards for a touchdown.

While it looked like Florida might be able to pull away early on after forcing a three-and-out, Kyle Trask threw an interception at the UF 34 and Virginia was able to respond immediately and tie the game. It would be Perine finding the end zone yet on Florida’s next drive, though, this time being on the receiving end of a 16-yard touchdown to put the Gators back up 14-7. Virginia would knot it up on their next drive, but from there on out it would be all Florida, as the Gators scored on all but two of their remaining drives en route to an offensive explosion to the tune of 549 yards.

Virginia quarterback Bryce Perkins did all he could to keep the Hoos in the game, passing for 323 yards and four touchdowns, but it ultimately wasn’t enough.

The Gators have now won 21 games in two seasons under Dan Mullen, but the big question is what comes next? Will Florida be back in contention for the SEC and College Football Playoff next year? A third year of a new head coach is generally quite pivotal, and that will remain the case here, as well.