Orange Bowl to pit Florida against Virginia

Orange Bowl to pit Florida against Virginia
Florida head coach Dan Mullen watches from the sidelines during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Missouri, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019, in Columbia, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

No. 9 Florida (10-2, SEC) vs. No. 24 Virginia (9-4, ACC), Dec. 30, 8 p.m. ET

LOCATION: Miami Gardens, Florida

TOP PLAYERS

Florida: QB Kyle Trask, 2,636 yards passing, 24 touchdowns.

Virginia: QB Bryce Perkins, 3,960 total yards, 18 passing touchdowns, 11 rushing touchdowns.

NOTABLE

Florida: The Gators’ only losses were to playoff-bound LSU and SEC finalist Georgia. Virginia will be the “home” team for the game but Florida — with a massive fan base in the Miami area — will unquestionably have the bulk of the crowd. Gators coach Dan Mullen inherited a rebuild after Florida went 4-7 in 2017, and he’s posted two straight 10-win seasons since taking over in Gainesville. And with a win, the Gators would have back-to-back top-10 finishes in the AP poll for the first time since 2008 and 2009.

Virginia: Hard Rock Stadium has not been kind to the Cavaliers. Virginia is 1-8 in that stadium, including 0-3 in bowl games there and a loss to Miami earlier this season. The three bowl losses in that stadium came by a combined 86 points. But the Cavaliers’ win total has increased in three straight seasons under coach Bronco Mendenhall, who was 2-10 in his debut 2016 campaign there — followed by records of 6-7, 8-5 and now 9-4 entering this matchup. The Cavaliers haven’t finished a season ranked in the AP Top 25 since 2004, and could change that this year.

LAST TIME

Florida 55, Virginia 10 (Oct. 3, 1959)

BOWL HISTORY

Florida: Fourth appearance in the Orange Bowl (not including BCS title game after 2008 season), 45th bowl appearance in school history.

Virginia: First appearance in the Orange Bowl, 21st bowl appearance in school history.

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