The – #7 Michigan Wolverines (10-2, 1st Big Ten – East) play the #10 Florida Gators (9-3, 2nd SEC – East) in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl on Saturday, Dec. 29 at 12 pm ET. This is one of three bowl games being played prior to today’s CFP Semifinals.
The two other bowl games being played prior to the CFP semifinal contests are the Belk Bowl (12 pm ET) and Arizona Bowl (1:15 pm ET). Our 2018 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl pick has Michigan at -6.0 and the over/under at 51.0. Here’s our analysis of this Wolverine/Gator matchup.
Florida – Analysis
The Gators like to run. They averaged 209.5 YPG in rushing. Passing yards come in at 217.2 YPG. The Florida offense is generating 34.5 PPG. Sophomore QB Feleipe Franks (58.5 COMP%, 23 TDs, 6 INTs) passed for more than 2,200 yards this season. Sophomore RB Kadarius Toney, who averaged 10.8 YPG in rushing, also caught 24 passes for 260 yards and a touchdown. Junior WR
Van Jefferson (31 REC, 14.2 YPC, 6 TDs) leads all players in receptions and receiving TDs. Two junior running backs, Lamical Perine and Jordan Scarlett, have rushed for 700-plus yards each and each averaged 5.9 YPA. Perine had six TDs and Scarlett five.
By allowing 20.4 PPG, the Gators have a solid PF/PA differential of +14.1. The Florida D is very tough on the air game, allowing a mere 173.1 YPG. They are giving up a hefty 166.0 YPG on the ground. Our 2018 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl pick observes that this defense recorded 33 sacks and over 70 TFL. They grabbed 13 INTs, had 51 PD, and forced 10 fumbles, recovering 10. Junior DL Jachai Polite is a massive force, having forced five fumbles, made 11 sacks, and notched 18 TFL.
Michigan – Analysis
Michigan put an average of 36.8 PPG on the scoreboard. Like the Gators, this Wolverine team likes to run. Michigan averaged 214.3 YPG in rushing. They added 212.9 YPG in passing. Our 2018 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl pick notes that junior QB Shea Patterson (65.1 COMP5, 21 TDs, 5 INTs) is accurate and productive. This season, Patterson passed for over 2,300 yards. His top receivers are Nico Collins (33 REC, 16.7 YPC, 6 TDs) and Donovan Peoples-Jones (39 REC, 13.9 YPC, 7 TDs). They will need to be extra-effective as the team’s primary running back, senior Karan Higdon (224 ATT, 5.3 YPA, 10 TDs), is sitting out this game for the NFL Draft. Higdon accumulated 1,178 rushing yards this season.
The Wolverine defense was especially stingy, allowing only 17.6 PPG. Teams had a tough time generating yards against this team. The Michigan defense allowed a total of 262.5 YPG. That included 145.9 YPG in passing and 116.6 YPG in rushing. Some major components of the defense, Devon Bush and Rashan Gary, will be missing, as they are missing the game due to the upcoming NFL Draft. The secondary has 35 PD, 11 INTs, and three TFL. Sacks total 31 and TFL come in at 80. Versatile defender Chase Winovich totaled 52 tackles, four sacks, and 13.0 TFL.
Five Keys to the Game
- Wolverines missing key elements on both sides of ball
- Florida D forced 10 fumbles
- Michigan D still has some excellent players
- Wolverine QB Patterson vs Gator QB Franks – edge Michigan
- Florida rush attack has depth
Our 2018 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Pick
Our 2018 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl pick does like the Wolverines at -6.0. We think they have enough, despite key players sitting out the game, to take down the Gators. Take Michigan at -6.0. Two top defenses could keep scoring down. The over/under of 51.0 is low. We’re going with the over.
The first semifinal game to determine who goes to the championship game will be at 4:00 pm ET, as #3 Notre Dame meets #2 Clemson. The second game, which offers #4 Oklahoma playing #1 Alabama, kicks off at 8:00 pm ET. Don’t forget, you can access the 2018 bowl schedule and picks here.