Florida tops Miami 24-20 in 2019 Camping World Kickoff
Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks completed 17 of 27 passes for 254 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for the game-winning score with 8:18 to play in the fourth quarter as Florida rallied for a 24-20 victory over Miami in the 2019 Camping World Kickoff.
Following Franks’ go-ahead touchdown, Florida forced turnovers on downs on Miami’s final two possessions, sealing the victory for the Gators (1-0).
“Honestly, it felt my life clock was going at about a thousand times faster — every second was probably like a thousand minutes or days,” Florida head coach Dan Mullen said following the win, which kicked off the college football season and college football’s season-long 150th birthday celebration. “The last five minutes of the game, I think I aged like 10 years.”
Miami (0-1) got on the board first, taking a 3-0 lead on a 36-yard Bubba Baxa field goal with 9:37 left in the first, but Florida responded exactly two minutes later with a 66-yard touchdown pass from Franks to Kadarius Toney. The touchdown pass was was Florida’s longest receiving play since the 2017 Outback bowl and was set up by a fake punt by Orlando native Tommy Townsend — one of four fourth-down conversions for the Gators on the night.
“Special teams is something that we take a lot of pride in, we stress a lot, we practice an awful lot,” Mullen said. “And I think when guys buy into that, you start seeing the success of making big plays on special teams. Really, probably the turning point of the game were some of the special teams (plays) tonight.”
Miami seemingly had an answer for every Florida punch, and took a 13-7 lead into the half following a 42-yard Baxa field goal with 8:26 left in the second quarter and a 25-yard touchdown pass from Jarren Williams to Brevin Jordan with 45 seconds left in the half.
The Jordan touchdown capped of a 12-play, 90-yard drive for the ‘Canes, and Jordan finished the game with a career-high 88 receiving yards. Williams finished his first career start with 214 passing yards on 19 of 29 passing.
“You probably can’t put a guy in a more adverse situation than in this stadium,” first-year Miami head coach Manny Diaz said of Williams. “The amazing atmosphere from both sets of fans, you know, their defensive front, which we knew was really good — and Jarren never really blinked.
“A lot of times he didn’t have a lot of time, and I thought he just played with a little courage, you know — made some plays with his feet, scrambled the throw to keep this some things alive,” Diaz continued of the redshirt freshman. “I think you can see why we picked him to be our guy.”
Ultimately, however, the Gators defense was just too stout.
Florida finished the game with 10 sacks, marking the sixth time in 14 games under defensive coordinator Todd Grantham that the Gators have recorded five or more sacks in a game. Additionally, Florida held Miami to just 2 of 13 on third down and 0 for 2 on fourth down, helping the Gators outscore the Hurricanes 17-7 in the second half.
“We’ve got a lot of things to fix and correct, but that doesn’t take away from the drive that we have on this team,” linebacker Jonathan Greenard said. “We’re going to do some really good things.
“You know, things didn’t go our way at times and we had to just put the fire out when the time was needed,” continued Greenard, who finished with six tackles and two tackles for loss. “But we’re going to move on from here, and if teams to want to take us lightly … then they’re going to find out real soon that was a mistake.”