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The Associated Press | December 29, 2018

Michigan vs Florida: Key matchups and players to watch in Peach Bowl

USA TODAY Sports michigan vs florida

Peach Bowl: No. 10 Florida (9-3) vs. No. 8 Michigan (10-2) at Atlanta, Saturday, Noon EST (ESPN)

Series Record: Michigan leads 4-0.

MORE: Follow live stats from the Peach Bowl | Game predictions, info

WHAT'S AT STAKE

Michigan can become the 10th team in school history, and the first since 2011, to win at least 11 games. The Wolverines are looking to beat the Gators for the second straight season. Florida can complete a dramatic turnaround under first-year coach Dan Mullen from a 4-7 finish in 2017. The Gators are looking for their third win over a ranked team this season.

KEY MATCHUP

Michigan linebacker Devin Bush vs. Florida running back Lamical Perine. Michigan leads the nation in total defense, allowing only 262.5 yards per game, and ranks No. 2 against the pass. Bush leads the unit with 80 tackles and had five sacks. The Gators used explosive big plays, including a 74-yard scoring run by Perine, to finish with 536 yards in a 41-14 rout of Florida State to close the regular season. Florida scored 34.5 points per game as Perine and Jordan Scarlett led a balanced rushing attack.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Florida: Quarterback Feleipe Franks' 23 touchdown passes is the high mark for the Gators since Tim Tebow's 30 in 2008. Franks had four games with at least three scoring passes. Franks threw only six interceptions while passing for 2,284 yards.

Michigan: Junior Chris Evans is in the spotlight as the most experienced running back available. Perhaps the most difficult to replace of four draft-eligible players skipping the game is top rusher Karan Higdon, who ran for 1,178 yards and 10 touchdowns. Evans was second with 403 yards.

FACTS & FIGURES

Peach Bowl will host a College Football Playoff semifinal next season, on Dec. 28, 2019. ... Michigan beat Florida 41-7 in the Citrus Bowl on Jan. 1, 2016 and then beat the Gators in another rout, 33-17, to open the 2017 season. ... Florida has wins over No. 5 LSU and No. 23 Mississippi State this season. ... Florida is 0-2 in the Peach Bowl, losing to West Virginia in 1981 and Miami in 2004. ... Michigan is playing in its first Peach Bowl. The Big Ten is 2-5 in the bowl. ... The last Big Ten team to play in the Peach Bowl was Indiana, which lost to Auburn 27-24 in 1990. ... Florida coach Dan Mullen replaced Jim McElwain, who was the Wolverines receivers coach this season before recently taking the job as Central Michigan's new coach. McElwain is not with Michigan for the bowl game. ... Michigan defense is looking to atone for giving up 567 yards in a crushing 62-39 loss to Ohio State to close the regular season, ending the Wolverines' playoff hopes.

MORE: Full college football bowl schedule and results
MORE: How each conference has fared this bowl season

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This article was written by The Associated Press from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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