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Camping World Kickoff: Gators Chomp Hurricanes 24-20 in High Octane Rivalry

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – The University of Florida Gators and the University of Miami Hurricanes came head-to-head in a long-awaited rivalry for the Camping World Kickoff, the match to launch college football season, at Camping World Stadium Saturday before a crowd of 66,543 rival fans.

Miami wasted no time getting on the board. at 9:37 in the first quarter, Bubba Baxa led off the scoring with a 36-yard field goal.

Florida clapped back in their next possession with Feleipe Franks’ 66-yard touchdown pass to Kadarius Toney, making the score 7-3 by the end of the first quarter.

UF ATH Kadarius Toney runs the ball to the end zone for the first touchdown of the game after Miami's field goal. Photo: Willie David/Florida National News.

UF ATH Kadarius Toney runs the ball to the end zone for the first touchdown of the game after Miami’s field goal. Photo: Willie David/Florida National News.

After two UF turnovers, with 8:26 left in the first half, Miami’s Baxa kicked another field goal (42 yards), closing the gap to one point: 7-6 UF.

With less than a minute left in the first half, Miami QB Jarren Williams nailed a 25-yard pass to tight end Brevin Jordan, who pushed through a Florida tackle attempt to find the end zone, pushing Miami ahead with a score of 13-7 after the extra point.

When the smoke cleared at halftime, Miami came away sacking Florida four times, with only one sack of their own. Miami was 2 for 6 in third down conversions, compared to Florida’s 1 for 5.

Florida turned the tide in the third quarter. UF’s Evan McPherson narrowed the gap with a 27-yard field goal at the 6:30 mark. On the next drive, Miami WR Jeff Thomas fumbled the ball after a one-yard carry, and Florida WR Van Jefferson pounced to recover it. With the ball back in their possession, Florida played three downs to the 8-yard line and Franks passed to RB Lamical Perine for the touchdown, making the score 17-13 after the extra point.

Miami had something for Florida in the fourth, though. Within the first minute of the fourth, DeeJay Dallas rushed 50 yards for the touchdown, snatching back the lead with 20-17 after the extra point.

Five minutes into the fourth, Miami caught a lucky break on their next possession: two penalties happened: a holding penalty on Miami, which would have resulted in a 15-yard penalty, but there was also a fowl on Florida, which superseded Miami’s penalty, giving Miami a first down. Miami then capitalized on the opportunity with a field goal attempt, but Baxa missed.

Florida spited Miami with WR Josh Hammond’s 65-yard pass rush to Miami’s 15-yard line. After playing for three downs and a successful first down, Franks himself scrambled for three yards for the touchdown, making the score 24-20, UF, after the extra point.

With 4:20 left in the game, Miami STRK Romeo Finley intercepted Franks’ pass, giving Miami possession again. During that series alone, Williams got sacked three times for a total 17-yard loss.

Florida regained possession in the final 12 seconds of the game for a two-yard loss. Florida came away victorious, 24-20.

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Mellissa Thomas is Editor for Florida National News | mellissa.thomas@floridanationalnews.com

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