ORLANDO, FL, Sporting Alert — Feleipe Franks and No. 8 Florida escaped with an unconvincing 24-20 victory over in-state rival Miami in a college football opener in Orlando on Saturday night.
Quarterback Franks accounted for three touchdowns, but had three indefensible turnovers on the night, as his the Gators just held on for the win.
Franks went 17 for 27 on completed passes for 254 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions, while running home for another score in a wild and crazy season opener, especially in the final moments.
“Last five minutes of the game, I aged 10 years,” Florida coach Dan Mullen said. “That was exhausting.”
Miami’s Jarren Williams completed 19 of 29 of his passes for 214 yards and a touchdown in his first career start.
On the ground, DeeJay Dallas ran for 95 yards, including a 50 scoring rush in the fourth.
Miami First On The Scorecard
The Hurricanes got on the scoreboard first when Bubba Baxa converted a 36-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead with a little over five-minute gone in the first quarter.
However, Florida answered with a touchdown after Franks found Kadarius Toney with a 66-yard scoring pass, two minutes later to give the SEC side a 7-3 lead.
Miami pulled within a point almost midway into the second quarter when Baxa drove home another field goal from 42 yards before the Canes took the lead with less than one minute to play in the first half.
Jarren Williams rounded out a 12 play 90-yard drive with a 25-yard pass to Brevin Jordan for a touchdown, as the Hurricanes took a 13-7 lead heading into halftime.
Neither Team Wanted To Keep The Lead
The Gators grabbed back the lead with 30 seconds to play in the third quarter after an 11-yard and three plays drive ended with Franks passing to Lamical Perine for an 8-yd TD, following a muffed punt by Miami.
Feleipe Franks. QB sneak.
TOUCHDOWN @GatorsFB!! pic.twitter.com/cARaKRKovR
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) August 25, 2019
However, the Hurricanes rallied to take the lead back almost immediately to open the fourth quarter.
Dallas eluded several ineffective tackles from the Florida defensive line to rush home for a 50-yard scoring run, as the Canes went back ahead 20-17 with 14:15 left in the fourth quarter.
The back-and-forth battle continued after Miami missed an opportunity to extend the lead from a field goal and Florida used their possession to score a TD.
Franks opened the drive with an impressive pass completion to Josh Hammond for 65 yds to the Miami’s 15-yard line and then eventually completed the play by running into the end zone for a three-yard score, as the Gators took a 24-20 lead and held on in the midst if their final minute comedy of errors.
Miami has owned Florida in recent head-to-heads, having won seven of the last meeting prior to Saturday’s clash.
Including Saturday’s victory, the Gators have now won for just the second time in their last nine meetings with the Hurricanes.