Michigan Defeats Florida 41-7 In The 70th Annual Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl
The Orlando Citrus Bowl stadium has been good to Michigan quarterback Jake Rudock.
Rudock last played in the venue in 2010 when he led St. Thomas Aquinas to a FHSAA state championship. Today, he led the Wolverines (10-3, 6-3 Big Ten) to the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl championship with a 41-7 victory over Florida (10-4, 7-2 SEC). The win — which came in front of 63,113, a record for the stadium after reconstruction — moved Michigan’s all-time record in the game to 4-1. Rudock was named the game’s most valuable player after throwing for 278 yards and three touchdowns .
“This is definitely what I wanted it to be,” Rudock said. “Anytime you come out with a win and the defense also, they only gave up 7 points. As an offense, you can always work with only giving up seven points.”
After the game was tied 7-7 in the first quarter, Michigan went on a 34-0 run to close out the game.
“I’ve got to tell you, I’m proud of that football team in that locker room,” Florida head coach Jim McElwain said. “Obviously, we didn’t play well today, and I’ve got to give Michigan all the credit in the world. They took it to us, beat us up front, did a great job in the red area, kept us off balance, and I think more than anything, played with a pad level.”
Florida finished with just 273 yards of total offense.
Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh was all smiles after the game.
“I’d say this was the best game we played all year,” Harbaugh said. “It was a great team win. Like I said, I don’t think I’ve ever seen our offense play better. And our defense was magnificent. And then special teams as well. I mean, we were darned nervous about the Florida return game. And they are good at it. And we covered the kicks. I think we only had one punt, but the kickoff covers was outstanding. We made all our kicks. We executed in every phase on the special teams and was really pleased. It was a great team win.”
This is the second time that Michigan and Florida have met in the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl, the first coming in 2008 with a 41-35 Michigan win.
“They took it to us,” McElwain said. “Yeah, I’m disappointed. We’re all disappointed. But you also got to learn from disappointment and we will and, you know, give them credit. They took it to us.”
Rudock leaves Michigan after just one year, but the Iowa transfer will remain a part of Wolverine history: he’s just the second UM quarterback to throw for 3,000 yards in a season.
“I’m just really excited about what we were able to do,” Rudock said. “Ten wins is no small feat in college football. It’s very difficult to get there. And I’m just so thankful that we were able to do that as a team.”