By: Alex Krutchik, Correspondent
Miami, Fla. (www.franchisesportsonline.net) – First, Michigan Heisman candidate Jabrill Peppers gets hurt during warm-ups. The, Chief Osceola fell off his horse, Renegade. What else could happen in the 2016 Orange Bowl?
To sum it up, things got weird before the game even started. Therefore, it makes sense that this Orange Bowl also ended in a wild fashion.
Florida State came out with the quickest start we’ve seen all year. Dalvin Cook busted through for two straight first downs, picking up 40 yards on those two carries. A few plays later, he busted through for a 2-yard touchdown.
The Seminoles forced a Michigan punt the next drive, but Nyqwan Murray muffed the punt on the 1-yard line, giving Michigan the ball at the goal line. However, Florida State held their ground, limiting Michigan to a field goal.
Later on Nyqwon “Noonie” Murray made up for the muffed punt, with a 92-yard touchdown reception. It was the longest touchdown pass in Orange bowl history, and the sixth-longest pass in FSU history.
FSU quarterback Deondre Francois went down after a hard hit, but returned two plays later. Michigan tight end Jake Butt also exited the game with an injury and hasn’t returned.
Michigan had been held to 83 yards of total offense at the half. While Florida State had gained 255. The Michigan defense averages 257 yards allowed per game.
The second half didn’t bode so well for the Seminoles. They started with two three-and-outs, and gave up a pick-six to linebacker Mike McCray. Suddenly it was 20-15, Seminoles.
To start the fourth quarter, Francois ran it in for a 3-yard touchdown to make it a 12-point lead.
Florida State kept their lead all game until, with 1:57 left in the game, Michigan running back Chris Evans ran for a 30-yard touchdown. Then quarterback Wilton Speight completed a pass for the two-point conversion to put Michigan up 30-27.
On the ensuing kickoff, true freshman Keith Gavin fielded the kick in the endzone, which teammates thought should’ve been a touchback. Teammate Kermit Whitfield yelled at him to kneel it, but Gavin brought the ball out of the endzone—teammates still yelling at him—and returned it for 66-yards to put the Seminoles in prime scoring position.
Dalvin Cook ran for 21-yards, and Deondre Francois completed a pass to Nyqwan Murray to put FSU back on top with :36 seconds remaining in the game. Murray and Francois each finished with two touchdowns.
Michigan then block’s the PAT and ran it all the back to their endzone. Since it was on an extra point, it only counted for two-points. FSU regained the lead, 33-32.
With :36 seconds still remaining in the game, and Michigan at their own 25-yard line. FSU’s defense didn’t let them gain a single yard. On fourth and 10, Wilton Speight’s pass was tipped by defensive back Calvin Brewton and then intercepted by freshman defensive back Carlos Becker.
The last time FSU won the Orange Bowl, they went on to win the National Championship the following year. With the talent they have returning next year, that goal may not be too far off. The first challenge toward reaching that goal will be against No. 1 Alabama on Labor Day Weekend.