By RICKY LINDSAY, Editor-in-Chief
The first season of the Jim Harbaugh era ended in a big way.
Michigan throttled Florida 41-7 Friday in the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl for its 10th win of the season.
With the win, Harbaugh becomes the third coach in Michigan history to win 10 games in his first season. The two others were Fielding Yost (1901) and Brady Hoke (2011).
Jake Rudock led the Wolverines to victory in his final collegiate game, completing 65 percent of his passes for 278 yards and three touchdowns. Late in the fourth quarter, the fifth-year senior became the second quarterback in Michigan history to pass for 3,000 yards in a season, joining John Navarre (2003), who passed for 3331 yards.
Michigan completely dominated the Gators. It outgained them by 230 yards and had twice as many first downs (28 to 14).
Quarterback Treon Harris and NFL-bound running back Kelvin Taylor were non-factors for Florida.
Harris completed only 8-of-21 pass attempts for 146 yards and an interception, and rushed for a team-high 55 yards. The Gators played four quarterbacks in the bowl game, including the sophomore Harris.
Taylor, who is forgoing his senior season, stumbled in the Citrus Bowl, rushing for a mere 50 yards on 11 carries.
De’Veon Smith led a rushing attack that totaled 225 yards. The junior rushed for 109 yards on 25 carries, while Drake Johnson and Sione Houma each rushed for a touchdown.
Redshirt junior Jehu Chesson continued serving as one of Rudock’s top targets, catching five passes for 118 yards, including a wide-open 31-yard touchdown in the second quarter. True freshman Grant Perry caught five passes for 51 yards and a touchdown.
Defensive backs Channing Stribling and Jarrod Wilson each grabbed an interception. Stribling picked off Johnny Townsend on the game’s opening drive, while Wilson intercepted Harris in the end zone in the second quarter.
Michigan finishes the season 10-3. It’s the team’s best season since winning the Sugar Bowl in 2011.