Despite rumors that he plans to transfer, Florida QB Jeff Driskel came off the bench and kept the Gators alive to win the Birmingham Bowl.
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With soon-to-be transfer QB Jeff Driskel coming off the bench, the Florida Gators beat the East Carolina Pirates 28-20 to win the Birmingham Bowl.
The Pirates struck first with a TD pass from QB Shane Carden to WR Justin Hardy to give them a 7-0 lead, but the Gators managed to tie the game up even without their offense thanks to a pick-6 off Carden by Brian Poole just four minutes later to make the game 7-7. The Florida Gators started the game with QB Treon Harris, who led the Gators on a pair of scoring drives in the second quarter, first with a TD run by Adam Lane, and then on a 13-yard pass to Brandon Powell to give the Gators a 21-7 halftime lead.
In the third quarter the Pirates tried to get back into the game on a 2nd TD pass from Shane Carden, this time to Cam Worthy, but the Gators answered just a few plays later with an astounding 86-yard TD catch and run from Harris to Ahmad Fulwood to give them a 28-14 lead. Unfortunately for the Gators, Harris was injured shortly after and had to be taken out of the game – where he was then replaced by former starter Jeff Driskel. With 8 completions and 48 yards rushing, Drisekl didn’t extend the lead, but he stayed efficient and kept the ball in the hands of RB Adam Lane – who finished with 105 yards on 16 carries. The Pirates were only able to add two FGs through the final 25 minutes of the game to make the final score 28-20.
With the win the Gators finished the season at 7-5, their first bowl win since 2011.
With the loss, East Carolina finished the season 8-5. The school has never won back-to-back bowl games since starting their football program in 1965.