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Michigan clobbers disinterested Florida team in Citrus Bowl

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Throughout the off-season, the University of Florida will have to answer one final question about its 2015 season.

Did the Gators check out before their final game of the season?

Michigan overwhelmed Florida  41-7, for the Gators’ third consecutive defeat Friday in the Citrus Bowl. UF was outscored 97-24 in those three games.

Never has the Gators’ defense looked so listless, though. Michigan scored the game’s final 34 points and ran up 504 yards against the Gators’ defense. Before the game, four Gators had declared they were going to the NFL – although there really isn’t a lot of advantage to doing it before the game, leaving fans to wonder whether Florida was really focused on a bowl in nearby Orlando.

Florida, 10-1 at one point this season, finished 10-4.

“They kicked our rumps in,” Gators coach Jim McElwain said. “They took it to us up front.”

Michigan quarterback Jack Rudock hit 20 of 31 passes for 278 yards and three touchdowns. De’Veon Smith rushed for 109 yards and receiver Jehu Chesson caught five passes for 118 yards.

The players who declared for the NFL didn’t play particularly well, either. Kelvin Taylor rushed for only 50 yards, Vernon Hargreaves gave up a touchdown pass and Demarcus Robinson caught only one pass for 17 yards.

Michigan finished the season 10-3 in Jim Harbaugh‘s first season.

The Gators enter 2016 still searching for their quarterback. Treon Harris hit only eight of 21 for 146 yards.

“The expectation is that we cannot take our foot off the gas,” McElwain said.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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