Can Florida finish off their on-and-off season on a high note in the 2022 Las Vegas Bowl? How will Jack Miller fare in his debut start? The Gators do not have a lot of key players playing in this one due to the Draft and portal, but can Billy Napier find a way to win against a solid Pac-12 team?
TV Schedule: December 17th, 2:30 P.M on ESPN
Location: Allegiant Stadium, Las Vegas
The Oregon State Beavers finished the regular season with a 9-3 record to make the 2022 Las Vegas Bowl. They lost to Washington State, Utah, and USC. The Beavers finished the regular season with a win over rival Oregon. They were able to prevent their in-state rival from reaching the Pac-12 championship game with the win. They had an amazing comeback in this one, as they were down 31-10 with 4 minutes left in the third.
The Beavers had a very solid season which culminated in their coach, Jonathan Smith getting a new contract of around 30 million over six years. That is an annual value of 4.85 million dollars.
The Florida Gators go into this bowl game with a record of 6-6. As I have said many times, they have had a very up-and-down season. As expected, Anthony Richardson will not be playing in this game after declaring for the NFL Draft.
Florida will be missing a lot of different players due to transfers and NFL Draft declarations. As mentioned previously, Jack Miller will be drawing the start at quarterback. Miller is a transfer from Ohio State. I wouldn’t really expect a lot of Miller, as I could see the Gators go to the running game a lot in this one.
Along with Richardson, the Gators will not have one of their better wide receivers among other players, Justin Shorter. Shorter had 577 yards and 29 receptions on the season.
Montrell Johnson and Trevor Etienne will both be available for this game, as playing in this one is best for their career (as it is best for Richardson and Shorter to declare for the NFL Draft). This running back duo will have to carry for this Gators offense. The rushing attack has been one of the strengths and its’ success has been key to Florida’s overall offensive success.
Florida’s running game will be challenged by Oregon State’s solid run defense. They only allow 109 rushing yards per game. That is good for the 15th best in the country. Additionally, this offense is pretty solid behind a running attack that is 26th in the country with 197 yards per game.
The rushing attack is led by Damien Martinez. Ben Gulbranson is the starting QB. Look for the rushing attack to lead the way for the Beavers offense in this one. Gulbranson will have his moments, but look for this team to expose a weak run defense from the Gators. Florida has allowed almost 200 yards per game on the ground this season.
2022 Las Vegas Bowl Prediction: Florida: 14 Oregon State: 31
Florida’s lack of passing game will be the reason they do not win this one. The rushing combo of Johnson and Etienne will have their moments against the Beavers’ defense. Still, the lack of the passing game and Oregon State having a solid offense of their own will be the reason they are triumphant over the Gators.
Due to the amount of talent that won’t be in this game for the Gators, I don’t really see a way they win this one. Still, it’s worth mentioning a win over a ranked team after losing two straight (including a loss over 5-win Vandy) would be very in theme for this season.