SEC bowl notes: Florida vs. Michigan

The Outback Bowl features a match-up between the Florida Gators (8-4, 6-2 SEC) and the Wolverines of Michigan (9-3, 6-2 Big Ten). The game will be held Wednesday in Tampa's Raymond James Stadium (65,657) with kickoff scheduled at 11 am (EST). ESPN will televise the contest.

Florida Gators

Head Coach: Ron Zook (Miami, Ohio, 1976)
Record at Florida: 8-4 (.667) / 1st season
Overall Record: 8-4 (.667) / 1st season
In Bowl Games: First appearance

National Rankings: #22 - AP / #20 - USA Today-ESPN
Florida in Bowl Games: 14-15 (.483)
Florida in Outback Bowls: First Appearance
Last Bowl Appearance: 2002 Orange (def. Maryland, 56-23)
Formations: Offense - Multiple Defense - 4-3 Multiple

Key Florida Players

QB Rex Grossman (6-1, 220, Jr., Bloomington, Ind.)
Ranks second in SEC history in career pass efficiency (147.25) ... Completed 266 of 462 (both are second in UF history) for 3,079 yards with 20 TDs and 17 INTs ... Has a career-best 118 consecutive pass attempts without an interception ... After throwing 14 INTs in first seven games, has thrown just three in last five games.

WR Taylor Jacobs (6-0, 200, Sr., Monticello, Fla.)
Unanimous first-team All-SEC selection ... Even though missed two games with injury, led SEC in receptions (64) and receiving yards (1,000) ... Was one of 10 semifinalists for the Biletnikoff Award, given to nation's top receiver ... Named SEC Offensive Player of the Week for his efforts against UAB earlier this season (8 catches for 246 yards, 2 TDs).

CB Keiwan Ratliff (5-11, 182, Jr., Columbus, Ohio)
First-team All-SEC by Associated Press and The Sporting News and second-team All-SEC by the league's coaches ... Logged 52 total tackles (49 solos) with one interception and nine pass deflections ... Named SEC Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts against Kentucky (returned INT for score and intercepting 2-point conversion for score).

LB Byron Hardmon (6-1, 230, Sr., Jacksonville, Fla.)
Second-team AP All-SEC ... Led Gators with 156 total tackles (98 solos) ... Had career high 19 stops against South Carolina ... Had at least 10 tackles in every game this season ... Had team-best 15 stops against Georgia ... Has tied or led UF defense in solo tackles in nine of 12 games.

Florida Team Notes

  • Florida is attempting to win nine games for the 13th consecutive season, a streak that would be longest in the nation ...
  • Gators are making their SEC-record 10th January bowl game appearance since 1993 ...
  • The Gators have been to a bowl game every year since the 1990 season ...
  • In two bowl games, RB Earnest Graham has rushed for 285 yards on 31 carries and 3 TDs (149 vs. Maryland; 136 vs. Miami).

Michigan Wolverines

Head Coach: Lloyd Carr (Northern Michigan, 1968)
Record at Michigan: 75-23 (.765) / 8th season
Overall Record: 75-23 (.765) / 8th season
In Bowl Games: 4-3 (.571)

Conference: Big Ten
National Rankings: #12 - AP / #11 - USA Today-ESPN / #11 - BCS
Michigan in Bowl Games: 17-16 (.515)
Michigan in Outback Bowls: 2-1 (.667)
Last Bowl Appearance: 2002 Citrus (lost to Tennessee, 17-45)
Last Outback Bowl Appearance: 1997 Outback (lost to Alabama, 14-17)
Formations: Offense - Multiple Defense - 4-3

2002 Michigan Schedule/Results:

8/31, Washington, W, 31-29
9/7, Western Michigan, W, 35-12
9/14, at Notre Dame L, 23-25
9/21, Utah, W, 10-7
9/28, at Illinois W, 45-28
10/12, Penn State, W, 27-24 (OT)
10/19, at Purdue W, 23-21
10/26, Iowa, L, 9-34
11/2, Michigan State, W, 49-3
11/9, at Minnesota W, 41-24
11/16, Wisconsin, W, 21-14
11/23, at Ohio State L, 9-14

Key Michigan Players

CB Marlin Jackson (6-1, 182, So., Sharon, Pa.)
Consensus first-team All-Big Ten selection ... Second in the Big Ten in passes defensed with 18 pass deflections and three interceptions ... Also credited with 50 tackles (38 solos) ... Set school record with six pass deflections against Washington.

OG David Baas (6-5, 299, So., Sarasota, Fla.)
Consensus first-team All-Big Ten selection ... Started every game for the Wolverines at left guard ... Played in six games and started once as a redshirt freshman in 2001.

Michigan Team Notes

  • Wolverines have been in a post-season bowl every year since the 1975 season ...
  • Michigan has played in six straight January bowls ...
  • This season, Michigan led the Big Ten in 3rd-down conversions with a 46.8 percent success rate ...
  • The Wolverines also led the league in sacks (38 for -233 yards) ...
  • QB John Navarre was led the Big Ten in passing yards (2,586) ...
  • Navarre was 227-of-412 with 20 TDs and seven INTs.

Series/Game Notes

  • Series Record: First Meeting
  • Gators are 7-2 (.777) all-time against the Big Ten (2-0 vs. Illinois, 0-1 vs. Indiana, 1-0 vs. Iowa, 0-1 vs. Michigan State, 2-0 vs. Northwestern and 2-0 vs. Penn State) ...
  • Michigan is 17-5-1 vs. the SEC (2-1 vs. Alabama, 1-0 vs. Arkansas, 1-1 vs. Auburn, 1-1 vs. Georgia, 1-0 vs. Kentucky, 1-0 vs. Ole Miss, 1-1 vs. South Carolina, 0-1 vs. Tennessee and 9-0-1 vs. Vanderbilt) ...
  • The Wolverines are 5-3 against the SEC in bowl games ... Michigan has played its last four bowl games against SEC teams, going 3-1 ...
  • While defensive backs coach at Ohio State (1988-90), current Gator coach Ron Zook was 0-3 against the Wolverines.

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