Louisville vs. Florida: Mike Gillislee Will Explode in Final Game for Gators

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IJanuary 1, 2013

Nov 24, 2012; Tallahassee, FL, USA; Florida Gators running back Mike Gillislee (23) carries the ball against the Florida State Seminoles during the first half at Doak Campbell Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports
Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports

After rushing for over 1,100 yards and 10 touchdowns this season, Florida running back Mike Gillislee will finish off his senior campaign in style against No. 21 Louisville in the 2013 Sugar Bowl.

Gillislee, who finally got the opportunity to be the lead back this season, has been a big part of the No. 3 Gators' success. They've mainly won with their defense, but you have to wonder what the offense would look like without Gillislee, given that the quarterback situation hasn't been spectacular.

While Florida quarterbacks have combined to average 6.7 yards per pass attempt (tied for 86th in the nation, via CFBStats.com) and post 12 passing touchdowns this season, Gillislee has accounted for 11 touchdowns himself (10 rushing, one receiving).

Florida has averaged 26.8 points per contest (76th in the country), but it's hard to imagine the Gators beating ranked opponents LSU and Florida State without the 5'11", 209-pound back from Deland. He rushed for a combined 286 yards and four scores in those two games.

Now, the senior gets to face Louisville's pliable run defense in the Sugar Bowl in his final game with the Gators. Expect him to go out with a bang.

The Cardinals have allowed 4.33 yards per carry this season, tied for 72nd in the country. In the 45-26 loss to unranked Syracuse on Nov. 10, they allowed the Big East's second-leading rusher, Jerome Smith, to gash them for 144 yards, including a 35-yard touchdown.

Given what Gillislee did to Florida State's proud run defense to end the regular season (140 yards, two touchdowns), he figures to have a huge game against Louisville on the grand stage. The Gators limited starting quarterback Jeff Driskel in 2012 and they certainly aren't making any resolutions to change that strategy at the beginning of the new year.

After making a big impact for Florida this season, expect Mike Gillislee to go out on a high note, as he deserves.


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