ORLANDO – Someone forgot to tell Michigan that this was supposed to be a struggle between defenses.
Jake Rudock shrugged off an injury and threw for 278 yards and three touchdowns as No. 17 Michigan overwhelmed No. 19 Florida during a 41-7 victory Friday in the Citrus Bowl.
"I would say this was the best game we've played all year," Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said. "I don't think I've ever seen our offense play better. Our defense was magnificent. ... The three-and-outs, the stops, the play on third down, everybody playing great team defense."
Rudock was knocked out of Michigan's regular-season finale against Ohio State because of a left shoulder injury, but quickly dismissed any doubt about his health in the Wolverines' first bowl victory since 2012.
Michigan (10-3) had three touchdown drives of at least 70 yards and finished with 503 yards of offense against a Florida defense that entered the game ranked sixth nationally.
Rudock credited the coaching staff's game plan and scouting efforts.
"We understood how they played — they play fast and they play physical," Rudock said. "I had an easy job. I just had to get it out there to them."
He also had lots of support on the ground from tailback De'Veon Smith, who finished with 109 yards rushing.
Leading by 10 at halftime, Michigan scored on each of its first two possessions in the third quarter to take a 31-7 lead.
The Wolverines defense played without injured safety Jabrill Peppers but still held the Gators (10-4) to 28 yards in the second half.
"It was a case of getting your rump kicked in," Florida coach Jim McElwain said.