Then Florida got points — from its defense.
First, senior Duke Dawson secured the ball off a tip and raced 48 yards to paydirt; then, one drive later, freshman C.J. Henderson hauled in an overthrow and sprinted 41 yards down the same AT&T Stadium sideline for six.
The pick-six was Dawson’s third in his long Florida career — on his third career interception, too. (Dawson previously pick-sixed Eastern Michigan in 2014 and Arkansas in 2016.) For Henderson, it’s essential the first play of his young Florida career.
The dual, dueling pick-sixes staked Florida to a 17-10 lead, and both came off Wilton Speight, whom Michigan immediately benched for John O’Korn.
Michigan would get a long ball on freshman corner Marco Wilson and turn that into a field goal later in the half, but Florida’s defense generating 14 points was enough to provide the Gators with a 17-13 halftime lead.