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8 Position Battles to Watch For In the New Year’s Six Bowl Games

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5. Florida DL Jachai Polite vs. Michigan QB Shea Patterson (Peach Bowl)

Jachai Polite (99) is the anchor to Florida’s pass rush. The Gators need him to come up big in their Peach Bowl matchup against Michigan (Gator Country). 

Lost in a season in which Florida’s defense finished sixth in the SEC in yards per play allowed and sixth in first downs allowed, was the growth of junior DL Jachai Polite.

In his first full season as a starter, Polite proved to be a menace on the Gators’ defensive line, racking up the second-most tackles for loss in the SEC (18), the third-most sacks in the SEC (11), and the most forced fumbles (5) out of any defensive player in the country.

Polite’s ability to get after the quarterback presents an intriguing matchup against Michigan’s QB Shea Patterson, who is ostensibly a different passer when pressure is applied.

According to Pro Football Focus, Patterson posted a 124.4 Passer Rating with a clean pocket this season, the 8th highest rating in the FBS. Meanwhile, Patterson’s Passer Rating dropped to 89.6 without a clean pocket.

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