November 25, 2016 - by

First and 10: No. 14 Florida State vs. No. 15 Florida

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – For the first time in a dozen years, Florida State and Florida will meet under the lights at Doak Campbell Stadium. Saturday will mark the 61stedition of the FSU-UF rivalry, and, as usual, each team enters with much to play for – both in this current season and in the context of history. Here are all the names, numbers and notes you need to know before the Seminoles take on the Gators in the Fresh From Florida Sunshine Showdown.

 

No. 14 Florida State (8-3) vs. No. 15 Florida (9-2)

When/Where: Saturday, 8 p.m./Doak Campbell Stadium (79,560) in Tallahassee, Fla.

TV/Radio: ABC/Seminole IMG Radio Network; FSU Broadcast Live Stream

Florida State injury report:

Out For Game
OL      Kareem Are (concussion)
DB      Calvin Brewton (concussion)
LB      Josh Brown (foot)
DB      Marcus Lewis (hip)
OL      Corey Martinez (knee)
DE      Jalen Wilkerson (concussion)

Out Indefinitely
DE      Keith Bryant (foot)
DB      Derwin James (knee)
RB      Johnathan Vickers (concussion)

Out For Season
DB      Nate Andrews (right pectoral)
WR     George Campbell (core muscle)
OL      Landon Dickerson (knee)
RB      Amir Rasul (shoulder)
DE      Adam Torres (leg)
WR     Jesus Wilson (foot)



Florida Gators

Coach: Jim McElwain (18-6 in two seasons at Florida, 40-22 overall)

Last game: Florida stuffed LSU on back-to-back plays from its own 1-yard line – including fourth-and-goal on the last play of the game – to preserve a goal-line stand and emerge with a 16-10 victory in Baton Rouge, La.

Last game vs. Florida State: Dalvin Cook ran for 183 yards and two touchdowns and DeMarcus Walker blocked a late field goal as FSU rolled past Florida, 27-2, on Nov. 29, 2015. It marked the third straight win for the Seminoles in Gainesville.

Florida vs. Florida State all-time: UF leads the all-time series 34-24-2 is 13-12-1 against the Seminoles in Gainesville. The Seminoles, however, have won three straight and five of the last six against Florida.

Florida State vs. Florida since 1990:
1990: No. 8 FLORIDA STATE 45, No. 6 Florida 30

1991: No. 5 FLORIDA 14, No. 3 Florida State 9

1992: No. 3 FLORIDA STATE 45, No. 6 Florida 24

1993: No. 1 Florida State 33, No. 7 FLORIDA 21

1994: No. 7 FLORIDA STATE 31, No. 4 Florida 31

1995: No. 7 Florida State 23, No. 5 Florida 17 (Sugar Bowl)

1995: No. 3 FLORIDA 35, No. 6 Florida State 24

1996: No. 2 FLORIDA STATE 24, No. 1 Florida 24

1997: No. 3 Florida 52, No. 1 Florida State 20 (Sugar Bowl)

1997: No. 10 FLORIDA 32, No. 2 Florida State 29

1998: No. 5 FLORIDA STATE 23, No. 4 Florida 12

1999: No. 1 Florida State 30, No. 3 FLORIDA 23

2000: No. 3 FLORIDA STATE 30, No. 4 Florida 7

2001: No. 4 FLORIDA 37, No. 21 Florida State 13

2002: No. 23 FLORIDA STATE 23, No. 15 Florida 15

2003: No. 9 Florida State 38, No. 11 FLORIDA 34

2004: Florida 20, No. 10 FLORIDA STATE 13

2005: No. 19 FLORIDA 34, No. 24 Florida State 7

2006: No. 4 Florida 21, FLORIDA STATE 14

2007: No. 12 FLORIDA 45, Florida State 12

2008: No. 2 Florida 45, No. 23 FLORIDA STATE 15

2009: No. 1 FLORIDA 37, Florida State 10

2010: No. 21 FLORIDA STATE 31, Florida 7

2011: Florida State 21, FLORIDA 7

2012: No. 6 Florida 37, No. 10 FLORIDA STATE 26

2013: No. 2 Florida State 37, FLORIDA 7

2014: No. 3 FLORIDA STATE 24, Florida 19

2015: No. 13 Florida State 27, No. 12 FLORIDA 2

2016: No. 14 FLORIDA STATE vs. No. 15 Florida, Saturday, 8 p.m.

 

  • Florida State can make history on Saturday. Not only would a win over the Gators match the school’s longest winning streak against UF (four, 1977-80 and 1987-90), but it would also mark the first time that FSU has gone a perfect 8-0 against rivals Miami and Florida in a four-year span.
  • More immediately, both schools need a win Saturday, not just for annual bragging rights but also for better postseason positioning. The Seminoles are in the mix for an appearance in a New Year’s Six Bowl, and a win over the 15th-ranked Gators would be a nice, late resume booster. UF, meanwhile, is hoping that, despite already having two losses, victories over FSU this week and then Alabama in next week’s SEC Championship Game would be enough to vault the Gators into the College Football Playoff.
  • Florida State has another opportunity to extend its run of dominance in the state of Florida. The Seminoles are 16-1 against in-state opponents since coach Jimbo Fisher took over in 2010. That includes a 7-0 mark against Miami, 5-1 against Florida, 3-0 against South Florida and 1-0 against Bethune-Cookman.
  • The Gators boast one of the nation’s top defenses, with top-5 rankings in total defense, points allowed per game, and passing defense, and a No. 1 national ranking in the red zone, where they allow opponents to score on just 65.38 percent of their trips. UF, however, has struggled on offense. That’s due in part to injuries – the Gators lost starting quarterback Luke Del Rio to an injury earlier this season – but UF is averaging just 25.2 points per game this season. FSU’s defense, meanwhile, is battle-tested, having played against three of the top 20 offenses in college football. (No. 1 Louisville, No. 7 USF, No. 18 Clemson)
  • The Seminoles will play with heavy hearts this week after Monk Bonasorte, a former FSU All-American defensive back and senior athletics administrator, passed away earlier this week after a year-long battle with cancer. FSU will wear helmet stickers that read “MB42,” and the 42-yard lines at Doak Campbell Stadium will be painted black in Bonasorte’s memory.

     


One offensive and defensive player from each team who could swing the game

Florida: UF’s offense hasn’t been dynamic for much of the season, but when the Gators do strike for a big play, it usually comes via receiver Antonio Callaway. With 37 catches for 545 yards, Callaway is by far the Gators’ leading receiver. His season-long reception of 78 yards was also UF’s longest of the season until teammate Tyrie Cleveland shocked LSU with a 98-yard catch and run last week.

Like most of FSU’s opponents, the Gators will likely look to take away Dalvin Cookand force Deondre Francois to make plays with his arm. In that case, cornerback Jalen Tabor – one of the few UF stars still healthy and expected to play – will play a key role. Tabor leads the Gators with four interceptions and is projected as a high pick in next year’s NFL draft.

Florida State: With usual left guard Kareem Are ruled out with a concussion, redshirt freshman Cole Minshew will likely be in for the biggest test of his career against UF’s stout defensive front. The 6-5, 338-pound lineman has drawn strong reviews since his arrival in 2015, and, after dealing with injuries over the last two seasons, appears ready to make an impact.

He’s an obvious choice, but given everything surrounding this game, expect DeMarcus Walker to make it one to remember. Walker is a Jacksonville native who grew up in the heart of Gator country, and the senior will be playing UF in his last home game at Florida State. Walker has been at his best against the Gators, too – he had nine tackles, 3.5 sacks, a forced fumble and a blocked field goal last year in Gainesville.

First and 10: No. 14 Florida State vs. No. 15 Florida


Total offense: FSU: 482.1 YPG (25th nationally); UF: 367.3 YPG (102nd)

Scoring offense:  FSU: 35.6 PPG (31st); UF: 25.2 PPG (89th)

Passing offense: FSU: 284.5 YPG (26th); UF: 217.3 YPG (82nd)

Rushing offense: FSU: 202.7 YPG (41st); UF: 150.0 (97th)

Total defense: FSU: 370.8 YPG (36th); UF: 282.1 YPG (5th)

Scoring defense: FSU: 25.5 PPG (48th); UF: 13.0 PPG (3rd)

Passing defense: FSU: 232.9 YPG (73rd); UF: 160.0 YPG (4th)

Rushing defense: FSU: 137.9 YPG (36th); UF: 122.1 YPG (20th)

Number of note, courtesy of Pro Football Focus: Florida State’s top three pass-rushers – DeMarcus Walker, Brian Burns and Josh Sweat – have combined for 29 sacks this year. That’s almost as many as Florida’s entire team, which has produced 31 sacks. FSU leads the nation with 41 total sacks.

“It’s huge now. I mean, this is the old rivalry — the rivalry that to a lot of folks has meant so much, because in the heyday of getting Florida State on an even keel. It’s the 19th time both teams have played when they’re both in the top 15, and they’ve got great tradition, both teams. I mean, it’s one of the great rivalries in all of college football and one you’re very blessed to ever be a part of.” – FSU coach Jimbo Fisher on the rivalry with the Gators

“Here’s what I like, is the guy can run behind his pads the way he’s built, and yet, he can give you that side-to-side jump cut and get to top speed so quickly. You can’t blink. You’ve got to keep your head up and you’ve got to wrap this guy up. The big thing is, we’ve got to get people around the ball because he’s going to make some guys miss and that’s what makes him so special.” – UF coach Jim McElwain on Dalvin Cook


“The thing I’m most impressed with is how resilient they’ve been, considering they lost 63-20 in Week 3 with a freshman quarterback who’s been beaten up what seems like every week. So when I think about 2016 Florida State, I’ll think of resiliency. From the play of the quarterback to the fact that the team didn’t shut it down after the Louisville loss.” – ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit when asked for his thoughts on the Seminoles.

“If we could go play that tomorrow, we’d go play tomorrow. It’s Florida. Everybody knows it’s the game you (mark) on the calendar for – Florida week. If we can’t get pumped up for this week, you’re at the wrong university.” – Dalvin Cook on playing the Gators

“It’d be sensational.” – FSU defensive end DeMarcus Walker on what it would mean to beat the Gators in all four years of his career.

  • Saturday’s game will pit the nation’s top red-zone offense (Florida State, 96.1 scoring percentage) and top red-zone defense (Florida, 65.4 percent).
  • Dalvin Cook enters the game needing 436 yards to become the ACC’s all-time leading rusher. Cook is currently third with 4,166 yards. NC State’s Ted Brown (1975-78) is first with 4,602.
  • Deondre Francois leads all freshmen quarterbacks in passing yards per game with 271.8. He also ranks ninth nationally in ESPN’s QBR metric.
  • Saturday marks the third time in seven years under Fisher that FSU and Florida meet as ranked opponents. FSU is 1-1 in the previous two contests with a loss in 2012 and a win in 2015.
  • Florida is one of three teams to hold four FBS opponents under 200 yards passing in a game this season. Alabama and Michigan are the others.
  • The Gators have scored three defensive touchdowns this season, which is the 11th-most in the nation.
  • Florida punter Johnny Townsend is one of the best in college football. His 47.8 yards per punt average is third-most in the nation.

 

Florida State is looking to win four straight over Florida for the fourth straight year, something that’s only happened twice before in school history. The first was from 1977-80, early in the Bobby Bowden era. This broadcast of the 1980 game is well worth a watch, and also features plenty of in-game footage of Monk Bonasorte. Bonasorte is a safety wearing No. 42.

Corey Clark of the Tallahassee Democrat writes that the FSU-Florida rivalry is the best in college football over the last 25 years.

Ryan S. Clark of Warchant.com has an in-depth profile of one of the quietest Seminoles, senior fullback Freddie Stevenson.

Brendan Sonnone of Noles247 takes a look at Tarvarus McFadden’s improvement over the course of the season.

Garry Smits of the Florida Times-Union details the Gators’ plans to stop Dalvin Cook.

Jared Shanker of ESPN.com says there’s much at stake in this year’s round of ACC-SEC rivalry games.

 

On paper, it looks like Florida State has a lot going for it in this game. FSU’s defense should expect to hold its own against Florida’s offense, and, despite the Gators having an outstanding defense, Dalvin Cook and his cohorts look capable of doing just enough to get a victory. Look no further than last year’s contest in Gainesville – a 27-2 FSU victory that was closer than the final score indicated – for the blueprint.

However, that doesn’t mean that this will be easy. It’s hard to beat a rival in four straight seasons (there’s a reason FSU has only done it twice before against UF), and college football often has a way of producing unexpected results. That’s not to say FSU shouldn’t expect to win. In Cook, the Seminoles will have the best player on the field. And they’ve also got a pass rush that has found its stride over the last few weeks and ought to make things awfully difficult on UF’s Austin Appleby.

If FSU’s offensive line can hold up its end of the bargain and keep Deondre Francois upright, the Seminoles will likely be celebrating another win over their arch-rivals on Saturday.

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