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)
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.