Nov. 30, 2013
Seminoles.com Managing Editor
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — No. 2 Florida State’s three biggest rivals have proven to be no match for the Seminoles in 2013.
Just ask the most recent one, Florida, who FSU clobbered, 37-7, Saturday in the most lopsided margin of victory by the ‘Noles in The Swamp ever.
With that outcome, the history books will forever show FSU (12-0) outscored Clemson, Miami and Florida 129-35 in this memorable season — a statistical sign of the domination in those trio of games only made more impressive by the fact the Tigers/Hurricanes/Gators offensive output would not have collectively been enough to earn a win in any of the Seminoles’ games this year.
Thirty-seven points scored against the Gators was a season low for the ’Noles. Let that reverberate inside your brain for a second.
Of course the triumph over UF (4-8) wasn’t just another victory over a bitter foe. Like the Clemson win, it was another example of Jameis Winston’s ability to go into a hostile environment and play like an eventual Heisman Trophy winner. Like the Miami win, it was another example of the Seminoles’ current dominance over the prospect-rich state of Florida.
All together, the FSU senior class that helped turned the Seminoles around under Jimbo Fisher’s leadership will eventually exit the program as the most successful class ever against Miami and Florida with a 7-1 record. Three wins over Clemson comprise their legacy as well.
Speaking of legacies, Winston continues to alter the record books on his own while he writes his.
In his first game ever in this FSU-UF series, Winston further made the case why he should be considered the front-runner for the Heisman Trophy.
Already a finalist for the Manning, Davey O’Brien and Maxwell awards, Winston unleashed another vintage performance in his young but stellar career. Against the best defense he has ever seen, the Bessamer, Ala. native broke Chris Weinke’s school record for most touchdowns tossed in a single season and moved to within one score of tying Sam Bradford (36) for most touchdown throws by a freshman in college football history.
If that wasn’t enough, Winston set the ACC record for most passing yardage in a season and moved to within a few hundred yards of setting the NCAA record in that category.
Florida learned a difficult lesson that Clemson and Miami experienced earlier this season: not only is Winston automatic, but he’s got a bevy of weapons at his disposal.
Kelvin Benjamin generated more receiving yardage by himself (212) than Florida did in total offense (193). The 6-foot-5 redshirt sophomore now has 838 yards this season with 12 touchdowns. Rashad Greene now has 914 yards and nine touchdowns, Kenny Shaw is up to 855 yards and five touchdowns and Nick O’Leary, who caught everything thrown his way against the Gators, now has 509 yards and seven touchdowns.
Weapons on weapons on weapons and that’s not even factoring in the three-headed monster at tailback, that featured a Devonta Freeman 11-yard touchdown run against the Gators and the grind-it-out running of James Wilder, Jr. in the second half that beat up the gassed UF defense.
As was the case against Clemson and Miami and all but about two quarters against Boston College, FSU’s defense was downright dominant.
The Gators finished with those 193 yards of total offense but 133 of them came on a 50-yard first-quarter run and the 83-yard lone scoring drive. The Seminoles’ defense talks the talk and walks the walk of a championship-caliber unit that SEC schools have utilized to win seven consecutive national titles.
And with a win Saturday in Charlotte, NC against ACC Coastal champion Duke, Florida State will officially get a chance to end that streak.