Gainesville, FL – For the first time since Tim Tebow was behind center, the Florida Gators defeated FSU at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Florida got off to a fast start on Saturday night in front of a sellout crowd of 89,409 screaming fans. The win marks an improvement over last season’s regular season record (9-3) and affords the Gators with an opportunity to win eleven games in year two under Dan Mullen.
Kyle Trask was nothing short of phenomenal in his 30/41, 343 yard, three touchdown performance. He began the night by leading the Gators offense on a 75-yard drive that was capped off by a beautifully blocked screen pass to Freddie Swain that went for a nineteen-yard touchdown. The senior night fireworks didn’t stop there.
The Gators were a perfect five for five in the red zone, scoring touchdowns on each possession. Senior, Van Jefferson, accounted for two of those red zone scores as he hauled in touchdown catches of thirteen and six yards respectively.
Florida had command of the game from the second quarter on and went into the halftime break with a 30-7 advantage. In fact, FSU seemed to have no answers for the Gators’ pass rush and their elite secondary. After their opening possession, — a 75-yard touchdown drive — the Seminoles were only able to muster twenty more yards in the first half.
Although the Seminoles were able to be slightly more productive in the second half, they were in no position to trade blows with the Gators. That’s essentially what they did with both teams scoring an additional ten points in the second half. The Seminoles were clearly outmatched in this one and it comes as no surprise that the Gators won in such a lopsided fashion, besting the rivals from the panhandle, 40-17.
Florida’s defensive front created havoc throughout the night for Florida State. The Gators finished the game with twelve tackles for loss and eight sacks, totaling a loss of sixty-five yards. Jonathan Greenard made the most of his swan song, recording three sacks of his own. The frustration could be seen all over the face of Seminoles’ quarterback, James Blackman, after being victimized by the intense Gators’ pass rush.
It was a special night for Florida’s senior class. A win over a rival is always sweet but to be able to dismantle Florida State under the lights in your final appearance in the Swamp is a memory that will last a lifetime. This senior class has had an incredible ride going from one coaching staff to another and seizing the opportunity to right the ship, to return the Gators’ standard and lay the foundation for future successes.
It has been an incredible season that has been filled with excitement. The Gators have won ten games in each of Mullen’s first two seasons and they’ve done so in spite of injuries to star players. The offense has been potent even without a running game. They have stood firm in the face adversity and they’ve persevered. This is a program that is on the rise and once Mullen puts the recruiting pieces together, this is a team that will win championships.