Florida State lost to Florida 41-14 Saturday, ending its season at 5-7.
While the loss was expected, it was nonetheless painful, ending the bowl streak at 36 years.
The Gators have been the far superior team all year, and it showed on Saturday.
Florida State couldn’t block Florida at all.
FSU’s offensive line has been a progressively worse train wreck each week. And in this game, FSU’s offense had little-to-no shot of working. Tackle Jauan Williams started the game and was ineffective, pulled, and replaced by Brady Scott. Scott was not much better.
Florida was routinely in FSU’s backfield, harassing and hitting Deondre Francois without needing to blitz. This was extremely important, since Florida is usually a big blitz team, which leaves it exposed to big plays.
That meant the Gators could play pass coverage and get excellent pressure, stifling the explosive plays FSU has to depend on since it can’t sustain drives behind this offensive line.
Before Florida went up three scores, the Seminoles had only two pass plays over 25 yards. Realistically, they needed to have seven or eight if they were to win the game. Francois was repeatedly hit, sacked, and also had a fumble and two interceptions. And FSU didn’t have a 15+ yard run by a running back before the game was out of hand.
Again, Florida got extreme pressure while being able to play safe coverage, and the game was effectively over.
Except FSU made it worse by making dumb mistakes.
Florida State had play after play of formational and pre-snap penalties on offense. One, an illegal shift in which Francois sent a man in motion before senior receiver NyQuan Murray and redshirt freshman Tamorrion Terry were set. It wiped out a 70-yard touchdown reception by Cam Akers.
Defensive back Stanford Samuels III also had a huge personal foul penalty after a third down stop. Samuels was being held by his facemask, but inexcusably took a swing on receiver Van Jefferson, giving the Gators a new set of downs. Florida scored on the successive set, breaking the game open.
It was a sloppy, undisciplined effort from the Seminoles, who also had either too many or too few men on the field at different times.
The sloppiness was embarrassing for a team in Game 12. Some issues, such as poor personnel, can’t be fixed in-season. But FSU should simply be sharper than this, and it wasn’t.
FSU dared Florida to hit big plays, and the Gators did.
The Gators are one of the more efficient offenses in the nation, but are not very explosive. To that end, FSU’s plan to not allow Florida to drive and instead dare them to hit big plays was the right one.
But the Gators were up to the challenge. Florida hit passes of 39, 54, 22, 38, and 20.
It was a poor job by the defense on the day, although FSU wasn’t going to win the game even if its defense only allowed 21 points, much less 41.
Florida picked on FSU’s safeties and linebackers, showcasing an area of weakness for FSU all season.
Florida State had an enormous field position disadvantage, to the tune of negative 238 yards. That made the final score even worse than the game.