Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Colleges

FSU Seminoles dominate Florida Gators

GAINESVILLE — Call it redemption. Call it payback for last season. Or just call it knocking down another obstacle on the road to a potential national championship.

Most of all, call it another dominating win for Florida State.

The No. 2 Seminoles came into Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on a cool Saturday afternoon, stumbled briefly, then handily disposed of Florida with a 37-7 victory in front of 90,454.

The Seminoles (12-0) play Duke in this week's ACC title game, a win that all but certain will put them in the BCS title game. And because of Alabama's loss to Auburn, FSU likely will move up to No. 1 in the BCS standings released tonight (8:30, ESPN).

"We all want one thing," FSU center Bryan Stork said. "I think we all know what that is."

"We're trying to go beyond this," defensive end Mario Edwards said. "We still have to go to the ACC (championship) and beat Duke."

Florida, which won 37-26 at Tallahassee last year, has lost consecutive home games to FSU for the first time since 1987 and 1989. Saturday's loss brought an end to a season UF (4-8) would just as soon forget ever happened. It included losses in its final seven games, season-ending injuries to 11 of 22 starters — including senior receiver Trey Burton on Saturday — and a first-ever loss to a Division I-AA school.

"Very frustrating, difficult day that ends a very frustrating, difficult season," said Florida coach Will Muschamp, who will return next season, according to athletic director Jeremy Foley. "That's the best way I can sum it up."

For FSU, it was, eventually, just a typical game this season.

Florida held a high-powered offense to 35 yards passing and 2 rushing in the first quarter and forced Jameis Winston into an interception (by cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy) on the Seminoles' opening possession. But as it has most of the season, UF's offense failed to help.

And the Seminoles' struggles didn't last long.

On their first possession of the second quarter, they drove 96 yards in 12 plays — capped by a 45-yard pass from Winston to Kelvin Benjamin for a 10-0 lead.

"We broke it. And we were on a roll," Winston said.

And the Gators were done.

They didn't get another first down until less than four minutes left in the third quarter. In between, they were outgained 289-5.

Overall, FSU held Florida to 193 yards, 115 passing. The Gators' only touchdown was a 5-yard pass from Skyler Mornhinweg to Hunter Joyer early in the fourth.

"We've got to find ways to manufacture more points," Muschamp said. "There's no question moving forward we need to do that."

Winston and Benjamin keyed an FSU offense that put up 456 yards. Winston, a top contender for the Heisman Trophy, finished 19-of-31 for 327 yards and three touchdowns. With 35 touchdown passes, he surpassed Chris Weinke for the school record of 33 set in 2000. Benjamin had nine receptions for 212 yards and three touchdowns — FSU's first 200-yard receiving game since Craphonso Thorpe's 217 against Notre Dame in 2003.

"We finished the season off the right way," FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said. "I thought the game was very physical. I have to say Florida, although their record isn't indicative of it, they have a lot of talent on that field. We struggled early in the game a little bit, but it had nothing to do with anything but the way they were playing. We just kept sawing wood, staying at it and got to make plays."

 
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