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FSU's Benjamin proves unstoppable against Gators

GAINESVILLE — With Florida's standout secondary expected to play man-to-man coverage on Florida State's receivers, Seminoles quarterback Jameis Winston called out receiver Kelvin Benjamin a few days before the game.

"If you go out there and do what you've got to do, you will be unstoppable," Winston said, "and no one will be able to cover you."

On Saturday, no one could.

Benjamin set career highs in catches (nine), receiving yards (212) and touchdowns (three). He single-handedly outgained the Gators offense by 19 yards and was FSU's first 200-yard receiver since Craphonso Thorpe lit up Notre Dame for 217 a decade ago.

"He can be a very, very special player," Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher said. "And he's starting to really develop into that guy."

Benjamin showed his blend of size, speed and power on a highlight-reel touchdown catch that changed the game.

With FSU leading 3-0 but struggling offensively midway through the second quarter, Benjamin caught a slant. The 6-foot-5, 234-pound redshirt sophomore quickly broke two tackles, including one by defensive back Brian Poole.

Following the advice he got last week from running backs coach Jay Graham — to keep his feet moving — Benjamin dashed up the middle, spun off one defender and broke another tackle.

"I just finished from there," he said.

His 45-yard touchdown catch gave FSU a 10-0 lead. Benjamin and the Seminoles were just getting started.

Benjamin added two more touchdown catches: He torched cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy for a 29-yarder in the closing minute of the first half, and snagged a 4-yard fade in the fourth quarter. He also caught a 56-yard pass from Winston that set up Devonta Freeman's 11-yard touchdown run.

"Once you get him on fire," FSU defensive end Mario Edwards said, "he's hard to stop."

Benjamin's breakout game was even more impressive considering the opponent: Purifoy and the Gators entered with the country's No. 3 passing defense. Florida hadn't allowed a receiver to get more than 150 yards in a game in more than two years.

"He's a big target," Florida coach Will Muschamp said. "He's hard to defend."

The Gators found that out repeatedly.

Matt Baker can be reached at mbaker@tampabay.com or on Twitter @MattHomeTeam.

FSU's Benjamin proves unstoppable against Gators 11/30/13 [Last modified: Saturday, November 30, 2013 10:17pm]
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