FSU Beat: Seminles Host National Title Hopeful Gators

Saturday in Tallahassee will mark the first top 10 matchup between the Florida State Seminoles and Florida Gators in over a decade. It took nearly 13 years for both programs to regain their footing and put together strong seasons simultaneously, but the time has finally come.

Both teams enter the game with a single loss on their schedules, but the Gators have the undeniable edge in resume, having played and defeated three of the current top 12 in the BCS standings, with their lone loss coming to #3 UGA. Despite these facts, anyone who has watched Florida this season has taken note of the significant regression they have taken on the offensive side of the ball in the last few weeks.

This is probably the only clear advantage that the Seminoles have, but it is significant. Both defenses are elite, and will have the opposing offense outmatched by some margin, but Florida’s offense is truly awful. The Gators have capitalized on great special teams play and turnover luck all season, with a stellar +14 margin. As simple as it may sound, Florida State needs to focus on taking care of the football. This has been a major issue for FSU over the past four weeks, as they have fumbled the ball at an alarming rate both on offense and special teams. If this is a problem on Saturday, a loss may be imminent.

The Seminoles can be encouraged by the fact that they have been a much more healthy and productive team on offense this season. Florida State is not likely to drive up and down the field routinely against this Gator defense, but if they can create a few explosive plays, it may be enough to get away with a 7-10 point victory. FSU will be one of the better offenses that UF has encountered and easily one of the more talented.

The wildcard here will be FSU freshman punter Cason Beatty. Cason Beatty has struggled mightily in recent weeks, routinely booting kicks for less than 40 yards, regardless of where he’s lined up. Last season, field position played a crucial role in a game where both offenses were virtually handcuffed and rendered useless by the opposing defenses. In that game, Shawn Powell’s stellar punting and pinning UF inside of their 15 yard line four different times was a major key in that game.

To say that this game is important is a gross understatement. Florida State is fighting for their first 13 win season in school history and to extend their winning streak against major in-state rivals to six over the past three seasons. Florida is looking at an outside shot at a National Title game appearance and to beat the Seminoles for the first time since 2009. On top of these facts, there are the all too important recruiting implications in the most talent rich state and region in the country. This is what Florida State vs. Florida is all about. The stakes are high, the rosters are brimming with future NFL talent, and the nation will be watching.

 

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Adam Tolliver, @primediscussion on TwitterAdam Tolliver is an Atlanta, GA native and college football enthusiast who has been covering Florida State Seminole sports for three years. He is currently a contributor at Tomahawknation.com and XOFan.com, where he consistently delivers honest and accurate commentary and reporting regarding Florida State Seminole Football and Men’s Basketball. You can find Adam’s personal twitter account @primediscussion, where he spouts out about all things under the sun, or you can follow @Unconquered_FSU, which is exclusively dedicated to FSU Sports.

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