Noles Chop Gators with Defensive Dominance, Keep Bowl Hopes Alive

Written by Manuel DeLeon


Gainesville FL- Clear weather and a energized crowd was the backdrop for the matchup between the Florida State Seminoles and the Florida Gators. With bowl eligibility hanging in the balance all hands were on deck as Florida State defeated Florida 38-22 in the “Sunshine Showdown”.

Florida State got on the board first. Early in the first quarter defensive end Brian Burns sprinted off the edge beating his man around the left side getting to quarterback Feleipe Franks causing a fumble. Linebacker Jacob Pugh would corral the loose ball and return it 16 yards for the score giving the Seminoles a 7-0 lead. Not to be outdone Florida linebacker Duke Dawson stepped in front of a James Blackman pass intended for receiver Auden Tate for the interception. Running back Mark Thompson would do the rest converting the turnover into points on a 3 yard touchdown run knotting the game up at 7 a piece.

After forcing a Florida State punt, the Gators gave the ball right back as Lavonta Taylor picked off Feleipe Franks to close out the first quarter. It didn’t take long for the ‘Noles to strike again as Blackman found receiver Nyqwan Murray on a quick slant in the end zone putting the ‘Noles up 14-7. Ricky Aguayo put the ‘Noles up 17-7 after a promising drive stalled inside the red zone. Florida State continued to pile it on when Franks launched an inadvertent pass in the direction of Florida State corner Lavonta Taylor who returned the pick 18 yards for the touchdown giving FSU a 24-7 lead.

“There’s not anybody that competes harder than that guy [Taylor]. That guy puts his heart and soul out there every time, does in practice everyday too.” Said Fisher about his dynamic cornerback.

Florida saw the game getting away from them and put together a solid drive to close out the half as Feleipe Franks led the Gators on a 74 yard drive capped by a 4 yard Brandon Powell touchdown reception in the corner of the end zone making the score 24-13 after a missed PAT by Eddie Pineiro ended the first half.

After exchanging punts to open the second half, the Gators got on the board first on the leg of Eddie Pineiro who booted a 45-yard field goal inching the Gators closer with a score of 24-16.

The Seminoles were held scoreless in the third quarter, but the defense of Florida State stepped up and really got after Feleipe Franks. In total Florida State got to the Gator quarterback five times. Brian Burns and Derrick Nnadi paced the Seminoles with one and a half sacks apiece.

“They got pressure up front and controlled the line of scrimmage.” Said Fisher. “They did a good job in that area. They got pressure on the quarterback.”

Early in the fourth quarter the ‘Noles started to pull away after Blackman led FSU on a 74 yard drive capped by a 10 yard Cam Akers run giving FSU a 31-16 lead. Linebacker Matthew Thomas picked off Feleipe Franks on the Gators next drive giving FSU the ball in Florida territory. The ‘Noles went up 38-16 with seven minutes left when Blackman found Auden Tate in the back of the end zone for the three yard score.

With the game well in hand Florida State would give up a late touchdown score to Florida when Franks found Brandon Powell once again for his second touchdown grab of the day giving us the final score of 38-22.

Florida outgained Florida State 280 to 218 on offense but it was the Seminole defense that’s made a huge difference. Florida State forced four Florida turnovers and accumulated ten tackles for loss.

“Our defense, I thought was outstanding on the day creating opportunities.” Said Coach Fisher on his team’s defensive performance.

With the win Florida State has now won five straight over Florida the longest in series history.

Florida State looks to keep the momentum rolling and close out the regular season strong when Louisiana Monroe travels to Tallahassee in the season finale.

Share This Story:

Related Content