This Friday at 7:30 in Doak Campbell the ‘Noles will take on the Florida Gators on ABC.
Florida is 6-5 on the year with wins over Utah, South Florida, Eastern Washington, Missouri, Texas A&M and South Carolina and losses against Kentucky, Tennessee, LSU, Georgia and Vanderbilt.
FSU is 26-37-2 in the all-time series and have lost the last 3 meetings. The last time the ‘Noles won was in 2017, 38-22. The interim head coach of the Gators in that game was current FSU linebackers coach Randy Shannon.
Observations from the last game
FSU rushed for over 200 yards for the 6th straight game. The first team defense did not allow a touchdown for the third straight game.
Florida State offense versus Florida defense
The UF defense has been up and down this year but forcing turnovers, especially fumbles (14 fumble recoveries this season), has kept them in games.
Florida has been decent at slowing down the pass, but their rush defense has hindered them all year (104th in FBS in yards per rush allowed). The trio of backs, Trey Benson, Tre’Shaun Ward and Lawrance Toafili, and Jordan Travis will need to continue their dominance on the ground and protect the football to keep the pressure on the Gators.
UF will be without star linebacker Ventrell Miller (76 tackles) for the first half (targeting) and might be without safety Rashad Torrance (74 tackles), which will make dealing with FSU’s backs and slot receivers an even bigger challenge.
Linebacker Amari Burney (4 sacks and 3 forced turnovers) and safety Trey Dean will need to pick up their slack to slow down the explosive Florida State offense.
Florida State defense versus Florida offense
The UF offense is led by dual threat quarterback Anthony Richardson who has 14 total TDs and 8 INTs along with 2,964 total yards. However, Gator receivers Justin Shorter and Xavier Henderson have been ruled out for the game and Ricky Pearsall is questionable.
Richardson joins running backs Montrell Johnson (742 yards) and Trevor Etienne (576 yards) in a potent rushing attack that is 17th in the FBS in yards per game and 5th in yards per rush.
If FSU can continue its solid play against the run it could spell trouble for the Gators. It would be hard to overcome due to the ‘Noles great passing game defense having the advantage over an inconsistent quarterback and receivers.
The key players in this matchup for the Seminoles are defensive tackles Fabian Lovett and Robert Cooper who will be tasked with clogging the middle and linebacker Kalen DeLoach who will be spying Richardson.
The return game with Mycah Pittman in the lineup gives FSU the advantage.
FSU should be able to put up plenty of points against the depleted UF defense barring costly mistakes. The Florida offense has the talent to go score for score with the ‘Noles but the FSU pass defense and the Gators struggles in the red zone will be the deciding factor.
Florida State 35 Florida 27.