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Senior quarterback John Brantley and junior linebacker Darrin Kitchens both suffered concussions in Saturday's loss to Florida State.
The Florida State Seminoles won their second straight victory against arch rival Florida. The Noles put together a dominant defensive performance, forcing four Gator turnovers and holding the Florida offense to just 184 yards of total offense.
The Seminoles didn’t do much offensively, either. FSU was held to just 95 yards of total offense. EJ Manuel finished 6-of-13 for 65 yards and was sacked 4 times.
Devonta Freeman scored twice and had 44 yards on 15 carries.
FSU DB Terrance Parks put the game away midway through the 4th quarter with a 29 yard interception return for a touchdown.
Florida avoided a shutout by forcing a fumble deep in FSU territory. Freshman QB Jacoby Brissett hit Quinton Dunbar in the back of the endzone for a 6 yard score to avoid a shut out.
Florida Senior QB John Brantley completed his tough final campaign in Gainesville by tossing three interceptions and getting knocked out on the final drive of the first half.
Brantley finished 9-of-15 for 104 yards and the 3 picks. Brissett didn’t fare much better, getting sacked twice while going 4 of 13 for 27 yds, 1 touchdown and 1 interception.
The Florida running game was grounded as well, held to just 54 yards, 42 of those by Chris Rainey.
The victory was the second straight for FSU over the Gators.
The Noles wrap up the regular season at 8-4. Florida is bowl eligible despite their 6-6 finish.
Florida avoided an embarrassing shut out on their home field thanks to a fumble by FSU running back Jermaine Thomas forced by LB Michael Taylor. The fumble was recovered by Jaye Howard who returned it to the Noles 27.
Two plays later, Jacoby Brisset connected with Quinton Dunbar in the back of the end zone for a 6 yard score to make it 21-7 with 3:21 left in the ball game.
Florida hasn’t been shut out in Gainesville since the 1980’s.
Florida QB Jacoby Brissett made a freshman mistake as he scrambled and threw a pass up for grabs. Instead of finding a receiver or a sideline, he found FSU defensive back Terrance Parks who intercepted the pass and returned it 29 yards for a touchdown putting the Seminoles up 21-0.
The only question now is can the Seminoles hold on to the shutout in Gainesville. There’s 10:51 left to play.
With little offense to speak of on either side, Florida State was content with playing field position and keeping the Gators at bay.
The Noles have been able to pin the Gators deep in their own side of the field and are playing eight men in the box to bottle up the Florida rushing attack.
Gator Freshman QB Jacoby Brissett hasn’t been able to sustain any drives for Florida thus far as the Gators haven’t crossed the 50 in the third quarter.
FSU got a superb return by Greg Reid deep in to Florida territory but the man with the golden shoes Dustin Hopkins missed a 50 yard field goal.
FSU is still under 100 yards of total offense for the game (77 yards) as the three Gator turnovers are basically the difference in the game.
It’s been a rough senior night for Florida quarterback John Brantley. Two of his three first half interceptions set up rival Florida State in point blank range leading to the Noles’ 14-0 lead.
Then, on the final drive of the first half, Brantley was sandwiched between two FSU defenders and took a blow to the head. He appeared woozy and was taken immediately to the locker room.
Its likely, Brantley’s night is done, leaving Florida with two freshman quarterbacks to try to bring the Gators back. He finished 9-of15 for 104 yards and 3 interceptions.
FSU has 39 yards of total offense but took advantage of the Gator turnovers, converting with two Devonta Freeman 1 yard touchdowns.
EJ Manuel was 3-of-5 for 40 yards and has been sacked 3 times.
Florida’s usually anemic offense has put up 140 yards. The Gators twice drove deep into FSU territory – the first drive ended with a Brantley interception while the second ended at the Florida State 15 yard line as the Gators were denied on 4th and 1.
Coach Will Muschamp said at half-time, “We’ll take a look at him (Brantley) during the half but it looks like our two young freshman quarterbacks who we like a lot and think will do great things here at Florida will play in the 2nd half.”
Florida State has score 14 points off turnovers as they opened the second quarter with a second one yard Devonta Freeman score to take a 14-0 lead with 14:24 left in the first half.
The second Seminoles touchdown was set up by a terrible John Brantley pass, where deep in FSU territory, Brantley attempted to throw across his body and hit a receiver on the far side of the field.
The pass was thrown into quadruple coverage (yes, you read that right – quadruple coverage) and intercepted by Mike Harris and returned 89 yards to the Florida 4 yard line.
Three plays later, Freeman went in again.
On the next drive, Brantley threw his third interception of the game, giving FSU the football at the 48 yard line. It was Greg Reid’s second of the game.
FSU leads 14-0 with 12:57 left in the first half..
FSU opened the scoring in Gainesville with a Devonta Freeman one yard touchdown run,. The score was set up by an interception by DB Greg Reid at the Florida 32 yard line. He would return it 12 yards to the Gators’ 20. The Gators held FSU on 3rd and goal by forcing a fumble at the one yard line by EJ Manuel. Manuel recovered the fumble but a personal foul penalty on the Gators’ Robert Powell extended the drive for the Noles.
One play later, Freeman dove into the endzone for a score.
The scoring drive went 20 yards on 7 plays in 2:46.
The 6-5 Florida Gators and 7-4 Florida State Seminoles have had disappointing seasons, but both fanbases would still revel in a victory over their Sunshine State rival in the final regular season game for both teams.
The Gators are one week removed from a come-from-behind 54-32 victory over Furman of the FCS. The Seminoles lost a heartbreaker 14-13 to Virginia last Saturday, snapping a five game winning streak.
The key matchup Saturday evening is likely to be Florida's offensive weapons, mainly veteran quarterback John Brantley and speedsters Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey, against a stout Florida State defense, led by defensive ends Brandon Jenkins and Bjoern Werner. The Gators offensive line has been suspect all year, so Brantley may be in for a rough night.
Here are all the details you need about this evening's Seminoles vs. Gators matchup:
Game date, time: 7:00 p.m. ET, Saturday, November 26, 2011
Location: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville, Florida
TV channel: ESPN2
Spread: The Seminoles are favored by 2.5 points.
Series history: Florida leads the all-time series, 33-20-2.
For further reading, news, discussion and more, visit Florida blog Alligator Army and Florida State blog Tomahawk Nation. Here's the complete Week 13 college football TV schedule, and stay tuned to SB Nation's college football news hub for more.
To state the obvious, the Florida State Seminoles (7-4) and Florida Gators (6-5) have both had disappointing football seasons. Both teams have had to deal with their share of injuries -- the Gators lost QB John Brantley for an extended period, and the Seminoles had their defense reduced to tatters -- and neither team is currently ranked in the AP top 25 poll. After starting the season with such lofty hopes and aspirations, this has been a season full of frustration around the state of Florida.
The Seminoles and Gators will have a chance to work out some of that frustration, though, as they face each other this upcoming Saturday (Nov. 26th) in the final game of the season. One team will go home with their poor season mollified, while the other will be given one more reason to curse the football gods.
When given a chance yesterday to speak about their seasons thus far, FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher and Gators coach Will Muschamp had widely varying takes. Fisher and Muschamp are both high profile coaches in their first year with their new teams, and it's interesting to see how they have both responded to the unexpected stress and struggles of this season:
Muschamp: "I don't really look at it from that standpoint,'' Muschamp said when asked if he's pleased with the job Weis has done. "I look at it as the big-picture standpoint - offense, defense, special teams. We're certainly not pleased with the season in any respect. It's totally unacceptable here at Florida, and I realize that. Our goal is to go to Atlanta, so in all areas we need to improve. And we need to improve offensively. Regardless of the circumstances, regardless of youth, injuries, we can go through the laundry list of reasons. At the end of the day, they're excuses and we need to play better.' (St. Petersburg Times)
Fisher: "I don't like the fact that we lost," Fisher continued. "I'm not happy with what happened. We had some (bad) things, but they're very fixable and you can flip it around in a heartbeat. We're very close to that."
"I love the direction we're going." (Orlando Sentinel)
In all fairness, the 'Noles have had a better season than the Gators. They have won more games and played well against some tough opponents, so it's not surprising that Fisher is more upbeat in his comments than Muschamp.
But will he still be smiling after this weekend's game? The Gators lead the total series between the two clubs (33-20-2), but the Seminoles rolled over the Gators last year, 31-7. With so much on the line for both teams, this year's matchup will certainly be interesting to watch.
The Gators and Noles renew their grudge match in Gainesville on Saturday.