2011 Prediction & Game Story
Week 13, Florida State at Florida
ACC Fearless Predictions &
SEC Fearless Predictions &
- FREE EXPERT COLLEGE FOOTBALL SELECTIONS
- Get Tickets For This Game
Nov. 26 Florida State 21 … at Florida 7
CFN Analysis: COMING
(AP) GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Devonta Freeman had two short touchdown runs following turnovers, and Florida State beat rival Florida 21-7 on Saturday night despite only 95 yards of offense.
The Seminoles (8-4) were inept most of the night, but they took advantage of John Brantley's first-half mistakes and later knocked the senior quarterback out for good.
Florida State sealed its second consecutive win in the once-revered series when Terrance Parks intercepted a pass by Jacoby Brissett in the fourth quarter and returned it 29 yards for a score, which sent many of the 90,798 on hand scrambling for the exits.
The Gators (6-6) avoided their first shutout since 1988 when Brissett found Quinton Dunbar for a 6-yard score with 4:16 remaining.
Brantley ended the worst game of his career in the locker room. He was sandwiched between two defenders as he released a pass late in the second quarter and sustained an apparent concussion.
He stayed on the ground, slipped off his helmet and eventually walked off the field with help from trainers. He was seemingly on the receiving end of helmet-to-helmet contact, which also caused bleeding to his left cheek.
Brissett replaced Brantley and did little to rally the Gators (6-6) from a 14-point deficit.
Brantley completed 9 of 15 passes for 104 yards, with three interceptions. Brissett was 4 of 13 for 27 yards.
EJ Manuel wasn't much better for Florida State. He was 6 of 13 for 65 yards and was sacked four times on a mostly miserable night in which the Seminoles managed seven first downs.
Turnovers were the difference.
Brantley was picked off on three of Florida's first five possessions. All three were bad throws, prompting some boos and plenty of speculation that he might get benched in his home finale.
Brantley telegraphed a long throw across the field, and Greg Reid stepped in front of Dunbar and intercepted the pass. Freeman took over from there, but he also got some help.
Florida's Ronald Powell was flagged for a personal foul on third down, giving FSU a first-and-goal at the 1. Freeman sneaked across the line on the next play.
Brantley's second interception was even more inexcusable, maybe the worst of his career. He scrambled right and threw a balloon ball across the field and into triple coverage. Mike Harris plucked that one out of the air and returned it 89 yards. Florida's Deonte Thompson made a touchdown-saving tackle at the 4-yard line, but Freeman scored three plays later to make it 14-0.
The Gators outgained Florida State 140-39 at halftime.
Florida State receiver Kenny Shaw and Florida defensive end Lerentee McCray exchanged words as the teams headed into the locker room at halftime. Shaw got the last laugh, though, as he simply pointed to the scoreboard.
It's all that matters in a series that used to be one of the most respected in college football.
Now, though, it has devolved into a battle for bragging rights and talk about a mythical state championship. The latest matchup was the first time since 1988 that neither team was ranked.
And both teams looked the part.
What may have seemed like great defense was really just pathetic offense.
There were poor passes, blown blocking assignments and strange play calls. There also were as many punts (18) as first downs.
The oddest play of the night came on a fourth-and-inches play in the second quarter. With Brantley struggling, the Gators lined up tight end Trey Burton at quarterback and ran him into Florida State's vaunted front. Burton was stuffed, then tried to reverse field and make something happen. He ended up losing 14 yards.
Both teams also lost key players during the game.
Florida State defensive end Brandon Jenkins left the game with concussion-like symptoms.
Florida lost Brantley, defensive tackle Dominique Easley, running back Chris Rainey and guard Jon Halapio. Easley and Rainey were helped from the field to the locker room.
Possibly more serious, Florida linebacker Darrin Kitchens was injured on the opening kickoff of the second half. He was strapped to a backboard and carted to the locker room. There was no immediate word on any of Florida's injuries.
Florida State (7-4) at Florida (6-5) Nov. 26, 7:00, ESPN2
Here’s The Deal … Throw out the records when Florida State and Florida hook up. Both programs wish they could.
It’s been a rocky year for the Seminoles and the Gators, neither of which has been able to approach preseason forecasts. Still, the in-state rivals have met every season since 1958, and the intensity and passion on both campuses continues to smolder even when the schools aren’t winning titles. Florida State will be looking to rebound from its fourth tough loss of the year, falling at home to Virginia when a last-second field goal attempt went awry. In a season that the ‘Noles began as heavy favorites to win the ACC, they have been a major disappointment in Tallahassee and around the country. They now have two more opportunities to harness an offseason tailwind, beating the Gators in Gainesville for the first time since 2003, and winning their bowl game.
Florida has been unable to even approach the modest expectations established for first-year head coach Will Muschamp. Sure, not that much was being asked of the team in 2011, but 6-5? After fattening up against soft competition, the Gators were exposed with four straight losses in the middle of the year. Heck, they trailed the Paladins of Furman at the Swamp last week, 22-7, before finally waking up and restoring some order. Whatever happens from this day until the final gun of the bowl game is all about coaching up the young kids, and setting the table for 2012 in Gainesville.
Why Florida State Might Win: Don’t be misled by the 54 points the Gators put up last week against an FCS visitor. They still have a feeble offense.
In the six games between the trip to Kentucky and the visit from Furman, Florida averaged just a little more than15 points a game. The running game lacks consistency, and the passing attack had produced more interceptions than touchdowns before last week. The return from injury of senior QB John Brantley has helped, but not that much.
Life won’t get any easier with the Seminoles in town. Florida State has now gone six straight games without yielding 20 points, getting steady pressure from ends Brandon Jenkins and Bjoern Werner, and underrated special teams support from P Shawn Powell. The ‘Noles have an edge at quarterback with E.J. Manuel and on the sidelines, since Jimbo Fisher has coached in this rivalry before.
Why Florida Might Win: Anything you can do, I can do better … at least on defense.
The Seminoles are seventh nationally in total D; the Gators are 17th. They’re young, but very talented, and tough to throw on. There are budding stars from top to bottom, including linemen Shariff Floyd, Ronald Powell and Dominique Easley, LB Jelani Jenkins, S Matt Elam and CB Jaylen Watkins. Florida has the speed and active legs to make plays all over the field, and keep the Florida State attack reeling. Since stringing together six straight 30-point games, the ‘Noles have sputtered against Miami and Virginia. The running game is stale, and Manuel is having a tough time connecting on anything but short throws. The Gators, conversely, still have burners, like Chris Rainey, Jeff Demps and Andre Debose, who are capable of turning a short dump into a crowd-pleaser.
What To Watch Out For: Will last week’s four-touchdown effort versus Furman ignite anything in Brantley that he can use over the final two games of his disappointing Gators career? He did look sharp, but the opponent had a little something to do with the results. Florida needs more production from behind center, but it won’t come easy against an athletic Seminoles secondary that hasn’t yielded more than one touchdown pass in game since Oct. 8.
While the picks haven’t come with any great regularity, Greg Reid, Mike Harris and Lamarcus Joyner are capable of blanking the Gators receivers, and completely taking them out of the flow of the game.
What Will Happen: Wasn’t it just two weeks ago that Florida State was surging, and Florida was sinking? That trend will be revived again this Saturday, as the visitors will prevail in Gainesville for the first time in eight years. Determined to get beyond last week’s debacle versus Virginia, the Seminoles and Manuel will perform with considerably more offensive execution.
No, they won’t explode or get back into the 30-point threshold, but they will produce enough to remain at arm’s length from their host. The Gators, which haven’t had any continuity with the ball for months, will again misfire in their comeback bid in the final quarter.
CFN Prediction: Florida State 26 … Florida 21
- Click For Latest Line From ATS: Florida State -2.5 O/U: 45
- Get Tickets For This Game
- FREE EXPERT COLLEGE FOOTBALL SELECTIONS