FSU vs. Florida: 10 Things We Learned in Seminoles' Win over Gators
As expected, Florida State handled Florida pretty easily in a 37-7 win over the in-state rival. The Seminoles dropped 456 yards of total offense, and the defense was as scary as advertised. The Gators played pretty much the way they have all season and simply weren't enough for the national championship contenders.
Besides the fact that Florida State is dangerously good and Florida has seen better days, what did this blowout teach us?
One defensive back is heading to the NFL, one receiver should consider leaving school early and it's going to be an enduring offseason for Florida.
It Could Always Be Worse
Florida won't play in a bowl for the first time since 1990 and lost to an FCS program that very few have ever heard of.
But it could always be worse.
At least the Gators weren't shut out for the first time since 1988. At least the players showed that they cared and gave their all against a team that probably should have won by 40-plus points. And losing this way should feel better than keeping up with the heavy favorite and losing in the final seconds because your coach is afraid of overtime. You could always be a Michigan fan.
In all seriousness, this was a brutal season. But Florida did play slightly better in this game than imagined, as it could have been much worse. No thanks, my glass is still half full.
Kelvin Taylor Is Going to Be Special
Kelvin Taylor only touched the ball six times in this blowout, but he did make the most of it by averaging 4.2 yards per carry. That's no easy task against an elite defense. It's his third straight game averaging more than four yards per touch.
Taylor didn't exactly receive the workload Gators fans were hoping to see this season. But his playing time increased throughout the year, and every few carries, he'd break off a nice run that had you grinning from ear to ear. His shiftiness in the open field and top-end speed gives Florida a valuable weapon heading into next season.
Expect Taylor to be the featured back next season and for him to top 1,000 yards rushing.
Kelvin Benjamin Should Leave for the NFL
Only a redshirt sophomore, Kelvin Benjamin should seriously consider leaving school for the upcoming NFL draft. He torched the Gators secondary for 212 yards and three touchdowns. Coming into this game, he had 36 receptions for 626 yards and nine touchdowns.
He's pretty good.
At 6'5", 235 pounds, he already has the NFL frame. He also has the speed to take the top off of the defense, and his hands are incredible. Seriously, he catches just about anything thrown his way. His route running, ability to create separation and the way he attacks the ball are all impressive.
Benjamin, go get paid.
Big Plays Kill
Florida's defense actually did a nice job of keeping Florida State's offense in check. Trust me, it could have been a lot worse than allowing 17 first-half points. But the big plays made the difference in this game.
Florida State converted nine out of 15 third-down attempts. Kelvin Benjamin, James Wilder Jr., Nick O'Leary and Kenny Shaw all had at least one play of 20 yards or more. The big chunk yardage plays kill a defense's confidence and can really suck the air out of a stadium.
Right when you think you're about to get off the field, bang, another first down.
Florida simply allowed too many big plays on Saturday.
Florida's Offense Still Stinks
It's wishful thinking with Florida's offense.
This will be the week it finally shows progress. Nope. OK, next week it will be able to put together a couple of drives. Well, there is a big rivalry game coming up. Maybe that's when the Gators can score a little bit?
The Gators are still terrible and painful to watch offensively. The unit only managed eight first downs and 193 total yards. It was expected, but it's still shocking to see a team full of athletes struggle to move the chains as badly as it does.
The bright side is that quarterback Skyler Mornhinweg did complete 80 percent of his passes.
Florida's Secondary Is Still Terrific
Besides the big plays allowed throughout the game, Florida State receivers had a hard time getting open. Usually, guys haul in about seven touchdowns, the Seminoles are up by 50 points and everybody celebrates on the sidelines.
Not on Saturday.
Jameis Winston and his boys had to work for majority of their points. Florida made it hard for guys to get open, and there were several batted balls downfield. Vernon Hargreaves proved that he is one of the best cover corners in the country, and Loucheiz Purifoy even came away with an interception.
If there's one bright spot to this horrible season, it's the Florida secondary that consistently plays well.
Loucheiz Purifoy Is Gone
Speaking of the secondary, Loucheiz Purifoy won't be around next season. The star cornerback announced right after the game that he will take his talents to the NFL, according to Joe Schad of ESPN.
Not really shocking news considering Purifoy is an elite defender who should be selected rather early. Florida still has one of the best cover corners in the country in Vernon Hargreaves and a handful of other promising players joining the team during the offseason.
This move does put a dent into the defense, but there are plenty of pieces who are capable of stepping in. Florida has bigger fish to fry than worrying about a player leaving the team who was likely going to bolt anyway.
Jameis Winston Is Still the Heisman Favorite
It wasn't his best game, but 327 yards and three touchdowns are still pretty good. It was his first rivalry game in a tough environment, and he handed it like a champ.
In a year where every Heisman candidate seems to play with inconsistency, Jameis Winston continues to impress and play at a high level. He makes the big plays, completes a high percentage of his passes and almost never lets his team down with the dumb mistakes.
The only concern surrounding the freshman quarterback are the off-the-field issues. If voters can look past that, there's no reason Florida State shouldn't produce its first Heisman winner since Chris Weinke in 2000.
Florida State Can Pack Its Bags for the National Championship
This was likely even heading into this game. However, winning in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium is never easy, and it was wise not to jump the gun. Florida had like a 2 percent chance of pulling off the upset, but 2 percent is still a chance.
Now that this is over, Florida State should have its bags packed. If Florida, Clemson and Miami couldn't make the Seminoles sweat, the winner of the ACC Coastal Division certainly doesn't have the pieces in place to do much.
Florida State proved once again that it is legit and should be allowed to forgo the ACC Championship Game and fly straight to the game that rewards a crystal football.
It's Going to Be a Long Offseason for Florida
Since there's no bowl game for the Gators, this is it. Seemed like such a short season, right? Well, unless you're a diehard Florida fan who has been stronger than Iron Man to withstand every second of this painful season.
Either way, it makes for a long offseason that raises a lot of questions.
Which coaches are going to get fired? How in the world is this offense going to improve? How many players are going to leave for the next level? How big of an impact will this disaster have when it comes to recruiting?
The good news is that Florida fans don't have to watch their team lose for several months. The bad news is that there is a lot of work to be done if this program expects a quick turnaround.