It is rivalry week once again for Florida State as the Seminoles travel to Gainesville on Saturday to face Florida. Perhaps some would call this the bowl berth game with both teams standing at 5-6 currently with bowl eligibility at stake. FSU has won two straight games with a solid road win vs Boston College last week. Florida lost to Missouri last week and with a disappointing season thus far for the Gators, head coach Dan Mullen was fired on Sunday.
The Seminoles have a great chance of building momentum within the program and state with a huge win on Saturday. Florida leads the all-time series with a record of 36-26, and currently holds a two-game winning streak against the Noles.
Florida State (5-6) will face Florida (5-6) in Gainesville Saturday at noon EST on ESPN. Here are three key matchups to watch for as FSU looks to end the regular season with a win.
1. Florida rushing attack vs FSU defense
Florida’s offense is like the Seminoles with the running game being the main driver. The Gators have a trio of running backs with over 65 carries and they all average over 4.5 yards or more per attempt. If the Noles want to pull off the win in Gainesville, stopping the run this week will be vital. FSU has been inconsistent when it comes to stopping the run this year. In the past two games the Seminoles only gave up 43 rushing yards to Miami but vs Boston College, the defense surrendered 170 yards. We have seen mobile QB's have success vs Florida State this season and Anthony Richardson might be the most athletically gifted we have seen this season. It will be interesting to see if the defense can lock in and take away the Gators' biggest strength on offense.
Florida State did a good job of not turning the ball over vs Boston College last week. Outside of a few fumbling issues, the 'Noles have been clean offensively over the second half of the season. QB Jordan Travis hasn’t thrown an interception in his last five starts. Protecting the ball and making good reads has been a focus for Travis and the results are promising. In each game Florida has lost, the opposing team had the same amount or fewer turnovers than the Gators.
If the Seminoles can protect the ball, it greatly increases the chances of pulling off the big win. My bold prediction for this game is………The team with fewer turnovers will win on Saturday.
3. 'Noles rushing attack vs Florida defense
Once again, I will remain consistent for the last key matchup for this game. The FSU running game vs Florida defense will be another big factor in the outcome of this game. The Noles rush for 181 yards a game while the Gators give up 154 yards a game on the ground. I expect Jordan Travis and company to have success against a defense that gave up 284 yards on the ground to South Carolina three weeks ago. Jashaun Corbin is the leading rusher for the Seminoles but they like to throw three to four different backs in the backfield, giving the defense a multitude of looks. I believe Florida State will have success running the ball which will open up opportunities for a passing offense that’s trending upwards.