Here are some quick thoughts on the Gators’ massive win over the Noles.
What it means: Florida improves to 11-1 overall with the win over #10 FSU, and it cements the Gators in a BCS game. However, the Gators await the fate of the outcome of Notre Dame against USC tonight. Florida finished 7-6 a season ago, and Will Muschamp might have just etched his name on the SEC Coach of the Year trophy, too. What a turnaround by the Gators from year one to year two. The SEC improves to 3-0 over the ACC today and could improve to 4-0 depending on the South Carolina-Clemson outcome.
What I liked: No game is too big for Florida. The Gators are content to play their game – defense, special teams and field position – just like the rest of the season. FSU had the #1 overall defense in the country, and the Gators’ lowly offense mounted 394 yards of total offense, with 244 of them coming on the ground.
Florida came out with quick throws, negating the FSU pass rush in the first half, and just like they’ve done the entire season, the Gators finished strong in the fourth quarter, scoring 24 unanswered points until EJ Manuel’s meaningless touchdown run as time expired.
The Gators forced five (five!) FSU turnovers, with three interceptions and two fumble recoveries.
What I didn’t like: Florida nearly gave the game away in the second half, as Florida State scored 17 unanswered points and looked to be applying the choke hold. Florida looked lost in the third quarter. The ugliest part of the game was, without question, the penalties. The Gators committed 12 for 101 yards. In order to beat good teams, you can’t have that many penalties, but lucky for the Gators, the five forced turnovers were bigger.
Who’s the man: The game ball goes to running back Mike Gillislee. He carried 24 times for 140 yards and two touchdowns, averaging 5.8 yards per carry. He housed one from 37 yards in the fourth quarter that started the huge momentum swing for the Gators.
Key play: The biggest play of the game came in the fourth quarter from freshman linebacker Antonio Morrison. Morrison smoked Manuel and forced a fumble. The odd thing is that Morrison wasn’t even supposed to be in the game, but he came in because Jelani Jenkins was hurt. It was a massive momentum change for the Gators.
What’s next: Florida can get their BCS gear ready, but they are unsure of the final destination. Florida looks like a BCS at-large team, but they could sneak into the national championship if Notre Dame loses to USC tonight.
Photo Credit: Melina Vastola-US PRESSWIRE