Florida State vs Florida: What Did We Learn?

At halftime, Dalvin Cook had only 25 rushing yards.

At the end of the game, Cook finished with 183 yards and two touchdowns and Florida State won 27-2, securing its third straight road victory in the rivalry.

For a player that was once committed to the Gators, Cook has been the bane to Florida’s existence in these past two rivalry games. In two games against the Gators, Cook has rushed for 327 yards, two touchdowns and averaged 6.5 yards per rush.

But the real star of the game was Florida State’s defense. They held the Gators to 3.3 yards per play at home and only 262 yards of total offense, 65 of which essentially came on a garbage-time drive. Take away the garbage-time drives by Florida and the Seminoles held them to 2.7 yards per play: 192 yards on 70 plays.

Gators quarterback Treon Harris finished with 134 passing yards, but the real stat to take note of was negative 5 rushing yards from the mobile quarterback. One of the biggest factors coming into the game was limiting Harris on the ground and the Florida State defensive front did their job well. The Seminoles totaled 5 sacks on the night and dominated the Florida offensive line.

Another unsung hero for the Seminoles was Cason Beatty. Beatty punted seven times for 333 yards, with a long of 60 yards. In the first half, with field position the most valuable in the game, Beatty punted for 55, 45, 34, 56, and 60 yards. In a game of field position, Beatty flipped the field for the Seminoles and put the defense in a great position to stop the Gators.

So what did we learn from this game?

We learned that a Florida State offense, that returns every starter in 2016, is capable of scoring points on the road. After a tumultuous season that saw several poor performances away from home, Florida State went into Gainesville and scored 27 points on the #6 ranked defense in the country. After starting out slow, Cook finished the game with 183 yards and averaged 7.0 yards per rush. Sean Maguire was, for the most part, held in check by a talented Gators secondary but made an amazing play on fourth-and-goal to find Jeremy Kerr in the end zone for Kerr’s first career reception.

We learned that this defense deserves a place amongst the nation’s best. The Gators were without star receiver Demarcus Robinson due to a suspension, but Florida State still limited the Gators to 2.7 yards per play before garbage-time. Credit has to be given to Kelvin Taylor, who, at times, seemed like the entire Gators offense. Taylor finished the game with 136 yards on 22 carries and NFL scouts should like the toughness and agility he displayed in this game should he decide to go pro.

Florida State finishes the regular season 10-2, an amazing feat for a program that was supposed to be going through a rebuilding year this season. They will not play in the ACC Championship, but now have a very strong case for a bid in one of the New Year’s Six Bowls that will be revealed after the conference championships.

For now, ‘Noles fans, enjoy this victory and another State championship.

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