Florida State Football: The Hidden Yards Vs. Florida

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Noles went into the Swamp and thumped their biggest rival in the Florida Gators. Let's see how they did that.

Before any big rivalry game you always hear members of the media start to weave this narrative about how you have to throw out past records and performances because this game will be fundamentally different from the ones before and anything can happen. Pundits kept propelling this narrative despite FSU being multiple touchdown favorites in what is historically one of the hardest places to play in.  Let's just say that I was not buying into that story just one bit. The game turned out the way Vegas predicted, with complete domination by the Seminoles.

I was there. The turnout of FSU fans was rather astonishing and even had some Gator friends say they had never seen so many Seminoles in Gainesville before. I hope that every Seminole fan that attended the game was respectful to our hosts, at least more than that one guy who was waving a machete at UF fans.

How dominant was this performance though? Let's take a look at some of the underlying stats and see what went on.

As always analysis does not include garbage time and clock killing drives. You could argue this game was over early in the fourth quarter but I'm including all drives except for the last drive by both teams. This was a low possession game with FSU having 10 non-garbage possessions and UF with 9.

Florida State's Offense
Result Possible Gained Plays Per Play % Gained
Interception 76 26 4 6.50 34%
FIELD GOAL 67 35 8 4.38 52%
Punt 80 3 3 1.00 4%
TOUCHDOWN 96 96 12 8.00 100%
TOUCHDOWN 74 74 6 12.33 100%
Punt 81 3 3 1.00 4%
FIELD GOAL 39 16 6 2.67 41%
TOUCHDOWN 84 84 5 16.80 100%
TOUCHDOWN 79 79 10 7.90 100%
FIELD GOAL 32 21 6 3.50 66%
Totals 708 437 63 6.94 62%
  • Florida State gained 6.94 yards per play before garbage time. That is incredibly good against this defense. Yes UF has been ravaged with injuries over the course of the season but their overall play did not drop too dramatically over the course of the season. Going into this game UF's defense was ranked at 12th according to the F/+ rankings. That yard per play mark against a defense that good is honestly pretty incredible. They were really giving FSU trouble trying to establish some sort of rhythm early on in the game and put points up on the board, but the Noles calmed down and Kelvin Benjamin went all robot on UF's DBs.
  • Despite their success against a good defense, FSU was a tad out of character in this game. This game featured one of their lower percentage of possible yards gained at 62% (which is still quite good). UF also stopped the pattern of FSU scoring 4 or more touchdowns on consecutive drives.
  • FSU had two explosive drives for the game (drives of more than 10 yards per play) and almost had a third on the 96 yard drive, which was also the longest touchdown drive UF has given up all year.
  • The Noles' average starting field position was at their own 29 yard line which is decent, but not great. On 10 possessions this allowed the Noles to accumulate about 290 yards of hidden yards.
Florida State's Defense
Result Possible Gained Plays Per Play % Gained
Punt 75 7 3 2.33 9%
Missed FG 87 55 6 9.17 63%
Punt 73 19 5 3.80 26%
Punt 67 16 7 2.29 24%
Punt 65 4 3 1.33 6%
Fumble 60 -6 1 -6.00 0%
Punt 61 5 3 1.67 8%
TOUCHDOWN 83 83 14 5.93 100%
Fumble 75 7 4 1.75 9%
Totals 646 190 46 4.13 29%

  • The Gators were able to gain 4.13 yards per play before garbage time. I haven't looked at numbers from their previous games but I would think that is actually not a terrible performance for them considering they are on their 3rd string quarterback and have suffered injuries on the offensive line and at running back. UF's offense was ranked 96th in the F/+ rankings before the game. I am a little bit disappointed in the defense giving up that many yards per play, but the Noles were able to shut down the run game which is UF's main strength on offense. This was a concern for the defense very early on in the season but it seems to have become one of their strengths at this point. Attribute this to the defensive ends really stepping up their run defense as the season progressed.
  • FSU's defense was pretty efficient in terms of limiting the Gators in their possible yards gained, only allowing UF to gain 29% of their possible yards.
  • FSU gave up no explosive drives, but almost did on the drive that resulted in a missed field goal. The only scoring drive that UF was able to mount was a very very long 14 play drive that resulted in a Touchdown late in the game.
  • Florida's average starting field position was at their own 25 yard line and with 9 possessions in the game, that accounts for about 230 hidden yards. With the Noles gaining 290 hidden yards, FSU received a hidden yardage advantage of 60 yards, or 6 first downs. You could assume that this helped FSU as both of the turnovers committed by the gators allowed FSU to start those drive in UF territory, however FSU was only able to accumulate 6 points off of those turnovers with two field goals. I have said it many times before, but with this offense (which is the best in the country), starting field position really does not matter much for this team.
  • It's also worth noting that Cason Beatty actually had a pretty decent game! He made two pretty good punts when FSU was backed up in its own territory and gave UF a relatively long field to work with.
Well that's that. An undefeated regular season and because of some random college football tomfoolery FSU is now #1 in the BCS standings and will more than likely play in the national championship game (hooray!). Up next? DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOK.
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