Date: November 30, 2013
Location: Florida Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville, Fla.
Opponent: Florida Gators
The 2013 Florida State Seminoles were one of the most dominant college football teams of all-time. Fueled by an offense lead by eventual Heisman Trophy winner, QB Jameis Winston, the Seminoles capped their undefeated season with a third national title in program history with a win over Auburn in the BCS National Championship Game. The ‘Noles also finished the season as the highest-scoring offense in college football history. When it was all said and done, FSU would outscore its 2013 opponents by a combined score of 723-170. WR Kelvin Benjamin played a big part in that offense, recording 54 catches for 1,011 yards and 15 touchdowns.
On November 30, 2013, the No. 2 Seminoles rode into Gainesville with one final regular season opponent left to finish off in order to complete the program’s first undefeated regular season since 1999. The 2013 Florida Gators were, needless to say, not one of the most dominant college football teams of all-time. In fact, Florida was struggling through its worst campaign since 1979. UF came into this game with a 4-7 record, not having won a game since October 5 against Arkansas. Quarterback troubles abound. The week prior, the Gators lost at home to FCS Georgia Southern 26-20 in a game where the Eagles did not complete a pass. The loss to Georgia Southern eliminated any hope of the Gators becoming bowl eligible and ensured the Gators would finish the season with a losing record. Needless to say, they were overmatched against Florida State.
Although the ‘Noles got off to a sluggish start, scoring only three points in the first quarter, the offense would begin to come alive in the second quarter. In particular, Benjamin decided to take matters into his own hands (and feet).
With 4:35 remaining in the half and the Seminoles facing a 1st and 10 at the UF 45 yard line, Winston takes the snap in the shotgun and quickly finds Benjamin open across the middle running a slant. The pass is completed for 10 yards before any UF defender attempts to bring the big receiver down.
What KB does next is clown—embarrass—nay, demoralize—the entire toothless Gator secondary. Benjamin runs through the initial arm tackle attempt by cornerback Brian Poole. He makes safety Jabari Gorman miss. Then its off to the races. Twenty yards downfield, Jaylen Watkins catches up to Benjamin, but KB spins out of his futile attempt to drag him down. At this point, cornerback Vernon Hargreaves half-heartedly attempts to stop Benjamin, but completely whiffs on the attempt after Benjamin’s spin-move. Cornerback Cody Riggs manages to come close to KB inside the 10, but decides to trip on Gorman instead. KB gracefully falls into the endzone following a brief attempt by Brian Poole to knock the ball loose, completing the 45-yard touchdown pass (with 35 yards of YAC). Benjamin’s touchdown gallop broke six different tackle attempts, humiliating the entire “DBU” secondary in the process, and gave the ‘Noles a nine-point lead.
KB would shortly add a second touchdown before halftime, and FSU would cap off their undefeated regular season by cruising to a 37-7 win. The mostly-empty Swamp muttered a soft “We are the Boys” and a sad sway at the end of the third quarter. A beautiful ending to a beautiful day.
In one of the most dominant seasons in college football history, FSU and Kelvin Benjamin embarrassed one of the worst teams Florida fielded in decades. This win would begin the current five-game overall winning streak over the Gators, as well as continue the ‘Noles’ current four-game winning streak in the Swamp. KB finished the game with 9 receptions for 212 yards and 3 touchdowns. Just five weeks later, he would make the game-winning touchdown reception in the BCS National Championship Game. He would go on to be drafted 28th overall by the Carolina Panthers in the 2014 NFL Draft.
On this day, Benjamin helped cap off FSU’s perfect regular season—and end Florida’s pathetic 4-8 campaign—by singlehandedly manhandling their entire secondary. It due time, he would help deliver the ‘Noles’ 2013 national title. A better paragraph has never been written.
Kelvin Benjamin: A man among boys.