The difference this season? The Seminoles’ win over the Gators solidified the seventh undefeated and untied regular season in school history, giving FSU a 12-0 record heading into next week’s ACC Championship game against the Louisville Cardinals.
It was a gritty performance on the end of Florida State, who bounced back from a first quarter and a half to forget and 12-0 deficit to take home a 24-15 win — ending Florida’s hopes at bowl eligibility and wrapping up the school’s third straight losing season.
What takeaways are there from the win? The Tomahawk Nation staff breaks it down below with five answers to five questions.
Where was Florida able to take advantage early in the game?
LastNoleOfKrypton: They took advantage with a good script early and some regressive coaching by FSU’s staff. UF couldn’t rush the passer and that was true all night; would have liked to have seen Mike come out throwing down the field.
Tim: On defense, they took advantage of Norvell and the staff coming out ultra conservative. Offensively, their motion and jet sweeps kept FSU’s backers and safeties on their heels.
Evenflow58: UF hit some missed fits on some run plays and got some good plays from Brown. FSU doesn’t really care about yards 0-50 but 51-100 are going to be a slog.
Perry: Third down conversions on offense, keeping FSU behind the chains on defense. FSU was unsure of itself as it tried to handle a wave of penalties, and the Gators took as much advantage as possible from those opportunities.
What play was the turning point for Florida State?
LastNoleOfKrypton: The third-down conversion in the redzone to Johnny; once he hit that it was almost like it had to remind both Mike and Tate that he’s better than what he’s shown.
Tim: FSU won 24-3 post-spit. While I don’t think that was the turning point, it helped keep an offensive drive alive. On that note, I’ll take the entire first touchdown drive. It gave Tate and Norvell confidence and it felt like it took some air out of the stadium.
Evenflow58: I would say the long play to Bell was a good point. It gave Tate a bit of confidence and he was pretty good on the night as long as he could hit his first or second option.
Perry: That final drive of the first half that gave FSU its first touchdown — you could see the change in Rodemaker’s confidence, moving around the pocket and taking what the defense gave him.
Was tonight the most impressive performance from the FSU defense this season?
LastNoleOfKrypton: Yes it was, UF’s average starting field position was something like their own 40 in the first half, at one point FSU’s offense only had six plays. They only allowed 15 points despite the absolute gaffe of a gift by the referees on UF’s first touchdown.
Tim: Probably? The defense typically knows the offense is going to pull their weight but did not have that guarantee tonight. Once the coaches adapted, FSU’s defense shut down the Gators.
Evenflow58: No, I don’t think so. They played well for sure but that’s not a good UF offense and they were without their starting QB. The DL was pretty incredible though.
Perry: From first to last whistle, it’s hard to argue against it. The Gators finished with just 232 yards of offense (3.9 yards per play), with only 48 of those earned in the second half. There were a few plays early on where the Seminoles were in prime position but got lost in space, but FSU only allowed one touchdown on the night and finished the game by forcing three straight three-and-outs before a Kalen DeLoach finished off things with a pick.
What are your early thoughts heading into next week’s game vs. Louisville?
LastNoleOfKrypton: My early thoughts are that I expect Jeff Brohm to scheme up some good plays but I don’t think Louisville’s offense will be able to score much at all vs. this motivated defense; they were fantastic tonight.
Tim: It’s the one week I really do not enjoy living in Louisville. Don’t let today’s result against UK fool you, this is a good Cardinals team that will come out ready to play.
Evenflow58: One week at a time. Maybe UL trips them up. Maybe not. I could certainly see any result there.
Perry: I feel a lot more confident after seeing Florida State weather this storm — pretty much everything that could have gone wrong did, from self-inflicted mistakes to penalties to continuously feeding a rabid Gators’ crowd, and FSU still managed to cover. Louisville might have slipped up to two bad-to-average teams in Pitt and Kentucky but the Cardinals still bring a pretty decent defense and potent offense to the table. Quarterback Jack Plummer has three straight games with 2-plus touchdowns and over 240 yards — but also has thrown an interception in each of those. Initial thought is if FSU can get through another game relatively clean (no turnovers tonight for the Seminoles, the third straight game without one.)
How’s it feel to go 12-0 for the first time in 10 years?
LastNoleOfKrypton: Like the first bite of Rispoli’s tiramisu on a Sunday morning that’s just above 60 degrees, sunny, and a slight breeze that makes all the leaves beautifully flutter in the wind, Go ‘Noles.
Evenflow58: This is a great season. They missed a bowl two years ago. That’s a pretty darn good turn around.
Perry: It seriously can’t be understated how huge it is for the Seminoles to wrap up their regular season slate unblemished, especially considering where the program sat at the end of 2021. This program has gone from missing a bowl at the hands of Florida to returning the favor of kicking off the Gators’ offseason early, Mike Norvell from the hot seat to one game out from a College Football Playoff appearance. This team has taken a few years off our lives with the way they continue to flirt with disaster and win, but hey, what’s life without a little thrill?