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Florida State vs. Florida: Defensive recap, breakdown, analysis

A cavalcade of mistakes and poor tackling wore down FSU’s defense

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 27 Florida State at Florida Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Florida State Seminoles football team started 0-4 but then won five of their next seven games. On Saturday they fell short of making it six of their last eight, falling to the Florida Gators 24-21. FSU has failed to make a bowl game in three of their last four seasons, but despite the 5-7 finish this is still a successful season for FSU, even if this game will leave a bitter taste in the mouth for a long time.

After a week of speculation about his status due to a potential ankle injury in practice, quarterback Emory Jones got the starting nod. However, we saw backup Anthony Richardson on the game’s first drive and after three picks by Jones Richardson took over signal caller duties the rest of the way.

UF wants to throw tons of short quick passes, which isn’t a great matchup for FSU whose linebackers (and some defensive backs) struggle to cover and tackle in space. The Gators converted more than 70 percent of their third down attempts over the game’s first three quarters. FSU’s defense just couldn’t get off the field.

In the end it became a war of attrition against the energy of the Seminoles’ defense. Mistakes by the offense and special teams, especially a critical muffed punt by Wilson along with poor tackling by the Seminole defense and it being a little bit of a bad matchup, doomed the ’Noles.

Let’s break it down.


  • On UF’s first drive, they converted 3rd and 1 and 3rd and 8 before Jammie Robinson gave up a 47-yard TD on a 3rd and 9 near midfield. Brutal. Gators with 9.4 yards per play. There were a couple missed holding calls on UF up front and Jones made some good throws with defenders around him. However, on UF’s second drive the ’Noles got off the field to force a three and out.
  • Jordan Travis gets hurt, lands on his throwing shoulder. Goes into the medical tent, comes back out, but lands on it again and goes into locker room. FSU doesn’t have much of a chance without Travis, and one would expect this defense to wear down. Great punt pins the Gators back near their own end zone and FSU gets off the field on a 3rd and 10 after a single first down.
  • UF with 6.4 ypp. 108 total yards of offense on 17 plays.

Florida 7, FSU 0


  • Milton throws a horrible pick, and then UF goes for a kill shot with a flea flicker. Pressure gets to Jones and he throws a pick himself to give it right back. Robinson makes up for his earlier mistake with the INT. How long can this defense keep this offense in the game?
  • Jarvis Brownlee gets embarrassed in the open field. But a few plays later Jones throws a pick right to Kalen DeLoach. Great job by DeLoach reading Emory Jones’ eyes.
  • Pursuit is a mixed bag. Some plays great sideline to sideline, some big whiffs, especially in space. D.J. Lundy misses Jones in space to give UF a new set of downs. Lundy whiffs again on the next play but cavalry gets there.
  • UF now 5/7 on third downs. Kevin Knowles injured but returned. UF now 6/8 on third downs. Gators attacking FSU’s linebackers in underneath coverage. Jarvis Brownlee injured.
  • FSU playing lots of off coverage despite UF only wanting short quick throws. That’s also limiting FSU’s pass rush.
  • Swing pass into the flat on 3rd and 3 and Amari Gainer is too slow to get out there to stop the conversion. UF with a new set of downs at the 20-yard line with just over 1 minute left.
  • Gators get first and goal with 47 seconds. On the next play Jones throws a late pass and it’s picked in the end zone as Jarvis Brownlee steps in front of it. That’s his third pick of the day.
  • Gators down to 5.4 yards per play; 210 total yards on 39 plays. UF has gotten 4 explosive plays for a total of 101 yards.
  • UF sack-adjusted rushing average is 2.9. FSU stuffing 30% of the Gators’ runs.
  • UF 8/10 on third downs, which is killer, since their average yards to go is 5.9.
  • Emory Jones is 16/23 163 yards 1 TD and 3 INT.

FSU 7, UF 7


  • Jones surprisingly starts the second half and promptly throws a pass into Lundy’s back to boos from the crowd. Jones gets benched for Richardson who easily converts a 3rd and 8. UF kicks a field goal.
  • Mastromanno punt puts UF at their own 1-yard line. Richardson looks like the QB the rest of the way. FSU forces a three and out, but Ontaria “Pokie” Wilson muffs the punt and gives Gators great field position and puts the defense right back on the field. Jermaine Johnson finally gets a sack. But two missed tackles and FSU gives up a 3rd and 21. Pain.
  • UF now 10/14 on third downs.
  • UF gets their own circus catch over Jarrian Jones for a touchdown. Brutal series for FSU. It was a 16-play drive for UF.
  • Travis throws a pick on the first play of FSU’s next drive as Andrew Parchment got boxed out so the defense comes back on the field. They have to be gassed.
  • Across quarters 2 and 3 UF ran 43 plays and FSU just 26.
  • UF with 5.3 ypp on 60 plays. 313 total yards of offense.
  • 30 rushes with 98 yards, just 3.3 a rush.
  • Richardson: 5/6 for 55 yards and 1 TD.

UF 17, FSU 7


  • UF punches it in on an untouched run and goes up 24-7 and that will be game. Defense gassed. UF has run 66 plays to FSU’s 40. UF with 141 total yards of offense this half; FSU with just 61. FSU has missed at least 10 tackles today. Despite his interception it didn’t appear to be a great day for Jammie Robinson. Still, he has 18 tackles today so far, 10 more than anyone else.

UF 24, FSU 14

End of game

  • Defensive MVP has to be Jermaine Johnson simply because he’s the best player on FSU’s defense.