Ga­tors end five-year los­ing streak to Noles

Florida routed FSU to pos­si­bly se­cure a New Year’s Six bowl bid and ended the Semi­noles’ streak of mak­ing a bowl at an NCAA-record 37 years.

Miami Herald (Sunday) - - Sports - BY ALANIS THAMES Mi­ami Herald Writer

TAL­LA­HAS­SEE

Af­ter the last play of the game, Florida coach Dan Mullen yelled for his play­ers to go straight to the fans. They all pro­ceeded to the where the UF fans were still bois­ter­ously cheer­ing at Doak Camp­bell Sta­dium.

De­fen­sive back Chauncey Gard­ner-John­son and tight end R.J. Ray­mond jumped into the stands and led the team and the fans in a vic­to­ri­ous chant, fol­lowed by their tra­di­tion of singing “We are the boys from old Florida.”

It was the first time since 2012 that Florida was able to cel­e­brate a vic­tory over its in-state ri­val Florida State. The No. 13 Ga­tors (Col­lege Foot­ball Play­off No. 11) topped the Semi­noles 41-14 on Satur­day.

“No­body on our team has beaten Florida State be­fore,” quar­ter­back Feleipe Franks said, “and we came out and bat­tled, and

it def­i­nitely ranks at the top.”

The Ga­tors piled on five touch­downs, and they com­piled over 500 yards of of­fense for the third con­sec­u­tive game.

Ju­nior tail­back Lam­i­cal Per­ine ac­counted for 129 of Florida’s 282 rush­ing yards. His per­for­mance was high­lighted by a sec­ond-quar­ter touch­down run that saw him burst through a hole on the left side and zip down the field for a 74-yard score.

And de­spite eight Florida State penal­ties through the first two quar­ters of play, the game was close at the half with Florida car­ry­ing a 13-7 lead.

The Ga­tors ex­tended their lead with 10:53 left in the third quar­ter, how­ever, as an­other costly penalty on the Semi­noles gave Florida a fresh set of downs. An un­sports­man­like con­duct on FSU de­fen­sive back Stan­ford Sa­muels gifted the Ga­tors a first-and-goal at the FSU 5-yard line. It led to the Ga­tors’ sec­ond touch­down, a 3-yard pass from Franks to wide re­ceiver Josh Ham­mond.

“All week, we weren’t wor­ried about this game. We knew we were the bet­ter team,” Gard­ner-John­son said. “We knew they were the most undis­ci­plined team in Amer­ica, so we were just go­ing to take ad­van­tage of ev­ery lit­tle op­por­tu­nity we had. That’s what we did.”

De­fen­sive ends Jachai Po­lite and Jabari Zu­niga head­lined a UF de­fense that recorded its fourth five-sack game of the sea­son.

Po­lite had a strip sack of FSU quar­ter­back Deon­dre Fran­cois, which was re­cov­ered by de­fen­sive end CeCe Jef­fer­son. It led to a 22-yard touch­down catch by Trevon Grimes on the very next play to give the Ga­tors a 27-7 lead.

Grimes, a trans­fer from Ohio State, com­bined with Ole Miss trans­fer Van Jef­fer­son for 210 of the Ga­tors’ 254 pass­ing yards.

And de­spite two promis­ing touch­down drives by the Semi­noles — one that in­cluded a one-handed grab in the end zone by run­ning back Cam Ak­ers — the Ga­tors proved too much down the stretch. It was one of their most com­plete games of the sea­son as they scored 28 points in the sec­ond half and held Florida State to 1 of 14 on third downs.

Cou­pled with Florida State’s self-in­flicted wounds, it led to the Semi­noles’ col­lapse at home to cul­mi­nate a 5-7 sea­son.

“Dis­ap­point­ing loss. Dis­ap­point­ing sea­son,” first-year FSU coach Wil­lie Tag­gart said. “I think ev­ery­body in that locker room is hurt­ing.”

The loss pre­sum­ably ended the Semi­noles’ chances of mak­ing a bowl ap­pear­ance for the 37th con­sec­u­tive year, which was an NCAA record.

And Florida could be on its way to a ma­jor bowl game in Mullen’s first sea­son as head coach.

“I’m try­ing to go to a New Year’s Six bowl, so that’d fun,” Franks said. “Our guys de­serve it.”

MARK WALL­HEISER AP

Florida wide re­ceiver Van Jef­fer­son makes a 38-yard touch­down catch in the sec­ond half against FSU.

MARK WALL­HEISER AP

Florida quar­ter­back Feleipe Franks is brought down just short of the goal line by Florida State de­fen­sive back Jaiden Wood­bey (20) in the first half of the Ga­tors’ 41-14 vic­tory on Satur­day at Doak Camp­bell Sta­dium in Tal­la­has­see.

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