Early Analysis: Florida vs. Florida State

Timmy Jernigan and the Seminole defense look to feast on a weak Gator offense
after Thanksgiving. Photo: USA Today

No. 2 Florida State at Florida

Saturday, 12:00 PM, ESPN

No Line

Will Muschamp is not coaching for his job. Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley has made that much clear. Of course, some of the Florida offensive coaches aren’t coaching for their jobs, either, if rumors are true.

The storyline for this week is simple: Is there anything at all that Florida can do to derail Florida State’s chances at the BCS title?

For Florida to win: Throw the kitchen sink at Florida State. Not literally, although that might work too. The thought is that if you’re not going to be there next year, Brent Pease, then return to your roots and open it up. Funky formations, motions, gadget plays. Go for broke. No one expects you to win the game anyway, so why not down swinging? Pull out all the stops to try and ruin your largest rival’s dream season.

For Florida State to win: Control the line of scrimmage. Florida is at their best when they are trying to move the ball on the ground, and can get decent push at times. Florida State, though, is currently holding opponents to about three yards per carry on the ground. Florida would be content to consistently gain that many yards on the ground and keep the chains and the clock moving. Florida State will want to get as many negative plays and short gains on offense to get Florida behind the chains and force them to do what they do not want to do right now: throw the ball down the field.

Key Player, Florida: Kelvin Taylor, running back. Taylor has been called upon to push the ball forward on the ground lately, and he has done admirably, rushing for nearly 100 yards in each of the last two games (96 against South Carolina, 92 against Georgia Southern). Taylor may need to have the game of his life if Florida is going to achieve the unthinkable at this time.

Key Player, Florida State: Timmy Jernigan, defensive lineman. So, why is a defensive lineman the key to the game for the ‘Noles. Simple: Florida already has trouble moving the ball. However, they can run the ball somewhat effectively. If Jernigan can disrupt plays at the line of scrimmage and force Florida from standard downs into passing, things will bode well for the Seminoles.

Key Stat: 2-1. That is Jimbo Fisher’s record so far against Florida as the head coach of the Seminoles. Fisher's predecessor, Bobby Bowden, also started his coaching career off at Florida State with a 2-1 record. Bowden went 3-1. Can Fisher do the same?

Dave Singleton

About Dave Singleton

Dave Singleton has been writing about sports and other stuff on the internet for over a decade. His work has been featured at Crystal Ball Run, Rock M Nation and Southern Pigskin. Born and raised on the East Coast, Dave attended college in the Midwest. He now lives in the Las Vegas area.