The Seminoles trail in the all-time series against the Gators, but they have been dominant in the past half-decade. Florida State has won five-straight games against its in-state rivals, including last season, 38-22, when both teams struggled throughout the season.
Not only has FSU won the last five, but the ‘Noles have also won seven of the last eight. Of those seven wins, only one game was close. In 2014, Florida State won by five points, but the rest have been victories of over two touchdowns. Last season, when their backs were against the wall like they are now, the Seminoles beat Florida by 16 points for their fifth win of the season.
Over the past two seasons, the Seminoles have found themselves on the ropes while seeking bowl eligibility. Last year, Clemson handed them their sixth loss. After that, they won three consecutive games to become bowl-eligible and then beat Southern Miss. This season, they needed to win their last two games to make a bowl game. They started with a 22-21 win over Boston College before hosting No. 11 Florida at Doak Campbell Stadium on Saturday.
The Gators would love nothing more than to end two streaks this weekend — the streak of five losses to Florida State and the 36-year bowl streak. There is so much on the line, but that is what makes this rivalry so amazing. Even without the streaks, it is still vital to each of the teams success.
Let’s take a look back at FSU’s impressive winning streak against UF:
2017: Florida State 38, Florida 22
In a game that was controlled by the Seminoles’ defense, Florida State continued its hopes of playing in a bowl game. Jacob Pugh opened the scoring with a 16-yard fumble return for a touchdown just over four minutes into the game. Levonta Taylor then added an 18-yard interception return for a touchdown with just under four minutes remaining in the first half to push their lead to 24-7.
The offense struggled during the game with only 216 total yards on the day. Jacques Patrick led the way on the ground with 67 yards on 15 carries, while Cam Akers added 34 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries. James Blackman had an average day with just 128 yards on 10-of-21 passing, but he had two touchdowns through the air along with an interception.
Without the defense forcing four turnovers, two going back for scores, the ‘Noles probably don’t win this game.
2016: Florida State 31, Florida 13
This was another game that was controlled by the Florida State defense. They only allowed 207 yards to Austin Appleby and the Gators offense. The Seminoles’ offense was much more productive, though, but it was all on Dalvin Cook’s back. Cook had another huge game against the Gators — his last in this rivalry before leaving for the NFL.
During his career against Florida, Cook had 76 carries go for 480 yards and three touchdowns, an average of 25 carries for 160 yards and a touchdown in each matchup. I have a feeling Florida was happy to see him declare for the NFL Draft a season early.
In his last game against the Gators, Cook rushed for 153 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries. Deondre Francois only passed for 138 yards, a touchdown and an interception during the game, but wasn’t needed much with the success of the ground attack. He also rushed for 63 yards and a score on nine carries.
2015: Florida State 27, Florida 2
This game was all Cook and the defense once again. The defense didn’t force any turnovers, but they only allowed 262 yards all game, which was not really that much more than what Cook gained.
On 26 carries, he gained 183 yards and two touchdowns to go along with three receptions for 11 yards. Sean Maguire got the start at quarterback and threw for 160 yards and a touchdown while completing half of his 28 attempts. Kermit Whitfield was the leading receiver with 52 yards on two catches, with 45 yards coming on one big play.
The only points scored by Florida was on a sack-fumble that bounced around, but was covered by Maguire in FSU’s end zone midway through the fourth quarter.
2014: Florida State 24, Florida 19
In the closest game in the past five years, FSU can thank its defense for only allowing field goals. In the first half, the Gators scored four times, but three of them were field goals. It could have been a huge deficit to overcome.
Jameis Winston had maybe one of the worst games of his college career with four interceptions and just 125 yards with two touchdowns. The offense was once again carried by Cook, with this being his first game in this rivalry as a freshman. He carried the ball 24 times and gained 144 yards.
Nick O’Leary led the team in receiving with 52 yards on four catches with two touchdowns.
In the second half, both defenses were tough, each only allowing a field goal.
2013: Florida State 37, Florida 7
In their biggest win since 1988, the ‘Noles began their current streak. On their way to a National Championship, Winston and Kelvin Benjamin were dominant in this game. Through three quarters, Florida State led 27-0 before the Gators finally scored early in the fourth.
Winston completed 19 of 31 passes and threw for 327 yards and three touchdowns with one interception. Benjamin was the main weapon used in the passing game, gaining almost two-thirds of Winston’s yards with 212 yards and three touchdowns on nine receptions, including a 29-yard touchdown catch with 25 seconds left before halftime to stretch their lead to 17-0.
The defense was great in this one, only allowing 193 yards and forcing two fumbles. James Wilder Jr. led the way on the ground with 63 yards on 10 carries, while Devonta Freeman had 44 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries.
All-Time Series: Florida 34, Florida State 26 (2 Ties)
Since their first game in 1958, the Gators have taken 34 of the games compared to the ‘Noles winning 26 with two games ending in a tie during the 1961 and 1994 games.
Florida won most of the games at the beginning of this rivalry with 16 of the first 19 games going their way, including a nine-game winning streak, which is the longest in this rivalry. The Seminoles followed that up with four wins, then five by the Gators, then another four by Florida State. From 2004-09, Florida won six-straight games.