Capital punishment: Florida puts an end to several Florida State streaks, 41-14

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Florida wide receiver Trevon Grimes does the Gator Chomp after a 74-yard touchdown run in the second quarter Saturday by running back Lamical Perine (22) against Florida State at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee. [Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun]

TALLAHASSEE — After picking up a giant Gator flag and sprinting toward the south end zone of Doak Campbell Stadium, junior Florida defensive back Chauncey Gardner-Johnson dropped the orange and blue prop, picked up a mask with warpaint on it and leapt into the stands to celebrate with cheering, chanting Florida fans.

“They deserved it,” he said. “They’ve got their bragging rights now. The streak is over.”

Yes, it is. Vanquished. And not just one streak, but three — the five-game losing streak to Florida State, the Seminoles’ long bowl streak, which comes to an end at 36 consecutive years and handed FSU its first losing season since 1976, which was Bobby Bowden’s first season as head coach.

The Florida Gators busted all three Saturday with a convincing 41-14 rout of the Seminoles before 71,953.

“Great, great team win for us today,” UF coach Dan Mullen said. “We wanted to play our best offense, defense, kicking game of the year and execute. As we talked about through the year, we wanted to get better and better and better and better as the year goes on and play a complete game. I really think we did.

“It’s huge. To finish off (the season) getting a win over your rival in year one is huge.”

It was a total team victory that moves the Gators to 9-3 on the season and puts them in a position to possibly play in a prestigious New Year’s Six bowl game in Mullen’s first season.

“Absolutely,” Gardner-Johnson said, when asked if the Gators deserved to be in a New Year’s Six bowl game. “We were playing to become a New Year’s Six bowl team. We’re planning to be a top-10 team in the country (at the end of the season). We came out with a chip on our shoulder. We were going to do what we had to do.”

The Gators certainly looked and played like a potential top-10 team Saturday.

Feleipe Franks threw for 254 yards and three touchdowns and the Gators piled up 536 total yards (UF’s third consecutive 500-yard game), including 282 on the ground, 129 by junior running back Lamical Perine, who had a 74-yard scoring run in the first half.

It was perhaps the best game of Franks’ UF career.

“I just think he got comfortable and in the flow of the game,” Mullen said. “He did a great job. He didn’t make mistakes and he executed well.”

The same could be said of the defense.

The Gators held FSU to 293 total yards and 15 first downs, while sacking FSU quarterback Deondre Francois five times and coming up with three turnovers — one fumble (caused by Jachai Polite on a sack of Francois) and two interceptions (by Trey Dean and Donovan Stiner).

Overall, the Gators played the way they expected to, Gardner-Johnson said.

“We weren’t worried about this game,” he said. “We knew we were the better team.”

The Gators only led 13-7 at the half, but started pulling away with two Franks touchdown passes in the third quarter — one a three-yarder to Josh Hammond and the other a 22-yarder to Trevon Grimes.

FSU cut the deficit to 27-14 on a four-yard run by Francois, but UF answered with a 38-yard TD pass from Franks to Van Jefferson on the first play of the fourth quarter. The Gators ended any doubt with a nine-yard TD run by Jordan Scarlett with 3:53 left in the game.

It all led to another victory celebration in the postgame locker room, something the Gators have now done nine times this season.

“They’re finding themselves,” Mullen said of the players. “You’ve got a team that went 4-7 last year, with a new coach, a new program, a new way of doing things.

“The guys are really learning what we expect out of them in this new program.”

Not only were the Gators celebrating the end of a five-game losing streak to the Seminoles on Saturday, they were feeling pretty good about denying FSU a bowl game, something the ‘Noles did to them last season.

“Last year, they sent us home,” Gardner-Johnson said. “We couldn’t play in a bowl game and had to watch them play in one. We knew, ‘Listen, we can do the same thing they did to us last year if we go in there and grind it out.’ That’s what we did.”

The Seminoles finish their first season under Willie Taggart at 5-7 and no bowl game.

“It was really tough because of what was at stake,” Taggart said of the FSU postgame locker room. “Nobody in that locker room wanted to be part of that team that breaks the bowl streak.

“A lot of tears and a lot of guys were hurting. We wanted to get it done and we didn’t. It’s frustrating, disappointing, and guys are hurting.”


Up next

What: Selection Day for College Football Playoff Committee with final ranking, bowl pairings

When: Noon-4 p.m. Dec. 2

TV: ESPN

47 COMMENTS

  1. It’s been a great first season under CDM, sealed by an awesome win against the Noles. He and his staff’s influence on this group of athletes has been tremendous. It’s refreshing to walk away from a season with such a positive vibe, goodness know’s we’ve longed for that for quite a while. Now get ready for a New Year’s Day bowl Gator Nation! Go Gators!

  2. Robbie, “My gut is telling me that FSU is going to hit some explosive plays on offense early to generate momentum and confidence, and the Seminoles will be tough to stop the rest of the afternoon.”

    You went as far as to predict FSU 31 – UF 17.

    Now that you ate turkey on Thursday and ate a lot of crow on Saturday, it is time to take a well deserved retirement!

  3. “It was really tough because of what was at stake,” Taggart said of the FSU postgame locker room. “Nobody in that locker room wanted to be part of that team that breaks the bowl streak.

    “A lot of tears and a lot of guys were hurting. We wanted to get it done and we didn’t. It’s frustrating, disappointing, and guys are hurting.”

    And the Gators are celebrating!

    • Awww. Don’t be so hard on Robbie. The semis are so poorly coached and discombobulated they look like they brought MacElwain in to run the show. Robbie can’t pick against any team that has that Yellow Teeth luster! Another season seeing a real coach doing a great job should cure him!

    • Robbie has a job to do. Do not pile on him because he made a bad pick, his record of picks in big games is not good. His job is to create fan interest. He did that, as he always does. If you are making your bets based on his picks, well, then, I feel sorry for you..

      • Helomn-one site is tomahawknation.com. But I warn you that after reading that crap you would swear the Holes should have won that game and were done in by a few missed tackles and poor officiating. What a bunch of homers.
        Please don’t read or it will spoil the victory.

      • Nashville; Good comment, especially the face mask. My son (former Div. II CB and WR) called illegal formation before Deondre thew that TD pass that was called back. I was surprised they made the call as I often see players in motion who don’t set for the full second and it’s not called. So kudos to the refs. My son saw yelled it out immediately and I never thought it would be called. Wrong. I think the Gator D did not improve the ‘Noles minds even after that play over-turned. I think Francois ate a lot of the Doak for this evening meal.

      • Yea Nash about the ACC officiating, I said the exact same thing. After so many years where their zebras tried to hand the game to FSU (see Ron Zook era), I thought they called a really good game this time. Maybe they just knew what a train wreck FSU was and didn’t want to be associated with that.

  4. Gonna be a good day sunshine….. Was a great day! It’s Great to Be a Florida Gator! Yes the staff was wrong but may be jaded by several part years of empty results from lesser coaches. Or, they may be sitting the posters here like some of the trolls, or they really believed we were going to lose. Likely they are writers doing their job, but not fans of the team who can remain objective or somewhat so and look at stats and see we outmatched FSU coming in and we have a heart this year. Something we’ve been lacking for many years. Hats off to Mullen and co. And all the Gators for finishing and giving is a game to remember in showing us the future a much brighter future. Go gators! 🐊

  5. Robbie, and some questionable posters on here all week, didn’t think the Gators would be able to run because stopping the running game was the Noles specialty. He/they forgot FSU doesn’t compete in the SEC. I’m glad we don’t have to hear anymore about how the UF O-line wouldn’t be able to stop Burns from harrassing Franks. Lol. What a joke.

  6. After the LSU loss to Texas A&M in seven OTs late last night, Florida is now likely to finish the regular season in the top 10 of the college football playoff rankings and are likely headed to a New Year’s Six bowl game. Not many people thought those two things were going to happen after the back to back losses to Georgia and Missouri. That response (compared to last year) by the Florida players and coaches speaks volumes about the change in the player’s attitudes this year (and the total buy in to Mullen and his staff) and the coaching skills and leadership of Mullen, his assistants, and the support staff. Major kudos to all of them, and to the support they received from most of Gator Nation this season. A great season which will likely get even better in the coming seasons under the direction and leadership of Dan Mullen.

    • Agreed Tampa…… we are lucky to have Dan Mullen. My buddies in Orange up here were giving me grief for months about us “settling” for “Mediocre Mullen”. (As if Pruitt were any big prize). They’re not giving me grief any more 🙂

  7. It’s nit just that the Holes got thrashed yesterday. How does the absolutely abysmal coaching look to recruits? Procedural penalties probably get overlooked, but it’s tough to explain away your inability –on multiple occasions– to line up with the full allowed complement of 11 guys.

    Do parents want their kids going to that dumpster fire? Taggert Year 1 looks like McElwain, Year 3.

    • I read one of the articles on TDO after the game and they were commenting on how delusional his pre-season comments seem in light of what happened, where he was talking about how hard working the team was and how they had a bunch of “War Daddies” that would dominate everyone. Much like Yellow Teeth, he seemed to have no read at all on the attitude and demeanor of his team. He does seem like a clueless fool.

      • Jaws, I think Taggart will actually be over his head at FSU until corrective action is taken by the university a few years down the road. But the real clueless fool is whatever scumbag made apparently racist threats against him on facebook……as much as I dislike FSU and virtually every thing about it, that’s really hard to swallow.

        • 6, I don’t do facebook so I would never see that. I think the Taggart thing goes to potential and current. He hasn’t had a winning record overall and while he might have the potential to be a good coach he is not there now. Then you have the whether they are a fit and their approach. Muschamp had the fire, but his own drive (ego) kept him from making the right decisions which cost in the w/l column. He has matured a bit in SC but still not enough to run a program like ours. Mac was over his head on all accounts and while it appears he is ok as a coordinator the whole picture is not something he sees. There was something about learning your limits taught to me along time ago. It’s better to be great at the level you are competent than to try to be something you are not. Taggart will be a long term project if they stay with him.

        • Put me down as one person who does not condone death threats. It seems it should be easy enough to track down something like that, so they will probably catch ’em. I think Taggert could turn it around eventually, but he certainly did not read his team right this year.

  8. This was a fantastic game where the Gators put it all together in all phases of the game.
    Relentless effort and continuous improvement are the Mullen way and the team has bought-in.
    You just saw a top ten team win big.
    Top recruits were watching and will fall in,line. Next year will be huge.
    It’s great to be a Florida Gator !

    • Lets not get carried away. FSU is terrible this year and was a cupcake win. Dont make more of the win than it was. UF was just so unpredictable as to which team would show up that it made the win exciting but it was still a win over a cupcake which is easy to do compared to a Ga or Mo!