Gators had tough time with FSU's line

Florida State Seminoles defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan (8) celebrates after a tackle against the Florida Gators during the first half at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Saturday Nov. 30 2013 in Gainesville, Fla. Florida State defeated Florida 37-7. (Matt Stamey/Staff photographer)

The Gainesville Sun
Published: Saturday, November 30, 2013 at 7:22 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, November 30, 2013 at 7:22 p.m.

As the option run from Florida ripped through the Seminoles' defense for 50 yards in the first quarter Saturday, Timmy Jernigan could not help but seethe at his missed opportunity.

Due to a miscommunication with his defensive coaches, Jernigan lined up out of position when UF receiver Trey Burton took his first wildcat snap at quarterback, leaving a gaping hole for the Gators' senior to exploit.

“I didn't hear a call that was made, so we really didn't make that adjustment and he just busted that big one,” said Jernigan, a junior defensive tackle. “We knew he was keeping it.”

When Burton received his next carry two plays later, the Seminoles' defense was waiting, dropping him for a 3-yard loss.

Second-ranked Florida State (12-0) limited the Gators (4-8) to 78 rushing yards as a team in the Seminoles' 37-7 win, spearheaded by a dominant showing by FSU's defensive line.

A Lake City Columbia High product, Jernigan said he heard plenty from fans in his self-described “Orange-and-Blue” hometown when Florida gashed FSU for 244 rushing yards last year in Tallahassee. Jernigan expects his next visit home to be more enjoyable.

“It really means a lot to me though from a personal standpoint, growing up 20 minutes away from here,” Jernigan said. “Now I can go home with a smile.”

Coming off a 4.5 tackle for loss effort in last week's 80-14 home win over Idaho, including 2.5 sacks, Jernigan was held to one tackle and one pass breakup by Florida's offensive line, which saddled the 6-foot-2, 296-pounder with frequent double teams.

As Jernigan drew the Gators' attention early, defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. flourished with two tackles for loss, including an 8-yard sack of UF quarterback Skyler Mornhinweg.

“We definitely took it personally that they thought we were soft,” said Edwards, a sophomore. “We didn't want to lip-talk or do anything like that. We wanted to prove with our pads that we were tougher.”

The pair of defensive linemen worked with each other again in the third quarter, as Edwards came off the edge to force a Mornhinweg fumble on Florida's first possession of the half.

The Seminoles scored six plays later on a Roberto Aguayo field goal from 40 yards out, extending their lead to 20-0.

“Getting the fumble and the turnover, that was critical, because we got points right after that,” FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said. “Our defense, I thought, played outstanding. I mean they really did — controlling the run, getting pressure and tackling.”

Though Jernigan, who leads FSU with 10.5 tackles for loss this season, was held without a hit behind the line of scrimmage for just the third time in his last eight games, he is confident he won't have to wait long to reach the backfield again.

“That's just what we expect from (Edwards), being the dominant player that he is,” Jernigan said. “When I draw those double teams and all those different things, it frees him up one-on-one and he's another player I feel like you can't block one-on-one.”

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