Against UF, all about Benjamin

Florida State Seminoles wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin (1) runs the ball during the game between the Florida Gators and the Florida State Seminoles, at the Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on November 30, 2013, in Gainesville, Fla. (Elizabeth Hamilton / Correspondent)

The Gainesville Sun
Published: Saturday, November 30, 2013 at 6:43 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, November 30, 2013 at 6:43 p.m.

Florida came into this season with what many regarded as a stout secondary.

After watching a UF practice in August, former NFL general manager Phil Savage said the Gators may have the best looking set of corners in the nation.

But they were no match for Florida State receiver Kelvin Benjamin in Saturday’s 37-7 loss to the No. 2 Seminoles.

Florida’s defensive backs had no chance at covering the 6-foot-5, 234-pound redshirt sophomore, who finished with 212 receiving yards and three touchdowns on nine receptions.

“He’s a really good receiver,” safety Cody Riggs said. “He made a couple big plays for them. It was good players on good players, he just had an advantage on a couple plays.”

It was the first 200-yard receiving game for an FSU wideout since Craphonso Thorpe in 2003. The Gators tried to change up who guarded Benjamin during the course of the game, but he lined up at different spots and made it hard to stick one guy on him.

“They got him matched up in the slot a little bit,” UF coach Will Muschamp said. “They took him from outside and put him inside. He’s a big target. He’s hard to defend. They did a good job of getting him matched up against some of our smaller DBs by moving him around a little bit.”

“We felt like we needed to pressure, which means you’re going to play middle-field coverage and that was part of the game plan going in. ... His length was the issue.”

Muschamp said he and his players knew beforehand that Benjamin would be a matchup problem.

“We saw on film that he was an issue for every team they played,” Riggs said.

Fortunately for the 5-foot-9 Riggs, he rarely got matched up with Benjamin.

“From what I saw, he’s really long,” Riggs said. “It’s hard to get the ball off him. He has some really strong hands and he was running some pretty good routes today.”

Trey Burton was impressed by what Benjamin did against Florida’s defensive backs.

“We go against them every single day in practice,” Burton said, “so to see him have that much success says a lot about him and his abilities.”

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