Game preview: Florida in Florida
After a 0-4 start, Florida State (5-6) has won five of the last seven games to creep back into the race for cup eligibility. Behind quarterback Jordan Travis (1,337 passing yards, 428 passing yards and 20 total touchdowns), Knowles’ offense gained 799 yards in the previous two games. Head coach Mike Norville and offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham use several wide receivers, but Ontaria Wilson (20 receptions, 332 yards and four touchdowns) could be the top target. Defensive factors Jermaine Johnson II and Keir Thomas are considered to be the strongest defense of the FSU. In the 26-23 win over Boston College on November 20, the two combined for ten tackles, eight accelerations in the middle, and two bags.
READ MORE: A Favorite New Appearance For A Head Coaching Job At The Florida Gators
A week ago, Dan Mullen was the head coach of Florida (5-6). However, after losing four of his last five after losing 24-23 (overtime) to Missouri on November 20, Mullen was sent off. Midfielder Emory Jones will miss the match after sustaining an injury in training earlier this week. Therefore, quarterback Anthony Richardson is likely to start, much to the delight of many Gators fans. Weighing in at 6’4 and 236 pounds, Richardson has the natural size and speed to intimidate opponents with his ability to shove. The Gator doesn’t have playmakers as they did a year ago at Kyle Bates and Kadarius Tony, but running back Damon Pierce (11 touchdowns) and wide receiver Jacob Copeland (four touchdowns) could prove fruitful. Defensively, Florida allows 27.1 points per game. Ironically, the Gators are in the same predicament as the Noles – a win makes them eligible for the pot.
The match is scheduled for Saturday, November 27. Kick off at noon on ESPN.
Winning earns a qualifying FSU bowl
With Mullen gone, it’s clear that Norville has the most momentum in the state currently. Both on the field and on the recruiting track, Norville has “Knowles looking as good as they have been for years. The future looked bleak after Jacksonville State’s loss, but FSU turned him around and improved dramatically throughout the season. Not only will Saturday’s win give FSU bragging rights in the state, Rather, it will be the program’s first appearance since 2019.
Read more: Potential No. 1 Travis Hunter shuts down his recruitment rumor
State Championship and bragging on the line
As I noted above, a win over the Gators would give the Noles their first state championship (beating Miami and Florida in the same season) since 2016. In order for the Gators to name a head coach, the Noles must use their program stability (and potential profit) as an advantage in employment.
Can FSU’s defense match Richardson’s?
Richardson has not played since the start of his first career against Georgia on October 30. In the 34-7 loss, Richardson completed 12 of 20 passes for 82 yards and two interceptions.
If Johnson II and Thomas can consistently beat the Gators’ offensive lineman, Richardson will look to scramble more than once. He had success on the ground, scoring 374 yards and three touchdowns on 40 buggies. If he strays from the first level, center backs Amari Gainer, Kalen DeLoach and DJ Lundy will be responsible for stopping Richardson in his tracks. It’s imperative that defensive coordinator Adam Fuller keeps spying on Richardson because if he releases him, Knowles could be in trouble.
Can a Noles rushing attack produce enough to gain 1,000 yards rushing?
The Gators’ defense allows for 154.4 dash yards per game. The Missouri ran for just 121 yards last week, but Knowles have far more talent on their backfield than the Tigers. Whether it was Cam Akers in 2017 or Dalvin Cook from 2014-16, the Noles relied heavily on a productive ground game in their victories over the Gators during their five-game winning streak from 2013-2017.
In addition to Travis, Florida has a rear double of Joshwan Corbin (877 yards) and Trishwan Ward (490 yards). Corbin needs 123 yards to become the first 1,000 yards flowing to lunge for the ‘Noles since Cam Akers in 2019. Against Boston College, FSU also welcomed back Lawrance Toafili. Although he may receive fewer touches, he has the ability to carry anything home.
One of the teams is facing up, the other facing down. Although the match is in Gainesville, I don’t think the atmosphere is going to cause too many problems for Norvell and the company. In his first career as a coach against the Gators, I think Norville prepared the Seminoles from the jump. Florida is going to have a handful of big plays, especially with Richardson at the helm, but Knowles’ defense plays with more fitness throughout the game. The Seminoles complete a state sweep and take the elusive sixth win.
Florida 31, Florida 27
What’s Next in Florida Seminoles? Join the thousands for FREE so you don’t miss out on any other breaking news or recruiting by clicking this link or texting our number (850) 616-8661!