Entering Saturday night, Florida State had never beaten rival Florida three straight times at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, but that all changed with an emphatic 27-2 FSU victory in front of nearly 91,000 fans.
After a scoreless first quarter, No. 13 Florida State (10-2) took advantage of a kick catch interference call to draw first blood as kicker Roberto Aguayo knocked through a 45-yard field goal. The first touchdown of the night came with just under eight minutes to play in the first half as FSU quarterback Sean Maguire scrambled to his right before firing a 1-yard touchdown pass into a tight window to tight end Jeremy Kerr on 4th-and-goal to make it 10-0.
Aguayo extended the lead to 13-0 on a season-long 51-yard field goal that clanked off the upright with 5:21 to play in the third quarter. FSU would take a shutout into the fourth quarter for a third straight time in Gainesville, but No. 12 Florida (10-2) would get on the board on a bizarre play as Maguire was stripped on a sack. After a number of players for both teams were unable to fall on the loose ball, Maguire fell on it in the end zone about 20 yards behind where he had fumbled. The play resulted in a safety to make it 13-2.
After a slow start, Florida State running back Dalvin Cook put the exclamation point on FSU’s fifth win in six years over Florida, scoring on runs of 15 and 29 yards in the fourth quarter. Cook finished with 183 yards rushing on 26 carries.
Florida State only finished with 42 more yards than Florida, outgaining the Gators 304-262, but Florida was unable to score in three trips to the red zone. Twice, Florida turned the ball over on downs. On another occasion, kicker Austin Hardin had his kick blocked by FSU defensive end DeMarcus Walker.
Like Cook for Florida State, Florida running back Kelvin Taylor accounted for the majority of Florida’s offense, rushing for 136 yards on 24 carries. Neither team turned the ball over and both Maguire and Florida quarterback Treon Harris completed exactly half of his passes.
The 27 points on Saturday night was the most FSU has scored on the road this season. Among FBS opponents, only Texas State, FSU’s season-opening opponent, was beat worse by the Seminoles than Florida.
The Seminoles will wait until next Sunday to learn their bowl fate. The Gators will head to Atlanta to face No. 2 Alabama in the SEC Championship.