FSU football overcomes bad start as Seminoles beat Florida Gators

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GAINESVILLE – The Florida Gators couldn’t have scripted a better start than they had Saturday night. No. 5 Florida State.

The new, inexperienced starting quarterback was ready and fit as FSU struggled. They’ve seen their opponents make the same mind-numbing mistakes that have plagued them for most of the first 11 games: delay of game penalties, errant special teams. They got good rebounds and good calls, won the battle for the hidden yard, finally played a mixture of complementary football Billy Napier promising and congratulations to Tim Tebow.

However, it still wasn’t enough to avoid a 24-15 loss to the Seminoles. All the progress Florida has shown through a lot, without solving the game, again. They watched Florida (5-7) slip away with every missed tackle, fumble and foul penalty. Then the hosts had to watch the Seminoles (12-0) celebrate a perfect regular season at home.

But arguably the worst part about it was how predictable everything was. Florida has led in each of its last five games this season — and lost them all. The Gators suffered a loss before giving up 36 consecutive points in a 7-0 win over Georgia. Florida led Arkansas on a field goal with 3 minutes left and LSU led Missouri midway through the fourth quarter with 1:36 left.

Loss, loss, loss.

Add one more after Saturday; Florida led 15-14 midway through the fourth quarter.

“Every week was a little different,” Napier said.

This week’s results will be tallied by how close the Lords look to victory at the end of Napier’s second season. In 19 minutes, Seminoles star receiver Keon Coleman had one target (incomplete) and running back Trey Benson had one minus 11 yards. Through 26 minutes, FSU had more penalty yards (17) than offense yards (10).

Florida quarterback Max Brown He didn’t look like a redshirt freshman starting his college career. Brown — starting with Graham Mertz (collarbone injury) — completed six of his first seven passes with third-down conversions.

FSU quarterback Tate RodemakerHowever, it looked like the quarterback was making his second career start against a major college opponent in front of a wild crowd of 90,341 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Rodger – filling in for Jordan Travis (foot injury) – missed four of his first seven throws and was sacked for a safety.

Everything seemed to go Florida’s way, from the out-of-bounds fumble to the questionable unnecessary roughness penalty.

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FSU’s myriad oddities culminated in one devastating sequence early in the second quarter. On fourth-and-6-and-29, FSU tried a fake — went straight to Preston Daniels, ran left for a first down and more… except the Seminoles held the ball late. After a delay of game penalty (one of three through the first three quarters), FSU was right on the mark. He rambled for 16 yards. It felt like the kind of lowlight we’ve seen from the Gators all season.

But what happened next was crucial. Florida started at the FSU 40 but still mustered only a field goal off the drive.

This was not the only missed opportunity. The Gators started in FSU territory after the safety, then an intentional grounding penalty called a reverse fumble and a 14-yard loss.

The Gators failed to put away FSU, letting a top-five, playoff-contending team hang.

“Look, we can’t finish,” Napier said. “That’s the point.”

And he crossed every part of the group. A punt coverage unit allowed Coleman’s 34-yard return. Florida had more yards of offense (48) in the fourth quarter alone (50).

As it has so often this year, the defense has fallen apart in key moments — like last week’s fourth-and-17 conversion at Missouri. This time it was: fourth-and-3 slant from Rodemaker to Ja’Khi Douglas; A call aimed at Rodemaker’s third-and-14 mayhem otherwise would have been short; Offsides penalty in the closing minutes; And, finally, four missed attempts to tackle Benson for the game-clinching, 26-yard touchdown with 2:48 left.

The attack could not replace him. There were four sacks, two incompletions and an interception by Callen DeLoach in the final seven plays of two series.

The end of a stressful season was predictable. The details change, but the results don’t.

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