(Photo courtesy Florida Sports Information)
- Napier: ‘You don’t just flip a switch and the house is built’
- WCC Insider: Four-star lineman has scheduled Florida official visit
- Six players have departed the football program in the last two and a half weeks
- After visiting Florida, four-star back on the market
- Florida Football Scholarship Breakdown
Black Friday is approaching, so the revamped Sunshine State Showdown will soon arrive in Tallahassee. The Friday night kickoff will be a new sight for Florida and Florida State fans, so to help Inside the Gators get a better sense of the Seminoles, Ehsan Kassim of the Tallahassee Democrat helped give the rundown on Florida’s in-state rival.
Five Florida State Seminoles to Know
Jordan Travis, Quarterback, Junior
- He has 21 touchdowns on just four interceptions on the season for the Seminoles, and his running ability has gotten him five more scores on the ground. “The No. 1 thing for Jordan Travis has been his confidence level,” Kassim said, “He entered the season as the undisputed starter.” He said the running back room and wide receiver room are also much improved and possibly the best they have been in years, taking the pressure off the quarterback and allowing him to make plays.
Johnny Wilson., Wide Receiver, Sophomore
- Travis has shared the wealth with his wide receiver room, but Wilson has taken the lead. He has nearly 650 yards and five touchdowns this season. The fact is that he is huge. His 6-foot-7 frame makes him a massive target for Travis, a connection Kassim said is a strong one. “Overall, he is what a No. 1 receiver looks and feels like,” he said.
Trey Benson, Running Back, Sophomore
- “He’s elusive,” Kassim said, “He can make people miss. He’s a big physical runner. He’s one of the most fun running backs I’ve seen play in college football.” That ability has gotten him to 854 yards with six scores on the year.
Jammie Robinson. Defensive Back, Junior
- The former South Carolina man has 76 total tackles and one interception on the year. “With the defensive line back and fully healthy he is able to go make plays in the backfield,” Kassim said, “He’s pretty good at making tackles for loss.”
Jared Verse, Defensive Lineman, Sophomore
- The Albany transfer has 7.5 sacks on the season and is projected by some to be a first-round talent in the NFL. Kassim said Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson is as big and as fast as anyone the FSU defense has faced, and it will be a major goal for Verse to sack him.
Five Fast Facts
- Florida and FSU match up for the 66th time in the 29th all-time meeting between the two teams in Tallahassee.
- The all-time series dates back to 1958 with the Gators owning a 37-26-2 lead and an active three-game winning streak.
- Across 14 meetings dating back to 2007, only two games in the UF-FSU series has been decided by single-digit points, including last year’s 24-21 home victory by the Gators (the other: FSU 24, UF 19 – Nov. 29, 2014).
- QB Anthony Richardson’s 6.6 yards per carry ranks second among qualified FBS quarterbacks.
- Florida’s 209.3 rushing yards/game ranks 15th in the FBS, ninth in the Power Five, and third in the SEC.
Five Gameday Storylines
- It’s a brand-new day for the UF-FSU rivalry. The matchup will make its Friday debut at 7:30 on Black Friday. Kassim said fans are split because it is the middle of high school football playoffs which could make recruiting during the game a bit more difficult. He said FSU head coach Mike Norvell told them that all eyes need to be on this rivalry, so the new day is beneficial for that.
- Both teams have had some big-time flips in recruiting the past few weeks, including high-profile grabs from other in-state programs. Kassim said with Early Signing Day just five weeks away, he thinks we’ve seen the big flips, but that with NIL anything can happen.
FSU’s Best Chance?
- Bowl eligibility has been secured for both teams, but much is still at stake. Florida is on a three-game streak and beat FSU last season without a head coach, but Kassim said this may be the best chance for Norvell to get a win over the Gators. “Florida State’s a more desperate team,” he said, “You can prove everything else, but if you don’t beat Florida the fan base still isn’t going to be thrilled.”
The Difference in Momentum
- Florida and Florida State are at two different points in their season right now. The Seminoles are on a four-game win streak where they are massively outscoring their opponents 173-39. The Gators are coming off a loss to Vanderbilt. “The fanbase as a whole is a lot more confident,” Kassim said, “I think they’re chopping this up as an easy win.”
Quarterbacks Last Game?
- Anthony Richardson and Jordan Travis each have future careers in the NFL. The question comes to whether they take that leap after their matchup at Doak Campbell Stadium, after their bowl game, or after another season in college. “If [Travis] gets a decent grade,” Kassim said, “It could be his last career game at Florida State.”
- Kassim: FSU 41-38
- Chris Will: FSU 38-35