Florida-Florida State football: Special teams will key a Gators victory – SECcountry.com
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida-Florida State is here.
Despite having one fewer loss, Florida enters its game against Florida State as the lower-ranked team according to the College Football Playoff committee.
Vegas agrees, with the Gators coming into Tallahassee as 7.5-point underdogs as of Thursday.
But there’s a reason that these teams are so closely ranked. It’s unclear whether Florida State is that good. The Seminoles’ best win came against a mediocre Miami team in a game that would have gone to overtime if not for a blocked extra point.
Of course, you can say the same thing about the Gators. While last week’s win over LSU was unexpected, the Tigers are now 6-4. Not exactly a juggernaut.
So who will prevail? I looked at all three units to try and decipher where each team has an advantage.
Florida offense vs. Florida State defense
Florida’s offense is average. The Gators average 25.2 points per game and that is likely what can be expected against Florida State.
Comparison of the Florida offense vs. the Florida State defense. (Will Miles/SEC Country)
Florida State’s defensive averages (rushing yards and passing yards allowed) are extremely similar to what Florida has averaged this year.
LSU allows 6.5 yards per pass attempt and 3.2 yards per rush attempt, better than Florida State. The Florida offensive line blew the Tigers off the ball in the second half last week. That should continue against Florida State.
Looking at the film, the Gators have had open receivers against pretty much everyone they have played. Both because of pressure and execution, the QBs have struggled to get them the ball.
Because Florida is going to run the ball effectively, there should be three or four deep shots available for Gators QB Austin Appleby. He needs to hit two of them for the Gators to