Florida Gators at Florida State Seminoles game preview – FOXSports.com
Time: Saturday, 8 p.m.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — In a rivalry that features six Heisman Trophy winning quarterbacks, the signal callers for Saturday’s matchup between Florida and Florida State aren’t commanding the spotlight.
It has been the play, however, of No. 13 Florida’s Austin Appleby and 15th-ranked Florida State’s Deondre Francois that has allowed both teams to gain momentum late in the season.
Appleby, who is a graduate transfer from Purdue, threw for 144 yards and a touchdown in the Gators win at LSU last Saturday. That win allowed Florida (8-2) to clinch the SEC East Division and a spot in the conference championship game.
In five starts at Florida, Appleby has completed of his passes with six touchdowns against two interceptions. He had a 98-yard touchdown pass to Tyrie Cleveland that is the second-longest pass play in school history.
“For him to be able to do what he’s doing, guys around him believe in him. And that has to do more so because they see the work that he puts in studying, playing and affecting the people around him in a positive way,” Florida coach Jim McElwain said of Appleby,
Francois leads all freshmen QBs nationally in passing yards per game (271.8). He threw for 315 yards at Syracuse last week which marked his fifth 300-yard game.
One thing that Francois is also doing a good job of is taking care of the football. He has only five interceptions, which is the fewest among freshmen QBs, and 17 touchdowns, which is third.
“I think his understanding of all the little details and why they are so important to create the inches to win,” Fisher said of how Francois has matured this season. “I see his understanding why things are done now and the urgency to want to