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Florida State Hosts Florida in Sunshine Showdown

In Week 13, Florida State hosts Florida at Doak Campbell Stadium in the annual rivalry game. The Seminoles are coming off a dominating 49-17 win over Louisiana. Each week, FSU has gotten better on both sides of the ball. This historic in-state rivalry looks different in 2022. Florida stumbles into Tallahassee having lost at Vanderbilt 31-24 last week. Mike Norvell is 0-1 against the Gators as the head coach of the Noles. While the Gators have confidence in getting a win, the Noles have looked unbeatable the last few weeks.

Florida State Hosts Florida in Sunshine Showdown

FSU will attack the Gators in multiple ways. On offense, quarterback Jordan Travis continues to do it all. Last week, he torched Louisiana’s defense with 112 passing yards and a touchdown to Malik McClain. In the backfield, Florida State totaled 251 rushing yards. This offense can gain significant yards and chew the clock. To exploit Florida’s defense, the Seminoles have to run the ball effectively once again.

Treshaun Ward scored two touchdowns on the ground last week with 37 yards on four carries. Trey Benson received the bulk of the carries, rushing for 80 yards and a score on 16 attempts. Billy Napier’s Gators give up 171 rushing yards per game. The Noles should have no issue running the ball on Friday.

Passing Game is Critical

Aside from torching the Gators on the ground, Travis has to connect with his receivers on the outside. The Gators allow 230.2 passing yards per game. Their secondary is led by Trey Dean IIIAmari Burney is another name to watch as he leads the team with two interceptions on the season. Forcing the Gators to bite on RPO fakes could open a window to get the ball to Mycah Pittman or Johnny Wilson.

The FSU receivers are tall and lengthy and can levitate to make catches. Wilson has 649 yards and five touchdowns in 2022. Kentron Poitier has seen his playing time increase and provides the offense with an extra weapon on the outside.

Establishing the passing attack early in this game is crucial. The Gators defend passes well but tend to give up chunk plays. Travis has the ability to air the ball out deep and give his wideouts a chance to make a play. The success of the offense lies in the hands of Travis’ reads and progressions in the pocket.

Noles Defense Can Contain Florida

The defense for FSU has improved remarkably as the season has gone on. With players getting healthy, Adam Fuller‘s unit has played much better. The Seminoles have allowed just two touchdowns since the Georgia Tech game.

Jared Verse looks to be an impact player against a Gators offensive line that struggles to protect Anthony Richardson in the pocket. Linebackers Kalen DeLoach and Tatum Bethune can disrupt passes over the middle of the field. Junior linebacker Brendan Gant had a solid outing against the Ragin’ Cajuns, recording six tackles.

One area of mass improvement has been the defensive line. With Verse coming off the edge, Dennis Briggs and Leonard Warner have made huge impacts.

Sunshine Showdown Prediction

Florida State hosts Florida on Friday in a pivotal match-up. Both sides of the ball have to play up to the standard of Seminole football. The Gators enter this game confident and seeking a big upset. However, the Noles are the better team across the board. This might be Napier’s first time coaching in the rivalry, but the chance to hold a two-game win streak presents itself.

If the Seminoles win, an Orange Bowl berth could await in the postseason. With the No. 2 spot in the ACC Atlantic division locked up, Florida State can put a wrap on an outstanding regular season with a win over their bitter rival.

As Florida State hosts Florida in the 2022 Sunshine Showdown, the stakes couldn’t be higher right now for either team.


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