Saturday November 30, 2013Winston, Seminoles End Gators' Season with 37-7 Loss at Swamp
Florida's defense had no answers for Seminoles receiver Kelvin Benjamin on Saturday.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- This one turned into the game everyone expected and Florida fans feared.
But it wasn't a shutout.
Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston passed for 327 yards and three touchdowns, with wideout Kelvin Benjamin on the receiving end for 212 yards and all three scores, as the No. 2 Seminoles rolled over the Gators 37-7 before more than 90,000 on hand for their rivalry game at the "Swamp."
The game put a wrap on UF's 2013 season -- Florida, losers of seven straight, finished 4-8 and without a bowl berth for the first time since 1990 -- and a campaign that marked the program's first losing season since going 0-10-1 in 1979.
Winston, the Heisman Trophy candidate, completed 19 of 31 passes, with Benjamin on the back end of nine of those throws for monster yardage. Benjamin's 212 yards surpassed the record for most receiving yards against a UF defense, a mark set previously by Mississippi State's Danny Knight (208) in 1982.
FSU tailback Devonta Freeman rushed for a touchdown run and Robert Aguayo kicked three field goals for the Seminoles (12-0), who completed an unbeaten regular season and now will head to the Atlantic Coast Conference title game with their sights set on a berth in the BCS national championship game.
UF quarterback Skyler Mornhinweg, making his third career start, completed 20 of his 25 passes for just 115 yard. He threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to fullback Hunter Joyer on the fourth play of the fourth quarter to get Florida on the board and made the score 27-7.
The Gators finished with just 193 yards of total offense.
Freeman's 8-yard touchdown run came midway through the quarter and pushed the Seminoles ahead 27-0. The TD came after a Winston unloaded for 56-yard bomb to Benjamin.
Before the lone UF scoring drive (14 plays, 84 yards), the Gators had managed just 102 yards and three first downs their first seven possessions. Half those yards came on one play -- a 50-yard run by senior Trey Burton, playing in his final game in a UF uniform, out of the wildcat formation. Burton injured his shoulder on the play and did not return, thus ending his Florida career.
Add another name to that book-like Gators injury list.
FSU's touchdown drives in the first half went for 96 and 74 yards, with Winston hitting Benjamin with scoring strikes of 45 and 29 yards. Their third-quarter drive went 84 yards in five plays, capped with Freeman walking into the end zone for an 11-yard score. Their fourth-quarter TD march was a 79-yarder and came right after the Gators got on the scoreboard.
Leading just 3-0 and facing an inspired UF defense, the Seminoles started building their breathing room room in the second quarter with their first long TD drive. Winston hit a couple big pass plays, including a 27-yard Winston-to-Kenny Shaw completiton on third-and-25, to go nearly the entire field and take a two-possession lead. Benjamin broke a handful of tackles on the play and scored upright into the end zone.
Winston's second touchdown pass came with 25 seconds to play in the half, giving Benjamin five catches for 108 yards receiving at the break.
Mornhinweg, meanwhile, netted just 47 yards passing in the first half and attempt only one throw of more than 12 yards downfield.
Aguayo's first field goal was a 49-yarder late in the first quarter gave FSU an early 3-0 lead. His second came on the first possession of the third quarter, a 40-yarder. His last, a 28-yarder, came with just 3:14 to play and tacked on some BCS style points for the Seminoles.
Make that two straight home losses to the Seminoles, a phenomenon that last occurred in the 1987 and '89 seasons.