The Sunshine State Experienced Some Great Football Action in Week Six
Click here for the reaction to all the weekend’s action (College Football, NFL, UCF, and MLB Playoffs) with Tampa Bay Sports in the Morning with Tyler Bradley and Tim Mallard.
Due to some impressive offensive performances in College Football Week Six, the state of football in Florida is on the rise.
- USF running back Cronkite racked up a school-record 302 yards on the ground.
- Cronkite and the Bulls put up 574 yards of offense in a game that saw 1060 yards of total offense.
- USF vs. UMASS was shown up by FAU vs. Old Dominion, who put 1113 yards of total offense.
- Miami quarterback, N’Kosi Perry, threw four touchdowns in the come from behind win over Florida State.
- FAU running back, Devin Singletary, became the all-time career rushing leader at Florida Atlantic
The Miami Hurricanes and Florida Gators answered the bell as they won emotional rivalry games at home. UCF, USF, and FAU took care of business as expected.
The AP Top 25 now features four teams from the Sunshine State.
- #10 UCF
- #14 Florida
- #16 Miami
- #23 South Florida
The Gators (5-1, 3-1 SEC) have been impressive over the past two weeks. Victorious over Mississippi State on the road last week, then beating the fifth team in the nation, LSU. On a day where Tim Tebow was inducted in the Florida Gator’s Ring of Honor, the Gators played as passionate as Tebow’s induction speech.
“I didn’t want him to let him down that way,” said Florida coach Dan Mullen, who was Tebow’s offensive coordinator for two national championships. “I know it’s a night he’ll never forget and the whole family will never forget. I know winning that game was kind of like a little cherry on top to make sure it was all smiles.”
The mark of a good team is overcoming adversity. The Gators overcame 11 penalties for 116 yards. Florida was able to find running room (215 yards) against LSU’s stout run defense which was vital to their victory. The SEC East is shaping up to be a very exciting race down the stretch due to the emergence of Kentucky and Florida.
The Hurricanes (5-1, 2-0 ACC) found themselves in a familiar situation Saturday night, losing to Florida State in the fourth quarter. Last year, the Canes needed a game-winning touchdown pass to break a seven-game losing streak. This year, quarterback N’Kosi Perry mustered up his own magic with three second-half touchdown passes securing the 28-27 victory.
“Well, history has proven that’s the kind of game it’s been,” Miami head coach Mark Richt said. “When you stop a streak, normally it takes something, I’ll say, spectacular. Like, last year, we had lost seven in a row and it took a spectacular play to win the game. And then, we had not won here since 2004—or at least at home since 2004—and that’s unheard of for a team like Miami to go that many years in a series and not win a home game. That’s a long time. So, we broke that streak, but it took another spectacular moment, or moments, to get it done.”
Richt showed great confidence in Perry as two of his four touchdowns came on fourth down. Miami’s defense completely shut out FSU in the second half as their touchdown via punt return. The Canes have now won 13-straight games at home; rebuilding a respectable home field advantage under the stigma of Hard Rock Stadium.
The Knights (5-0, 2-0 AAC) took care of SMU easily 48-20 but was it enough. UCF is in a peculiar spot trying to breach the College Football Playoff as a non-Power Five Team. Coming into week six, the Knights were winning by an average in 32 points. They need to win by more, most notably, in conference play.
“It’s hard to go 1-0 every week,” coach Josh Heupel said, stressing the mission at this juncture is to improve weekly and remain focused on the AAC race. “This conference,” Heupel added, “can line up and play with anybody.”
Heupel is backing his conference, but he’s wrong. Even if the AAC could line up and play with anybody on the field, the AAC is not viewed that way off the field. That’s important because the playoff attendees are voted on by people. Out of all the people on the current CFP committee, no one has the AAC’s best interest at heart.
The Bulls (5-0, 1-0 AAC) went to Massachusetts with the mindset of running the ball. They didn’t except the record-breaking performance from running back Jordan Cronkrite. Cronkrite’s 302 yards is a school record, and AAC record as the Bulls handled UMASS, 53-42. However, USF’s defense has some holes to fix going forward.
“We’ve got to play better than how we played. Cronkrite, big day for him, and we ended up with five turnovers with the defense. But we’re a better football team than what we’re showing right now. We’ve got to put it together” USF head coach Charlie Strong said.
USF opened a season 5-0 for the second straight season and the sixth time in program history. The Bulls best start to a season is 7-0, last year. USF improved to 33-6 (84.6%) in its previous 39 games, tied with Wisconsin for the fifth-best record in the nation over that span. The Bulls record is bettered by only Alabama, Clemson, Oklahoma, and Ohio State.
Florida State Seminoles
In the midst of a disappointing season, the Seminoles (3-3, 1-3 ACC) were 3-2 coming into their annual rivalry with Miami. Upsetting the 17th-ranked Hurricanes, and improving to 4-2 would have been exactly what the doctor ordered for FSU. However, the Noles were unable to come away with a victory after being up 27-7 in the third quarter. FSU couldn’t score on offense in the second half, and gave up three touchdown passes to lose, 28-27.
“I guess that’s why it’s really frustrating, I did see signs of progress,” FSU head coach Taggart said. “But we didn’t finish. We came here to win, and we didn’t win.”
Now 3-3, the Noles’ 36 bowl game streak in officially in jeopardy due to four ranked teams left on their schedule. Also, Wake Forest and Boston College are much improved this year. How the Seminoles go about the rest of the season will set truly determine the fight within the program, and Taggart’s reign on these young players.
The Owls (3-3, 1-1) did what they need to do against Old Dominion. The Monarchs pulled off the upset of the year beating Virginia Tech, but they haven’t done anything before or after that. FAU’s offense goes thru Singletary, but quarterback Chris Robinson found the end zone three times in the 52-33 rout.
“It wasn’t exactly how we like it to be, but like I told the guys, we probably need to enjoy a win,” said Head Coach Lane Kiffin. “We should probably be pretty excited about a 10-game home winning streak … Credit to (Old Dominion), it’s a good team and a good quarterback and some good receivers.”
Starting the season 3-3 is disappointing, but the Owls still have a shot at winning Conference USA. FAU set a season-high in points, and total offense, with 605 yards (266 rushing, at a clip of 6.7 per, and 339 passing).