What To Look For: Florida State / Florida

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It is that fabled and mythical time that most college sports fans know as “rivalry week”.

Other than being incredibly hard to say more than once, it is usually reserved for the last week of the season which most, if not all, teams circle on their calendar. The Florida State/Florida rivalry is no different and has earned its place as one of the more storied rivalries in college football.

Here’s a few things to look for and a few tidbits from both sides for Saturday’s game:

 

FLORIDA

  • Treon Harris will have to go up against a better pass defense than he is accustomed to in Florida State. The only comparable defense of that caliber that he has faced was against LSU, a game in which they were defeated
  • Florida’s talented, but injured, defensive line against Florida State’s lackluster offensive line will be the key to the game. Whoever’s line can control their respective side of the ball will control the game.
  • The Gators ability to control FSU’s Dalvin Cook. Florida has held five different opponents to under 75 rushing yards this season, three of which were SEC opponents. If they can shut down the running game, their defense can control what the Florida State offense will be able to do.
  • The last regular season loss, prior to the current season, for Florida State, was handed to them by the University of Florida in 2012
  • This will be Jim McElwain’s first matchup against Jimbo Fisher and the ‘Noles

FLORIDA STATE

  • Florida State does not have to come out fast (but it’s better if they do). If FSU starts out slow like they have in previous weeks, it isn’t a surefire way to get behind. Florida’s offense has struggled and Florida State’s defense can take advantage of that if Sean Maguire and the offense aren’t clicking.
  • Can Sean Maguire play in a hostile environment? Maguire has proven himself at home in Tallahassee, but when he plays away, not so much. “Tallahassee” Sean Maguire and “Clemson” Sean Maguire have been two different people. Hopefully, Maguire can calm down and just play the game he knows when faced with hostility.
  • Florida State is looking to become “state champs” again (beating both Miami and UF in the same season). Jimbo Fisher is 13-1 against in-state opponents. The Seminoles have been “State Champs” every season since 2010, except for 2012.

Florida State currently holds a two game win streak against the Gators, with the University of Florida leading 34-23-2 all time in the 59 total games played. In the past 10 games, Florida leads 6-4.

The battle for state supremacy begins this Saturday at 7:30 eastern, with coverage provided by ESPN.