It was a first quarter to forget for Florida State, who had just -7 total yards and a single drive over the first 15 minutes.
But there are four of them in a football game and in the end, FSU managed to take care of business, covering the spread and beating the Florida Gators 24-15 to finish the regular season perfect.
The second quarter didn’t start off any better, as Florida was able to ride third down conversion after third down conversion to take a 10-0 lead (its first touchdown coming after an extremely questionable unnecessary roughness call), making up for lost points on a missed field goal by taking down Tate Rodemaker for a safety.
Anchored down by penalties and poor field position, FSU failed to find any offensive momentum until its final drive of the second quarter — a 10-play, 90-yard drive that saw the Seminoles earn their first points of the game.
Florida State, starting off with the ball in the third quarter, took its first lead of the game after Trey Benson ripped off a 36-yard rush. Florida would immediately drive down the field and retake the lead off a field goal, making things 15-14.
That score would hold until midway through the fourth when, after two teams traded off pairs of punts, FSU took advantage of a major punt return from Keon Coleman and a big fourth down catch from Ja’Khi Douglas to end up in goal-to-go distance. The Seminoles were unable to punch it in, however, and settled for a 19-yard field goal to go up 17-15.
FSU’s defense stepped up on the Gators’ next drive, forcing a third straight three-and-out to get the Seminoles the ball back with 5:37 on the clock. Facing third and 17 from the Florida State 42-yard line, Rodemaker took off to try and convert and, while sliding, was hit in the helmet by two separate Gators and forced to leave the game.
True freshman Brock Glenn was forced into action with 3:44 in the game, tasked with preserving the Seminoles' lead.
The result? Another ridiculous, grown man run from Benson — this time, a 26-yarder to push Florida State’s lead to 24-15 with 2:48 to go.
With its final chance at closing the gap, Florida was unable to get anything going as Jared Verse snagged two sacks to force a fourth and 20, where Kalen DeLoach picked off Brown to solidify the win.
Florida State, 12-0 and undefeated in the regular season, will now face off against the Louisville Cardinals in the ACC Championship.
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