For the final game of the regular season, Florida State will travel to the Swamp on Senior Day for the Gators. Led by senior quarterback Tim Tebow, the Gators are expected to have one of the most explosive offenses in the nation. They lose playmaker Percy Harvin, but have plenty of young talent to help fill the void he left.
Wide receiver Deonte Thompson is a player who many feel can elevate his game and make plays when given the opportunity. They Gators won't need Thompson to be a clone of Harvin, but he will be key for their offense to be as successful as last season. Other key players on offense include running backs Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey, who are both burners that are threats for six any time they touch the football.
Florida State won't stop this offense, but in order to contain it they will need to do a better job of penetrating the Gators' offensive line than they have done in recent meetings. Discipline will also be a factor as UF runs several spread option counters and reverses. If FSU's defensive line can't get pressure, Tebow will pick apart the Seminole defense through the air opening up a rushing attack that has also given the Tribe fits.
Defensively, the Gators bring back their entire two-deep from last year's championship squad. Led by linebacker Brandon Spikes, there truly is not a weakness around him anywhere on the field. From the defensive line led by Carlos Dunlap to a feared secondary of Joe Haden, Major Wright and company, this defense is scary good.
Florida State is expected to have a solid ground game and if they don't show it early in this game, forget about moving the chains at all. An offensive line of three sophomores and two juniors should be playing more like two seniors and three juniors by now. They need to create lanes for FSU's three-headed monster of Jermaine Thomas, Ty Jones and Tavares Pressley or else it will be a long day for the Tribe. If the running game gets going, Christian Ponder will have limited opportunities to find his receivers downfield which will also be necessary to pull off the upset.
What Florida State must do to win: Play a perfect game. O.K. Maybe not perfect, but close. As stated earlier, it will all start up front. Florida State's best defense will be their offense keeping the Tim Tebow on the sidelines. If Florida State can control the clock eating up time on drive and scoring touchdowns, not field goals, they will be in a position to win this game at the end.
NoleDigest way too early prediction: Florida State comes out with a sour taste in their mouth from the previous two meetings and makes a statement early that they will not be blown our for a third straight year. I believe the Tribe keeps it close, but in the end UF will be in the national title hunt, and pulls away in the fourth quarter. Tim Tebow at the Swamp is scary enough. This will be his final game ever there which doesn't help the Seminoles' cause.
FSU 21 UF 35
*FSU 9-3 (6-2 ACC)
*Based on NoleDigest way too early predictions.
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