History provides confidence for Florida

Florida State carries its 27-game winning streak into Saturday’s rivalry game with Florida. It’s a streak that started following the last time these two teams played in Tallahassee.

The Gators dominated the 2012 game in Tallahassee. Florida State scored 17 of its 26 points in the third quarter, but the Florida defense held them to 300 total yards and only 112 rushing yards.

Florida trailed 20-13 heading into the fourth quarter when the running game took over. The Gators ran the ball well throughout the game -- totaling 244 yards on the ground -- but they put the game out of reach in the fourth quarter, with two of those coming on the ground. Mike Gillislee led Florida with 140 yards and two touchdowns on the ground while Matt Jones, then a freshman, rushed for 81 yards and one touchdown.

With multiple players that were on the field for the 2012 game, Florida coach Will Muschamp thinks it helps their confidence going to Tallahassee on Saturday.

“We’ve still got a lot of guys on the team that went up there,” he said. “It was a great game, they had an outstanding football team. We played well, got out to a fast start in the game. It’s going to be critical for us there. Take care of the football, we did that. We were able to run the ball, and I think that’s something that we’re going to need to be able to do come Saturday.

“There’s no question that we’ve been a pretty good road team as far as handling ourselves on the road and that certainly is a very SEC-like atmosphere in Tallahassee.”

Florida left tackle D.J. Humphries said that was his favorite game as a Gator, but that changed when the Gators beat Georgia this year. The players all have fond memories of that 2012 day in Tallahassee.

Dominique Easley, Matt Elam and Omarius Hines planted the Gator flag at midfield while other teammates celebrated with each other on the field. Muschamp got a Gatorade bath on the sideline and shared a hug with athletic director Jeremy Foley when the team sang the fight song.

Even with Muschamp’s final day as the Florida coach coming on Saturday, those are still lasting memories for Florida players.

“That was pretty fun,” Humphries said with a grin. “They kind of used me a lot my freshman year, so I kind of got a feel of how it feels actually on the field, the demeanor back and forth between the teams. It’s pretty intense.”

The players who went to Tallahassee in 2012 know what the environment is like and are familiar with what they’ll see on Saturday. They know what it’s like to play at Doak Campbell Stadium and the crowd noise that will play into it.

That always helps players on the road, but the coaches know it will come down to which team executes the best.

"There's a good number of guys that are still on the team that were here two years ago,” Florida defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin said. “I think you can draw back on that. I don't know how much that really plays into it. That was two years ago. It's a lot of different guys playing and doing different things.

“Our guys definitely have confidence and belief that they can go do it, and I think they're excited to go play this game. All these guys know each other, played against each other in high school and what not, so it makes for a great rivalry and an exciting game."

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