Saturday November 29, 2014; 3:30 PM ET
Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, FL
There is something that goes on when Florida and Florida State kick it off in a football contest an every time they play a game. The stuff that goes on down in the middle of the pile is some of the dirtiest that the Gators will see all year.
I am not putting this all on the guys in the garnet and gold, I am just saying when these two teams square off, they just don’t like each other and you can see it with what transpires on the grass.
With that in mind, this is the kind of thing that can play into the Gators favor. Many would say, this man included, that the Gators have the advantage in the trenches and on both sides of the ball. All those big bodies banging around and playing big and nasty is where you want to have the advantage.
With Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston still seemingly moving around a little slowly after an injury a couple of games ago the Gator defensive line needs to be relentless in their effort to get to him. With Florida State struggling in the running game (104th in the country in yards per game) they can tee off on Winston more times than not. They need to make it hard on the guys in front of them.
Not many would question that the Gators have had the tougher schedule this year having to play in the SEC and Alabama and LSU from the other division in the conference. Can Florida turn that into a little bit of an advantage when facing a tough opponent like FSU? I think that very well could be the case with the somewhat disparity in the two schedules.
On offense, the Gators have their best offensive line in the Muschamp era. Counter that with an FSU defensive line that has lacked a great deal of production this year and a defense that isn’t stellar against the run as well. Look for Florida to try and work their ground game to a great extent.
Treon Harris does need to get involved as does maybe Jeff Driskel if they need some tough yards and like the advantage an extra blocker can bring if the QB runs the ball. But Harris needs to be allowed to throw the ball and make some noise with his arm as well. Again, Florida has been going against good defenses almost most of the year let them try and get something done through the air.
In the end I believe this is going to come down to a turnover and line of scrimmage game. Florida has to do their part in corralling Winston, and I think they do a better job than last year. The lines of scrimmage have to take over from there.
The extra fight from the squad because of Muschamp’s last game as the head coach could play a big part and give an emotional edge to this team. On the road that might be needed. I think it just might be enough to get them over the hump, and I will say the Gators pull out the narrow victory 27-24.
Below you will find all of the stories leading up to this big game Saturday.