An overmatched Florida (4-8) that played most of Saturday's game without 19 scholarship contributors came out inspired early only to (naturally) fade against No. 2 Florida State (12-0). The Seminoles kept their national title hopes alive with a 37-7 victory. Instant Analysis takes a look.
IT WAS OVER WHEN: It's not an exaggeration to say the game was over when FSU took a 10-0 lead on a 45-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter. To quote Will Muschamp, it's reality. The Gators weren't playing uphill against the Seminoles. They were trying to climb Everest.
HE STOLE THE SHOW: Jameis Winston is college football's best offensive player, and the only thing keeping him away from a Heisman Trophy is off-field grey area. Winston started the game with an interception, but that's part of the deal when you're a quarterback who takes constant downfield risks and plays with confidence in his arm. Winston eventually went 19 of 31 for 327 yards and three touchdowns. Seldom has there been a more lopsided quarterback dual in this rivalry. Skyler Mornhinweg was 20 of 25 for 115 yards with one touchdown and a fumble.
THIS STAT DOESN'T LIE: FSU is a team vastly superior to Florida in terms of talent and offensive firepower, but the Seminoles were neutralized for sizable portions of the game. That wasn't the case for the only stretch of the game that would prove to matter. With 10:15 remaining in the second quarter, FSU took over at its own four-yard line having been previously outgained 97-39 by the Gators and leading 3-0. For the next 18:07, FSU outgained Florida 289-5 and built a 27-0 lead.
WHAT A PLAY: Kelvin Benjamin caught a slant pass from Winston and did the rest on his own. Benjamin shed two levels of Gators defenders, four in all, en route to a 45-yard touchdown catch. It was part of a giant day for the sophomore wide receiver. Benjamin finished with nine catches for 212 yards and three touchdowns. Honorable mention to senior wide receiver Kenny Shaw who held on to a 3rd-and-25 laser from Winston despite a shellacking from Cody Riggs to keep the drive alive and make Benjamin's touchdown possible
THIS MATCHUP PROVED KEY: As good as Winston was, he didn't create the game's biggest mismatch. The Seminoles get a team award defensively for simply being too much for the Gators to handle. That's not saying much considering Georgia Southern was often too much for Florida's offense to handle, but FSU enforced its will on the Gators for much of the day and smothered the hopes of the fans, even when things were going well for the orange and blue.