FSU defeats Florida 45-38 to finish the regular season with a 9-3 record
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Noles247) - No. 16 Florida State defeated Florida, 45-38, on Friday night at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Fla. The Seminoles finish the regular season with a 9-3 record. It was the highest-scoring affair in the series between the two teams. It marked FSU’s first victory over the Gators since 2017.
FSU got on the board first on Friday evening when running back Trey Benson took them down the field going for 54 yards over two plays, including a 9-yard touchdown run. The lead for the Seminoles was short-lived though, as Florida returned the following kickoff to midfield and on the next offensive snap Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson connected with wide receiver Ricky Pearsall for a 52-yard touchdown.
Florida would then take the lead with 4:06 remaining in the opening quarter on a 12-yard touchdown pass from Richardson to tight end Jonathan Odom. It capped a 9-play, 63-yard drive for Florida that took 4:21 off the clock.
FSU responded on their next drive going 75 yards on six plays over 2:38 to tie it at 14-14 with 1:28 remaining in the opening quarter when Travis rushed in from 29 yards out.
The second quarter saw less scoring. Each team posted a touchdown. Florida struck first on a 43-yard pass from Richardson to Pearsall to go ahead 21-14. The Seminoles tied it at 21-21 with 5:44 remaining in the opening half on a 1-yard touchdown run by Travis.
Florida went ahead before the half on a 41-yard field goal by kicker Adam Mihalek. FSU tried to take an early lead in the second quarter via. 37-yard field goal by kicker Ryan Fitzgerald, but it missed.
FSU went into the locker room down 24-21. The Seminoles posted 299 yards of offense in the first half, while Florida had 281 yards of offense themselves. FSU’s defense recorded just one negative play in the opening 30 minutes.
The Seminoles dominated the third quarter. FSU forced three consecutive 3-and-outs on defense, allowing -2 yards on the opening three drives of the second half. The offense did something with it when the defense got it back for them. FSU posted 17 points to take a 38-24 lead after three quarters. A 46-yard field goal by kicker Ryan Fitzgerald started the scoring. FSU then got a 1-yard touchdown run by Benson, followed by a 6-yard touchdown pass from Travis to wide receiver Kentron Poitier.
Florida would close the gap to 38-31 with 10:35 remaining via a 1-yard touchdown run by running back Montrell Johnson Jr. It capped a 13-play, 75-yard drive that took 6:53 off the clock.
The Gators tied it at 38-38 on a 45-yard touchdown run by Trevor Etienne with 7:41 remaining in the game.
FSU took the lead, 45-38, with 4:06 remaining in the game when Benson scored from 17 yards out. FSU went 65 yards on seven plays in 3:35 for the go-ahead score.
The Gators would have one last chance in the final minute on a 4th and 12 from the Florida State 26-yard line. A pass from Richardson fell incomplete down the field between two Seminoles resulting in a turnover on downs.
FSU took a knee one play later and then the team, and fans, celebrated together on the field.
FSU will now wait to learn their bowl fate.
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