Florida State at Florida score: Gators’ 2017 season ends with a whimper in The Swamp

By Adam Silverstein
November 25, 2017
Florida State at Florida score: Gators’ 2017 season ends with a whimper in The Swamp

Image Credit: @GatorsFB / Twitter

It’s not much of a surprise that the Florida Gators (4-7) ended their 2017 season with a whimper on Saturday, it’s just the way Florida went about falling to the rival Florida State Seminoles (5-6) — for the seventh time in eight meetings — was so typical of the Gators’ campaign … and last seven years.

In a game matching a pair of programs that have vastly underwhelmed this season — the preseason No. 2 Seminoles especially — Florida State won 38-22 and proved to again be more talented and better coached than its counterpart. FSU’s three-star true freshman quarterback outplayed Florida’s four-star redshirt freshman, and though the Gators actually outgained their rival for a change and ran 18 more plays in the game, turnovers and myriad failures cost it a true opportunity to pull off the upset win.

As such, the Noles picked up their fifth straight win in the rivalry, accomplishing the feat for the first time in series history. Florida State has absolutely dominated Florida over the last eight years, going 7-1 in those games and outscoring UF by a combined 121 points.

Yes, the Gators were severely injured and undermanned this year. Florida had only one healthy scholarship quarterback active for the game. It’s top running back and wide receiver have been suspended for the entire season. Its replacement starting running back was injured a few weeks ago, and its replacement No. 1 wideout has been hobbled but playing for weeks. Sparkplug freshman athlete Kadarius Toney was once again out. And those are just a couple of the injuries on offense not even taking into account the loss of two starting offensive linemen and significant defensive players.

FSU scored 28 points off four turnovers by UF quarterback Feleipe Franks, including a pick-six, a near-pick six and a strip sack fumble return for a touchdown. That alone was enough to overcome the 22 points Florida scored, a modest effort considering its offensive struggles this season.

Franks once again flashed just enough to not write him off completely, but it’s clear the second-year signal caller was not prepared to start in the SEC this season, likely due to not being coached up well enough. He was also hurt throughout the game and played through it, so kudos to him for showing plenty of toughness.

At least redshirt senior Brandon Powell went out with a two-touchdown effort.

Play calling was again an issue, as were defensive players being out of position and constantly overpursuing. The defense is young, certainly, but interim coach and former defensive coordinator Randy Shannon has not coached the unit to play even near the same level of his predecessors.

Still, the Gators held the Noles to just 216 total yards, 128 from QB James Blackman and just 101 from FSU’s two young star running backs. Though Florida State has struggled offensively this season, it was a good look for a Florida defense that has been Swiss cheese at times.

But a combination of talent and coaching edge gave the Seminoles all the advantage they needed on Saturday. For the Gators to flip things in their favor, it will take a monumental effort — starting off the field in recruiting the next few classes of players.

First up for Florida, of course, is its coaching search as it hopes to turn around its fortunes following years of floundering on offense. With the 2017 season now in the books, the Gators hope to keep the past behind them and look forward to the future as they hire a new head coach for the third time in seven seasons and fifth in the 17 years since Steve Spurrier departed for the NFL.


  1. Michael L. Jones says:

    Perfect description of the whole sad state of affairs, even to pointing out the ridiculous pursuit angles our young DB’s and LB’s take.

    Franks looks like a sloooooooooooooooooooooooow thinker but a decent kid with a lot of heart (although the idea of him going in to whine to Coach Shannon about losing his job to Malik Zaire was troubling, NOT commendable as some have opined . . imagine if all the players did that? Win your job on the field). Hopefully that’s just a matter of him needing to be coached up.

    I can’t believe that a goofball like Jimbo Fisher is now dominating recruiting and dominating this series. Boston College absolutely annihilates this sorry FSU team and then they come into the Swamp and annihilate us? I know our distant past wasn’t all that great. . but in recent history, these Muschamp and McElwain years have been our darkest hour.

  2. rich says:

    At least our future looks bright..

    Starting QB looked horrible in his first game (Michigan) and actually somehow looked way worse with his 4 turnovers in his final game. That’s tough to do. Then in his postgame he sounds like Mac, as he and Tom Brady make turnovers and we should just deal with it. So that’s our starting QB for the foreseeable future.

    We can’t find a coach that we really want to come to Gainesville.

    Recruits are continuing to jump off our sinking ship, I can totally 100% understand and don’t blame them one bit.

    Florida fans are turning on one another, the web is harsh.

    We got whipped by the worst FSU team in decades, at our house. For the 5th straight year.

    Our alternate uniforms were the laughing stock of the season as far as uniforms go.

    Future looks bright..

    Great season. Started early with Marcell Harris injury, followed by the suspensions. 2017 is one of our most memorable failures as a whole.

  3. J Paul Davis says:

    Part of the Gators problems is what I call “old coaches syndrome “. As much as I respect Steve Spurrier and his past accomplishments on and off the field, you simply cannot have this guy sitting in the inner sanctum of gator power daily undermining the current coach. He is a legend, but keep him in the year books and not offering advice to your football HBC in any shape or form. This is something that may be contributing to people like Kelly saying, ” yea thanks but no thanks”! This under current of negativity only contributed to the failure of Mac and will surely hurt the relationship of the new head coach from the minute he steps foot on campus.

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