Sunday, December 1, 2013
What we learned: Week 14
By David M. Hale
Florida State at least had the decency to build a little drama early, but by the middle of the third quarter, it was clear the Seminoles were well on their way to 12-0 and a third win over Florida in the last four tries. Here’s what else we learned from Saturday’s 37-7 Seminoles win.
Benjamin is a beast: For all of Florida’s problems this season, the secondary wasn’t one of them. The Gators entered Saturday’s showdown ranked No. 2 in the nation in pass defense (trailing only FSU), but Jameis Winston and Kelvin Benjamin had a field day. Winston enjoyed his seventh 300-yard game of the year (and he’d have had eight if Benjamin had held on to a pass that turned into an INT on Winston’s final throw against NC State), while Benjamin racked up 212 yards on nine catches with three touchdowns. That’s the first FSU player to top 200 receiving in 11 years. And the crazy part? Benjamin dropped two potentially huge passes and Winston barely overthrew him on another.
Fisher owns the rivalries: In his four years as a head coach, Jimbo Fisher is now 7-1 against Florida and Miami, the best mark during any four-year stretch in Florida State history. Saturday’s win marked the biggest margin of victory for a Florida State team against the Gators since 1988.
Noles are poised for the BCS: Florida State closed out the regular season with a perfect 12-0 record, and now all that stands between the Seminoles and a spot in the BCS title game is Duke and the minds of voters who might still be worried about Winston’s long-term status as a sexual-assault investigation remains ongoing. The on-field half of that formula looks favorable for FSU. The Seminoles are 18-0 all-time against Duke, with no game closer than 19 points. The off-field half is a bit more vague. State attorney Willie Meggs suggested it’s unlikely a decision on whether to charge Winston would come before the final BCS standings are released. But with Ohio State narrowly escaping Michigan on Saturday and Alabama falling to Auburn, Florida State's case -- with or without Winston -- has only gotten stronger.