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On a night where each of the four quarters were completely unique stories, it was visiting Florida that played the more complete 60 minutes. After Florida State (10-2, 7-1 ACC) made a furious third-quarter rally to turn a 10-point deficit into a seven-point lead, the Gators (11-1, 7-1 SEC) put up 24 points in the game's final 15 minutes to leave Tallahassee a 37-26 winner.
Florida's offense wore down a Seminole defense that was on the field for a total of 36:20, including 21:58 of the first half. The toll taken added up to 244 rushing yards, and 394 total yards, for Florida.
Florida State quarterback EJ Manuel threw three interceptions and fumbled once, accounting for four of his team's five turnovers. The Gators turned the ball over just one time - a fumbled exchange between Driskel and tailback Mike Gillslee - but Florida did overcome 12 penalties for 101 yards.
Florida State moves on to face Georgia Tech in the ACC Championship Game next Saturday night for the right to a berth in the Orange Bowl. Florida, on the other hand, has an outside shot at a berth in the BCS National Championship Game.
UF outgained FSU 119 to 44 yards in the first quarter.
The Skinny: Florida was methodical on the game's opening possession, going 14 plays for 54 yards leading to a 39-yard field goal by Caleb Strugis to take the 3-0 lead.
Florida dominated the time of possession with two long drives - eating up 11:39 of the game clocks - but could only muster the three points. The second drive ended by a lack of execution as a fourth-and-1 trick play was botched by a bad throw from Trey Burton with 1:50 left in the quarter.
Key Play: FSU quarterback EJ Manuel made one big play in the face of pressure, avoiding a sack and finding a wide open Rashad Greene for 27 yards. But Manuel made a big mistake with Gators in his face two plays later, overshooting Rodney Smith for an interception. The Seminoles were in field goal range.
Key Player: UF's Jeff Driskel went 8-of-11 passing for 45 yards and added 24 rushing yards.
Key Stat: Florida ran 25 offensive plays in the first quarter compared to Florida State's nine.
UF capitalized on a fumbled kickoff return by Karlos Williams
The Skinny: Florida continues to control every facet of the game. The Gators have chewed up 21:58 of the clock while scoring 13 points and forcing three FSU turnovers.
One of those turnovers set up the only touchdown of the game, a Mike Gillislee 9-yard touchdown run with 5:26 left in the half to make it 13-0 Gators.
Florida State tacked on its only points of the half as the second quarter expired thanks to a Dustin Hopkins 51-yard field goal.
Key Play: After UF took a 6-0 lead on a Caleb Sturgis 45-yard field goal, Florida State's Karlos Williams fumbled on the ensuing kickoff, which led to the Gators' touchdown, a nine-yard run from Mike Gillislee. It was the second of three turnovers in the half for FSU.
Key Player: UF running back Mike Gillislee has 75 rushing yards on 18 first-half carries and the game's only touchdown. He has kept the UF offense balanced with effective runs.
Key Stat: Florida State has run a total of 20 plays in the first half compared to 42 plays for UF. The Seminoles have been outgained 192-109 and out possessed 21:58-8:02.
The Skinny: The game has changed drastically in the third quarter. With no answers for UF in the first half, the Seminoles found something after the break, scoring two touchdowns in a 1:57 span to take a 17-13 lead with 8:30 to play in the third quarter. UF had 73 yards in the third quarter and a key turnover - an interception by defensive end Bjoern Werner - that set up the Seminoles' second TD.
FSU added a 53-yard field goal from Dustin Hopkins with 4:24 left in the third to extend it to 20-13.
Key Play: After cutting UF's lead to 13-10 on a pass from EJ Manuel to Nick O'Leary, Werner disrupted a Gators' run play and the ball landed in his lap as he nabbed it and ran to the Gators' 20. Manuel ran it in from a yard out to take the 17-13 lead.
Key Player: Bjoern Werner has been unstoppable, racking up 1.5 sacks and the crucial third-quarter interception since halftime. He has 6 tackles including four for loss and 3.5 sacks to go with the turnover.
Key Stat: The Seminoles outscored Florida 17-0 in the third quarter.
The Skinny: The Seminole third-quarter rally was answered in a prolific way by the Gators, who scored 24 points on the way to a comfortable victory. An exhausted FSU defense gave up touchdown runs of 37 and 32 yards in the quarter.
Gator quarterback Jeff Driskel also hit Quinton Dunbar for a 14-yard touchdown pass, Florida's only passing touchdown of the day.
Manuel left the game with an injury for one drive, the result of being hit hard on a scramble attempt with 11:09 remaining. Gillslee scored one play later to put UF ahead 23-20.
Key Play: On a third-and-four from the FSU 14, Driskel bought time by rolling to his right and finding Dunbar for a touchdown. The score put UF ahead 30-20.
Key Player: Gator tailback Matt Jones rushed eight times for 81 yards and a score in the quarter.
Key Stat: Florida possessed the ball for a total of 36:20 for the game.
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