Though the Seminoles ran away with a second straight win in the Swamp Saturday afternoon, the 37-7 final wasn't quite as easy as the scoreboard would suggest. Florida came out with the intent to shorten the game and trust its defense, and for about 25 minutes of football, the game was going just as it hoped.
One drive opened the floodgates, a 96-yard touchdown drive to be precise. And that drive doesn't happen without what should be considered the play of the day.
3rd and 26
Make no mistake, all of the praise receiver Kelvin Benjamin will draw is absolutely deserved. Benjamin was targeted seemingly all afternoon, and although there were some shaky moments, he put out some serious film for professional scouts to consider.
Although the performance of the day belonged to Benjamin, the game's best play came from senior Kenny Shaw. Facing 3rd-and-26, Shaw hauled in a laser throw up the seam for his only catch of the day. In a fashion typical to his career, Shaw took a brutal hit from safety Cody Riggs. The senior kept control of the ball throughout and his body came crashing down to the ground for 27 yards and a first down. Five plays later, Florida State covers 58 yards for a score.
Shades of the 90's
One trend that stood out from the very beginning was the way the SEC officials treated downfield coverage. To put it mildly, the crew let the players sort it out amongst themselves.
Throughout the game, a second look at a television for replay featured grabbing, clutching, bumping in obvious ways. And to be clear, it went both ways. No play was a brighter example of the physical battle in the secondary than Bejamin's second touchdown. On a play that harkened back to the 80's or 90's in the NFL, Benjamin dispatched of Loucheiz Purifoy with a quick, violent tug before breaking up the sidelines for a walk in touchdown.
Pass pro comes alive
The first few drives weren't pretty for the Seminole offensive line. Even before some early-game shuffling due to a Cam Erving injury, the Gators were successful at getting home and affecting the quarterback. But it's no coincidence that as the 'Noles started scoring, Jameis Winston had more time to operate in the pocket.
It was a tale of two games for the five in front of Winston, who shut down the Florida rush for good from the defining moments in the second quarter through the end of the game.
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