The rivalry battle in the Sunshine State features the #19 Florida State Seminoles (8-3) hosting the Florida Gators (6-5) that dates back to 1958.
The two teams have met a total of 65 times, with the Gators holding a 37-36-2 advantage over the Seminoles. Last season, Florida knocked off FSU, 27-24, in Gainesville.
Friday’s kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. EST at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Florida. Florida State is a 9.5-point favorite, while the over/under total is 58.0 points.
What to Know – Florida Gators
Florida enters the rivalry matchup after a rare loss on the road in Nashville against the Vanderbilt Commodores. The Gators’ 31-24 defeat was the first loss to Vandy on the road since 1988. Florida is under the direction of head coach Billy Napier who is in his first season in Gainesville.
Anthony Richardson has had an up-and-down season at the quarterback position for Florida, but his size and athleticism makes him a unique prospect for the next level. Richardson has thrown for 2,351 yards, completing 55.7% of his passes, and rushed for 613 yards. The redshirt sophomore has accounted for 23 total touchdowns.
Florida only rushed for 63 yards last week but has been dominant on the ground for most of the season. Between Richardson, sophomore Montrell Johnson, and freshman Trevor Etienne, the Gators have one of the strongest rushing attacks in the SEC. Johnson leads the team with 127 carries for 742 yards and nine TDs.
Senior wide receiver Justin Shorter returned to the lineup last week, but the Gators lost Ricky Pearsall in the contest. Pearsall’s status for Saturday’s game is up in the air, putting the pressure on Shorter and freshman Deajon Reynolds and Caleb Douglas to step up.
What to Know – #19 Florida State Seminoles
The Seminoles are ranked in the top 25 heading into the final contest of the regular season and are winners of their last four contests. Florida State closed out the second year of head coach Mike Norvell’s tenure with a second-place finish in the ACC Atlantic Division.
Jordan Travis has handled the full-time quarterbacking role with ease, throwing 21 touchdowns to four interceptions while completing 65.3% of his passes. Travis has thrown for 2,526 yards and is not afraid to use his legs, adding 284 yards and five touchdowns on the ground.
Trey Benson leads a trio of running backs that the Seminoles rotate throughout a contest. Benson, a sophomore, has rushed 121 times for 854 yards and six touchdowns. Treshaun Ward and Lawrance Toafill also will get into the mix in the backfield.
Wide receiver Johnny Wilson is a serious threat for FSU, leading the receiving core averaging 19.7 yards per catch. Wilson has hauled in 33 receptions for 649 yards and six touchdowns, all team-bests.
The Pick is In
Florida State has played well over the last two months, while Florida appeared on the right trajectory but took a step back last week.
Tallahassee will be rocking under the lights, but these rosters are very similar, and the Gators will be ready to clash in the rivalry. This one is close to the finish.
The Pick: Florida Gators +9.5