Florida vs Florida State Football Preview

The Florida Gators (5-6, 3-5 SEC) will look to spoil No.5 Florida State’s undefeated season inside The Swamp during week 13 of the 2023 college football season. The year has not gone as planned for the Orange and Blue, but the Gators have a chance to end the regular season on positive note by knocking off their in-state rival, potentially ending the Seminoles’ playoff hopes.

The all-time series dates back to 1958 with the Gators owning a 37-27-2 lead. UF is 12-9 vs. FSU at home since 1981. Florida has won three of the last four meetings in the series including two straight victories vs. FSU in The Swamp. In that span, Florida has outscored FSU, 143-97 (11.5 PPG), while outgaining the Noles, 1,820 to 1,388 (108.0 YPG).


Both UF and FSU lost their starting quarterbacks for the season during week 12, which puts a degree of uncertainty within this matchup that I think favors the Gators. Florida State will trot out junior QB Tate Rodemaker, who has played sparingly in his four years with the Seminoles. The 6-4, 196-pound Georgia native has not thrown more than 31 passes in a single season throughout his career and has logged just one career start against Jacksonville State in his freshman campaign (2020). In his career, Rodemaker has connected on 56-93 passes (60.2%) for 767 yards, seven touchdowns, and five interceptions. The key differences between Jordan Travis and Tate Rodemaker are their experience and athletic ability. Travis has 38 career starts, which has provided a high level of comfortability for FSU’s 17th ranked offense. Travis is also a threat to run the football, accumulating 1,950 rushing yards and 31 rushing touchdowns in his career. Travis has logged seven rushing touchdowns in each of his last four seasons. Travis’ ability to move outside of the pocket and extend the play with his legs is something that Rodemaker doesn’t bring to the table. Rodemaker has done a nice job in limiting playing time this season, connecting on 20-31 passes (64.5%) for 376 yards, five touchdowns and zero interceptions. The majority of his work in 2023 came a week ago, where Rodemaker threw for 217 yards and two touchdowns in a win over North Alabama.

The Gators will trot out redshirt freshmen Max Brown, who has appeared in five games this season after not seeing the gridiron in his freshman campaign. Brown has mostly played in mop up duty or seen the occasionally snap for the banged-up Graham Mertz, but the Oklahoma native took over for Mertz in the third quarter against Missouri and exceeded expectations. Brown completed 4-5 passes for 56 yards while adding 42 rushing yards on seven carries. More importantly, the Gators’ offense was effective with Brown under center against the Tigers. After a fumble on his opening drive, Brown led Florida to back-to-back scores in the 4th quarter, giving the Gators the lead with 1:36 remaining. The Gators totaled 113 rushing yards in just over a quarter of play with Brown at quarterback. Brown’s athleticism and threat to run opens up Florida’s rushing attack, which will favor the Gators’ dominant running back duo. Brown has the arm talent to be a difference maker in the passing game, but the jury is still out on his decision making and ability to progress through his reads in a timely manner, which will ultimately be the difference maker on Saturday night.


Florida State’s offense still presents trouble even without their starting quarterback because of the weapons around the quarterback. WR Keon Coleman is one of the better receivers in the country, posting 45 receptions for 615 yards and 11 touchdowns this season. Coleman’s ability to catch in traffic has boosted his draft stock, making him one of the top receivers in the 2024 NFL Draft. WR Johnny Wilson, who is 6-7, 237 pounds, is another threat in the Seminoles’ offense. Florida has struggled to defend the more physical receivers this season, which makes Wilson a player to watch. RB Trey Benson has been a problem for opposing defenses for the last two season, totaling 1,733 and 20 rushing touchdowns during that span. Benson is averaging 6.34 yards per attempt in the last two seasons.


  • Florida ranks 19th in the FBS with a 91.1% red zone conversion rate. The Gators have converted on 39 of 41 trips to the red zone across their last 10 games.
  • Florida ranks seventh in the FBS in kick return defense, allowing an average of 14.9 yards per pick (19.0 per game).
  • Wilson III has caught five touchdowns while totaling 251 yards on 32 receptions in the last four games.
  • The Gators have won 13 of their last 16 games in The Swamp (including eight of 10), but are 2-16 in their last 18 contests outside The Swamp and 2-12 in their last 14 true road games.
Nick Marcinko
Nick is a recent graduate from the University of Florida with a degree in Telecommunications. He is passionate about all sports but specifically baseball and football. Nick interned at Inside the Gators and worked part time with Knights247 before joining the Gator Country family. Nick enjoys spending his free time golfing and at the beach.