It’s rivalry week in college football. Florida and FSU are set to meet for the 66th time and the 29th in Tallahassee. The all-time series dates back to 1958 with the Gators owning a 37-26-2 and an active three-game winning streak. Florida has outscored the Seminoles by 53 points over their three-game winning streak (105-52).
UF and FSU’s rivalry has been filled with long winning streaks in recent memory. Florida claimed six-straight over FSU from 2004-2009, while the Seminoles won five-straight vs the Gators from 2013-2017. FSU’s head coach, Mike Norvell, is looking to end Florida’s current streak and start one of his own.
Billy Napier has his work cut out for him as Florida enters the game as 8.5-point underdogs. FSU boasts an 8-3 record, looking for their first 10-win season (bowl game included) since 2016. FSU is playing their best football of 2022, but you can’t count out any outcome in this game.
Anthony Richardson will be the talk of the night come Friday. With the NFL draft looming and Richardson being draft eligible, this could be the last time he suits up as a Florida Gator. Outside of that, Richardson will have a huge impact on the outcome of this game. His athletic ability proposes a major threat to opposing defenses. I expect FSU to challenge Richardson, stacking the box and playing man to man defense against Florida’s injury riddled receiving core. Accuracy will be a determining factor in this contest.
Six Gators’ receivers appeared on Wednesday’s injury report. Ja’Quavion Fraziars, Marcus Burke, Xzaiver Henderson, Justin Shorter, and Thai Chiaokhiao Bowman were ruled out with Ricky Pearsall listed as questionable. Billy Napier noted that the staff expects Pearsall to suit up on Friday.
If Pearsall does play, the Gators will trot out just five scholarship receivers, including redshirt freshman Daejon Reynolds and true freshman Caleb Douglas starting in week 13. It’s possible Napier turns to walk-on Khaleil Jackson before scholarship players Ja’Markis Weston and Jordan Pouncey.
Napier will need to get creative within his playbook as Florida is limited at the receiver position.
The Seminoles have battled their fair share of injuries throughout the season but had a large portion of their roster healthy a week ago. FSU was only missing three players on their two-deep depth against Louisiana in week 12.
Gator Country will continue to monitor injury reports for both teams as we close in on gameday.
Florida State holds the No.2 ranked offense in the ACC and No.16 in the FBS, averaging 473 yards per game. Their defense ranks first in the ACC and 11th in the FBS, giving up just 293 yards per game.
The Seminoles have played complete football for most of the year and are winners of four straight. Their offense starts with their running game as they average 217 yards on the ground, just eight more rushing yards per game than Florida. Jordan Travis is having his more efficient year to date as he’s posted 21 passing touchdowns and four interceptions on a career high 65.3% completion percentage. Norvell has Florida State moving in the right direction in year three of his program.
WEEK 13 FEATS TO WATCH FOR
- If the Gators rush for three touchdowns in week 13, 2022 would be UF’s third-fastest season to eclipse 30 rushing touchdowns.
- Richardson’s 613 rush yards and nine rushing TDs rank sixth by a UF QB in a season. He needs 15 yards to tie Terry LeCount (1977 – 628) for fifth and 60 to tie 2008 Tim Tebow (673) in fourth. He needs two TDs to tie 2010 Trey Burton with 11 rush TDs.
- Currently at nine rushing TDs apiece, Johnson Jr. and Richardson are looking to become the second UF duo to rush for 10 TDs each – following Percy Harvin (10) and Tim Tebow (12), who accomplished the feat in 13 games in 2008.
- When Etienne surpasses 600 rushing yards, the trio of Etienne (576), Richardson (613) and Johnson Jr. (742) will become the third trio in UF history to eclipse 600 rush yards apiece (1984 – Anderson, Williams, Hampton | 2008 – Tebow, Harvin, Rainey, Demps). No UF trio has ever eclipsed 700 rushing yards apiece.
Florida has a chance to knock off their 2nd ranked team of the 2022 season as FSU came in at No.16 on the most recent CFP committee rankings. A Florida Gators victory would create momentum for Billy Napier’s squad heading into the bowl game and offseason.