Showdown in The Swamp
For only the second time in the history of the program, Florida State clinched its second consecutive state championship on Saturday night with a 21-7 victory over the Florida Gators.
In a game marred by interceptions for the Gators, there was very little offense by either team. Florida out-gained the Seminoles by more than 89 yards but struggled in reaching the end zone. Starting quarterback John Brantley was picked off by the Florida State defense three times for 101 yards before being knocked out with an apparent concussion late in the second quarter.
The Seminoles took advantage of two of the three interceptions thrown by Brantley. Junior Greg Reid managed to grab two out of three of those takeaways for himself. One of which led to a 1-yard rushing touchdown for, true freshman, Devonta Freeman.
Senior cornerback Mike Harris stole the third ball out of the air for the Florida State defense and returned it for 89 yards. Once again, the interception led to a 1-yard rushing touchdown for Freeman and a score of 14-0. Freeman’s two rushes turned out to be the only offensive scoring on the night for the Seminoles.
Jacoby Brissett, the backup quarterback for the Gators, came on to finish the game in place of his injured predecessor. In the fourth quarter, Brissett threw the ball into the hands of another Seminole defender. Terrence Parks returned the interception 29 yards for the score to put his team up 21-0. Brissett did throw a 6-yard touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter, two plays after a Florida State fumble, to Quinton Dunbar to avoid the Gators first shutout since 1988.
Florida head coach Will Muschamp, in a post-game interview with the Orlando Sentinel, said of his team, “We’re a soft football team. That’s the bottom line. I told our guys, ‘We’re not a physically tough team, and we’re not a mentally tough team.’”