FLORIDA GATORS (10-1)
at FLORIDA STATE SEMINOLES (10-1)
Kickoff: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. EDT
Line: Florida State -7, Total: 44
A pair of top-10 teams with 10-1 records clash in Tallahassee when No. 10 Florida State hosts No. 6 Florida on Saturday.
The past five meetings have all been blowouts, with Florida winning three in a row by 27+ points from 2007 to 2009 before FSU’s two-year dominance, allowing just seven Gators points in each victory. Last year in Gainseville, the ‘Noles turned four turnovers into a 21-7 win despite amassing only 95 yards of total offense. Florida QB Jeff Driskel (ankle) expects to start in an attempt to end his team’s four-game ATS losing skid. Florida State is 6-0 SU (4-2 ATS) at home, winning by an average score of 54 to 9.
Can the Seminoles win handily over the rival Gators in this matchup? For the answer, connect to The Platinum Sheet for all the StatFox Experts picks for every key college football game throughout the 2012 season.
Driskel has been solid in his sophomore season, throwing for just 1,324 yards (6.9 YPA), but with 10 TD and only 3 INT. The rushing offense has been erratic lately, failing to reach 90 yards against South Carolina or Georgia before rumbling for 170 against Missouri and 176 YPG against the two non-SEC teams Florida just played, Louisiana-Lafayette and Jacksonville State. Top RB Mike Gillislee had five straight games without scoring a rushing touchdown before ending the skid last week with 122 yards and a score. The Gators defense has been outstanding all season (11.7 PPG - 3rd in nation, 281 total YPG allowed - 4th in FBS), and has not faltered much on the road either with 17.7 PPG and 328 total YPG allowed. Florida has also forced 15 turnovers in its past five SEC games, and should be able to force a couple more against an FSU team with multiple giveaways in five straight contests.
Florida State QB EJ Manuel has been one of the better passers in the nation, ranking 7th among all FBS signal-callers in passing efficiency. He has thrown for 2,785 yards (9.4 YPA), 21 TD and just 6 INT. Manuel has been bothered by an ankle injury, but is probable to start on Saturday. After gaining minus-15 yards on the ground at Virginia Tech, FSU was pleased to get its ground game back in shape with a healthy 237 yards at Maryland last week. Top rusher Chris Thompson is out for the season with a knee injury, which has allowed Devonta Freeman to flourish with 317 rushing yards (7.0 YPC) and 6 TD over the past four games. On the defensive side of the ball, the Seminoles lead the entire nation in both total defense (236 YPG) and rushing defense (71 YPG). They also rank fifth in FBS in both passing defense (166 YPG) and scoring defense (13.1 PPG).