Facing an anemic and neutered Florida offense, Florida State needed just enough from all-time leading rusher Dalvin Cook to hold off the Gators. The Seminoles got more than that.
In what was likely his final game at Doak Campbell Stadium, Cook rushed 26 times for 153 yards and a touchdown and caught three passes for 26 yards to lead No. 14 Florida State to a 31-13 win over No. 15 Florida.
Cook’s 17-yard scoring dash in the first quarter gave Florida State a lead it would not relinquish. The teams traded field goals through the next quarter and a half until Deondre Francois found Travis Rudolph for a 46-yard scoring connection to push FSU’s lead to 17-6 at the 5:38 mark of the third quarter. A 27-yard run by fullback Freddie Stevenson pushed the lead to 24-6 early in the fourth quarter.
Marcell Harris provided the lone bright spot for Florida on the night when the defensive back — who led the Gators with 11 tackles — forced a fumble and returned it 12 yards for a touchdown with 10:45 remaining in the game. In the only moment of second-half drama, Florida forced another fumble with more than five minutes remaining, but Florida State turned the ball over on downs, turning the opportunity into an 8-yard Francois rush to put the game away for good with a minute to play.
Francois finished the night hitting 15-of-26 passes for 138 yards with a touchdown and an interception while rushing nine times for 63 yards and a score.
Austin Appleby completed 14-of-29 passes for only 109 yards, and UF mustered just 58 rushing yards on 29 carries.
Florida finished the game 0-for-12 on third down, becoming the first Florida State opponent since Louisville in 1980 to not covert a single third down.
The win allowed Florida State’s seniors to become the first class in program history to go 4-0 against Florida and Miami and pushed Jimbo Fisher to 13-1 all-time against the Seminoles’ Sunshine State rivals.
The win pushed Florida State to 9-3 on the regular season; coupled with Louisville’s loss earlier in the day, the Seminoles are now prime candidates to return to South Florida to play in the Orange Bowl. Florida (8-3, 6-2 SEC) will now prepare to face Alabama in the SEC Championship.
Crossing a few t’s and dotting a few i’s appear to be all that is left to be done on a new contract for one of the most well-known neutral site rivalry games in the country.
According to the Jacksonville Business Journal, a contract has been sent to the city for approval of a new five-year deal in the annual contest between Florida and Georgia. Terms of the agreement were actually agreed to by both schools last year but it is just now making its way to the city for the final signature.
Each side is set to receive as much as $2.75 million in incentives over the next five years for the series, which takes place annually in Jacksonville at the Jaguars’ home field, Everbank Field. The Gators and Bulldogs are expected to get a $125,000 payment once the contract makes its way through the city bureaucracy and a further $250,000 in guaranteed money each year through 2021.
Also interesting to note that both schools are also getting an increase in their travel budget in the form of a nice $10,000 bump over the amount from previous agreements. The city also covers Georgia’s air travel costs up to $350,000 each year per the Business Journal.
The series, colloquially known as the World’s Largest Cocktail Party, takes place annually in Jacksonville between the two SEC East rivals and often decides the division. Florida has won three straight in the rivalry with the next edition set to take place on Saturday, October 28, 2017.
Jim Harbaugh and Michigan recently wrapped up most of their activities in Italy over the weekend and it appears the grand world tour will continue in the coming years for the Wolverines.
Next up on the travel docket? Apparently it’s South Africa.
“We’ll get together as a team and decide, but I’d really like to go to Cape Town or Johannesburg,” Harbaugh told MLive.com in Rome. “One of those two.”
A trip to Brazil is reportedly under consideration as well. Given how the current trip has already ruffled some feathers across college athletics though, one wonders if the NCAA will move to prevent such trips before Michigan has a chance to go abroad once again in 2018 though.
Either way, one interesting tidbit Harbaugh mentioned was how neat it would be to play an actual college football game overseas at some point in the future, especially one in Italy. We’ve already seen Cal, Hawaii, Stanford and Rice schedule games in Australia so it’s not exactly out of the realm of possibilities that exporting Harbaugh’s game day tactics across the pond happens in the coming seasons.
Safe to say that Michigan fans better make sure their passports are up to date as a result of this week’s festivities over in Italy because the Wolverines show no signs of slowing down with the globetrotting.
One of the big winners on the college football front when it came to the 2017 NFL Draft was Michigan. Jim Harbaugh‘s team had a draft-high 11 players taken by NFL teams and several more Wolverines signed as undrafted free agents.
While that’s an large number, it seems not everybody was all that impressed and no we’re not even counting Ohio State fans.
Florida State assistant and former Minnesota coach Tim Brewster is never afraid to mix things up on social media and unleashed this dig at Michigan after the draft on Saturday.
The coach is of course making a not so subtle reference to the Seminoles victory over the Wolverines in the Orange Bowl last season. It’s not a bad shot by any means but a little funny considering how many draft picks FSU regularly produces each year and how much that is a part of their recruiting pitch.
Harbaugh is still in Italy at the moment so perhaps he wasn’t aware of what Brewster sent on Saturday night. As a result, perhaps we should brace for a response from Ann Arbor in the coming days because we all know Big Blue’s coach loves to have the last word.
Baylor’s sprawling sexual assault scandal is increasingly starting to make its way through the court system and one major trial is already forcing several former school officials to defend themselves in their handling of the matter.
Ex-Bears athletic director Ian McCaw, who now holds the same position at FCS program Liberty, made a court filing in one such case on Friday according to the Associated Press. Not surprisingly, McCaw claimed that he properly handled the case of former player Tevin Elliott, who was convicted in 2014 of raping a woman and is currently behind bars.
McCaw told the court that upon learning of the allegations in one specific case at the time, he told then-head coach Art Briles about the matter and Elliott was subsequently suspended from the football team.
While Elliott was convicted on criminal grounds, former student Jasmin Hernandez has sued Baylor by accusing the university of violating Title IX as a result of keeping Elliott around despite multiple rape claims against him. It is one of several cases set to take place over the coming years in a scandal that led to the departures of McCaw, Briles and school president Ken Starr.