Florida started playing with some inspired defense against the heavily favored rivals from Florida State, but as the first half played out it was all Seminoles. Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston completed two touchdown passes in the second quarter to push their narrow 3-0 lead to a much more comfortable 17-0 lead at the half.
Winston broke a school record for most touchdown passes in a single season with his first touchdown pass to Kelvin Benjamin from 45 yards. His second touchdown pass in the final minute of the half to Benjamin set the new single season passing record with 34 touchdowns this season. The mark of 33 touchdowns was previously held by Chris Weinke in 2000, a season that saw Weinke win the Heisman Trophy.
Winston has completed 13 of 20 passes for 208 yards and one interception despite getting off to a slow start against a Florida defense that was playing very well out of the gate. As has been the story for much of the season for the Gators, the non-existent offense has been a huge problem. Florida State held the Gators to just 104 yards of offense in the first half. Florida quarterback Skyler Mornhinweg has completed 9 of 12 passes for 47 yards and Trey Burton leads the ground game with 47 yards , but that includes a 50-yard run early in the game.