The Flop in The Swamp: Noles fall to Gators, 40-17, to close regular season

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By: Brendan Sonnone | Noles247
November 30, 2019

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (247Sports) -- Florida State fell to Florida 40-17 on Saturday in a game that perfectly summed up the Seminoles’ hellish 2019 campaign.

A hellish three-year stretch, actually.

Penalties. Missed tackles. Missed opportunities on long passing plays. General confusion.

Mistakes mounted, one after another, as FSU (6-6) swiftly imploded inside The Swamp in the second quarter. Florida (10-2) outscored FSU 23-0 in the decisive period as the Seminoles were outclassed by their rival in just about every way imaginable.

The sequence that sums up the game, and a season defined by the aforementioned miscues, came when FSU was called for a delay-of-game penalty and an illegal-formation penalty on consecutive punt plays. The latter was controversial, but it negated a fumble recovery by FSU as the Gators muffed a punt.

Instead of FSU getting the ball and some much-needed momentum, UF took over at the Seminoles’ 40-yard line. The Gators moved down the field with an 11-yard gain to tight end Kyle Pitts, who side-stepped two FSU defenders before getting pulled down by his facemask to add another 12 yards to the play. A 13-yard touchdown toss from Kyle Trask to Van Jefferson finished the drive several plays later and put UF up 27-7.

The Gators out-gained FSU 176-7 in the second period.

Beyond stats -- which were equally ugly and telling -- the game got out-of-hand as Florida physically dominated the Seminoles. The Gators had three sacks in the period, including a vicious hit and forced fumble on QB Jordan Travis that sent the sold-out crowd into a frenzy.

And injuries, as has been the case this season, mounted. Safety Hamsah Nasirildeen left the game on a medical cart after a leg injury, defensive tackle Cory Durden went to the locker room on crutches and right tackle Ryan Roberts needed two trainers to help him slowly walk off the field. All three were starters. Durden returned to the contest.

With the loss, FSU’s four-game winning streak in Gainesville came to an end.

The game, and the second quarter in particular, symbolized the program’s decline since 2017. FSU has struggled with discipline and developing identity since Jimbo Fisher’s final season in 2017, and those issues spilled over into the brief Willie Taggart Era. Even interim coach Odell Haggins -- lauded by players for his passion and ability to inspire -- couldn’t mask the glaring deficiencies with discipline and talent that have festered for years.

All the feel-good the was built up in Haggins’ 2-0 stint as the interim this year went away as the sobering reality of FSU’s position at the bottom of the Big 3 in-state teams became clear again.

FSU exits the regular season in desperate need of direction. The Seminoles are believed to be on the verge of announcing the hiring of a head coach, likely within 72 hours following the lopsided loss in The Swamp.

As evidenced on Saturday, FSU has to nail the hire and find someone capable of drastically overhauling a roster that hasn’t played with consistent fundamentals for years now. If not, blowout losses to in-state teams like Florida and Miami will continue.

FSU has now dropped consecutive games against Florida for the first time since losing six-straight against the Gators from 2004-2009.

Florida's 40 points scored are the most scored against the Seminoles in Gainesville since 2007.

FSU now awaits their bowl destination and opponent as they search for a seven-win season.

Relive the game with WCTV's live blog by clicking here




 
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