For the first time since the 2014 season the Seminoles finished the regular season undefeated and have beaten the Gators in back-to-back seasons. FSU has won 18 straight games dating back to last season.
"There's a lot of things that that we're gonna get to correct but to finish the regular season 12-0. The undefeated regular season is big, back-to-back state champions," FSU head coach Mike Norvell said. "That's huge to be able to come here on the road, with a new quarterback, starting for the first time this season.
"It was there was definitely an impressive rally for our football team."
Here are our grades from the Florida game.
It was "a tale of two halves" for the offense.
Out the gate, FSU looked the worst it had all year as quarterback Tate Rodemaker struggled to complete passes and the rushing game again sputtered.
At the end of the first quarter, the Seminoles had -7 yards of total offense to Florida's 103 yards.
"There's some things he's going to learn from," Norvell said of the offensive performance in the first half. "We had some early mistakes."
However, Rodemaker began to settle in and Benson found his legs. By halftime, FSU could bump the total offense to 85 yards and got on the board off a touchdown from a 1-yard run from Benson.
He only continued to pump out big runs and found the end zone in the third quarter off a 36-yard sprint.
He finished with 95 yards rushing on 19 attempts to lead a team effort, adding a fourth-quarter exclamation touchdown.
Rodemaker completed 12-of-25 passes for 134 yards, favoring Johnny Wilson for 64 receiving yards on six receptions and 12 targets.
Yes, the offense did look vulnerable early and it looked like Florida was going to run away with this game. But the Seminoles were able to make plays when it mattered most, outscoring the Gators 24-3 after falling behind 12-0.
Similar to the offense, the defense struggled to get going early as well.
In the first quarter, Florida rattled off 103 yards of offense and seven first downs. That only continued into the second quarter as the Gators recorded 81 yards of offense and built up a 12-7 lead to take into the locker room.
However, the defense locked in the second half, limiting the Gators to just 48 yards of offense, and -15 yards in the fourth quarter.
Florida finished the game with 232 yards of total offense, but more than half of that came in the first half. FSU likely wishes it held Florida to lower yardage in the first half, but it dominated in the second to take over the game.
Defensive back Shyheem Brown had eight tackles a pass breakup and a QB hurry. Defensive end Jared Verse was all over Florida quarterback Max Brown, recording 2.5 sacks, six total tackles and two quarterback hurries. He also had a forced fumble and so did defensive back Akeem Dent.
The FSU defense was forced to make an adjustment after giving the Gators too much in the first half and executed accordingly.
"I was just really proud of our defense and the defensive staff for what they were able to do and and especially during the second half was just incredible," Norvell said.
Special teams: B+
FSU's special teams unit got the job done, but there were a handful of blips here and there.
The important part was kicker Ryan Fitzgerald made a 19-yard field goal, improving to 15-of-16 on the year, and made all of his PATs. He has been rock-steady all season for the Seminoles.
Early in the game, it looked like FSU had successfully pulled off a fake punt, seeing punter Alex Mastromanno take off beyond the line to gain, but the play was called back after a delay of game penalty. Punting-wise, Mastromanno is averaging around 47 yards per punt this season but had a lower stat line tonight of 38.6 yards per punt.
On returns, FSU got only 17 yards off one kickoff return from Deuce Spann and 34 yards off one punt return from Keon Coleman. It was a quieter night for a usually louder part of FSU's game.
For the second straight week, the Seminoles started off slow, falling behind by two scores against Florida this week. FSU's first score of the game did not come until right up until near halftime.
But Norvell never wavered in his trust for the plan for the offense or the defense. After being out-gained 184-85 in the first half, FSU out-gained Florida 139-48 in the second half. The team picked up four of the sacks in the second half, including two on the final Gator's drive to ice the game.
Norvell talks about trusting his players, he showed full faith in Rodemaker and then freshman Brock Glenn when he entered allowing him to throw on his first play of the game.
The faith in the defense showed in the decision to kick a field goal with 7:17 left in the game from the 2-yard line on a 4th-and-2 instead of going for it and going for the chance to have a touchdown lead.
"We did a good job with adjustments throughout the course of the game in what we were what we were seeing," Norvell said. "And then the players rose up and made the plays when necessary."
You put into the fact that this is FSU's first full game without Jordan Travis, Rodemaker's first full game of the season and a rivalry game. However, with so much on the line and a conference championship game next week, FSU needed a better start out of the gate.
It looked beatable in the first quarter and not great in the second. However, the Seminole made the adjustments they needed to and pulled away with the win. The team was working with a new quarterback and was still settling in, but so was Florida.
FSU is officially into the postseason and still battling for the final spot in the College Football Playoff. It needs to play complete games from here on out to have a chance to raise a national championship.
Jack Williams covers Florida State athletics for Tallahassee Democrat. Contact him via email at email@example.com or on Twitter @jackgwilliams.
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This article originally appeared on Tallahassee Democrat: FSU football report card: Grading Seminoles vs. Florida Gators