Jacksonville Sports Day

CFB: Florida State Holds on to Defeat Florida, 24-19, in Muschamp’s Finale

By MIKE BONTS
(FLORIDA SPORTS WIRE)
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. —
  FSU finished the regular season 12-0 for the second consecutive season with a 24-19 come from behind win against Florida Saturday.

It was Will Muschamp’s last game as head coach of the Gators.

“I’m just upset about the loss right now. The other stuff – Carol and I are excited about the next step I can assure you of that. Carol and Jackson and Whit and I are fired up about the next step and that is what we are looking forward to," Muschamp said. "I am extremely disappointed for our football team right now. They’ve got a good team, they did a good job. We had our opportunities and didn’t get it done.

Florida (6-5) blocked a punt in he final minute of the first half and converted the turnover into their first touchdown of the game on QB Treon Harris’ 15-yard pass to Clay Burton to pull within five points.

Harris was 13 of 31 passing for 169 yards and two interceptions. He was also Florida’s leading rusher with 49 yards on eight carries. The Gators’ Demarcus Robinson led all receivers with four receptions for 71 yards.

FSU QB Jameis Winston’s  second of  two TD passes to tight end Nick O’Leary gave the Seminoles their biggest lead of the game, 21-9, with 2:14  to play in the second quarter. Dalvin Cook gained 144 yards on 24 carries for the defending champion Seminoles, whose last three wins have come by a combined 12 points.

"Well, it's a new scenario every game, but the same thing is there is always room for improvement. So we're just going to take this. This is a good win against Florida,and look towards the next game against Georgia Tech. Hopefully I won't turn the ball over and get us some touchdowns in the second half," Winston said.

Winston was 14 of 24 passing for 125 yards but threw four interceptions. O’Leary, a senior playing in his last home game, led the FSU receivers with four catches for 52 yards.

"We wanted to get it to him. I thought he blocked well, caught well. And he had that big catch on that drive right there in the second half. He played really well," said FSU coach Jimbo Fisher of O'Leary. 

Roberto Aguayo’s 37-yard field goal was the only scoring in the final quarter.

​​Three field goals by Austin Hardin gave the Gators an early 9-0 lead.  Hardin made it 21-19 with his fourth field goal of the game to open the second half. The Gators made four field goals in a game for the first time since Sept. 17, 2011, against Tennessee. 

Terrance Smith returned a 94-yard interception for a TD to cut the Florida lead to 9-7 and the Seminoles never trailed.

Muschamp was asked how he wants to be remembered at Florida.

​“Just a guy who did it the right way. I hold my head walking out of here. We did things the right way. We didn’t win enough games. I was asked to clean up a program. We did that," Muschamp said.

NOTES FROM DOAK: The Seminoles lost running back Karlos Williams to a concussion. 82,485 was the announced attendance. FSU now faces Georgia Tech for the ACC Championship Saturday in Charlotte.  It was the Seminoles’ 28th straight win and 15th in a row at home. The Gators held FSU to a season-low 306 yards. The Gators were 6-of-18 on third down, while FSU was 4-of-13. Florida missed two potential go-ahead field goals in the second half and had the ball at midfield in the waning minutes. Gators QB Treon Harris went 0-for-6 through the air on the final drive.

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