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Gators reclaim rivalry over FSU in Mullen’s first year

The Florida Gators pummeled the Florida State Seminoles 41-14 on Rivalry Saturday, ending FSU’s bowl streak.

NCAA Football: Florida at Florida State Glenn Beil-USA TODAY Sports

As Dan Mullen’s Florida Gators left the field at Doak Campbell Stadium, they ended several streaks. They ended FSU’s streaks of 41 winning seasons and their 36-straight bowl game appearances. More importantly, they snapped a five-game losing streak to the Seminoles. They did so in rather dominant fashion as well, with a 41-14 road victory.

Despite a much-maligned career up to this point, Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks had one of his best games in the orange & blue. He threw for 254 yards, tossed 3 touchdowns, did not turn the ball over once, and added 46 yards on the ground. Franks finally established a deep ball connection with Van Jefferson and Trevon Grimes, which combined for 210 of his passing yards and two of his touchdowns. Lamical Perine and Jordan Scarlett also both produced touchdown runs, and Perine ran for 129 yards including a 74-yard touchdown.

The FSU defense held Florida down in the red zone early, denying them a touchdown in each of their first three trips. It went downhill from there however, as the Seminoles could not contain the Gator ground attack and failed to continually put pressure on Franks.

The Florida State offense was once again reliant on big plays, and they came on their two touchdown drives. But other than that: nothing. Florida State was penalized on what seemed like every other play, and consistently committed negative plays that put them in bad situations. The aggressive Florida defense feasted off of that, forcing 3 turnovers, 5 sacks, and 8 tackles for loss. The loss puts the anemic Florida State offense and tired FSU defense at 5-7 and ineligible for a bowl game.

NCAA Football: Florida at Florida State Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports

This win is huge for Florida and huge for Dan Mullen, who has yet to lose to FSU as either an assistant or head coach. With Miami also down this season, a dominant win over the Seminoles established Florida’s new power in the state. This win propels the Gators into a possible New Year’s Six Bowl game and drastically improves their recruiting pitch and foothold in the state.

Mullen has improved the Gators from 4-7 to 9-3, but defeating the hated Seminoles and ending a 5-year losing streak is likely his greatest accomplishment as head coach so far. It’s one he can build upon for bowl season and beyond.