Sports

10 players that could make a difference when Florida hosts FSU


There’s still one game left to play in the regular season, and a win would make the Gators bowl eligible despite all that’s happened this year. Florida State is also playing for bowl eligibility and has been playing some of its best football of the season over the last few weeks. Both teams will need their stars to step up in this rivalry game, and Florida has to do it without its typical head coach.

For the Gators, it starts at quarterback. Anthony Richardson should be starting after Emory Jones hurt an ankle in practice this week, but Jones did return on Wednesday. Whether it’s one or both of them playing on Saturday, limiting turnovers at quarterback is a key to success for the Gators.

Jacob Copeland finally got his targets last week against Missouri, and No. 1 showed what he could do by going over 100 yards receiving for the second time this year. If the targets keep coming, Copeland should be able to repeat against FSU. A healthy passing game would open the running game nicely for Dameon Pierce and Malik Davis, who both had a rough game against the Tigers.

Defensively, things looked pretty good last week, at least in the first half. Bottling up Tyler Badie isn’t easy, and doing it for a half is more than most thought this defense was capable of. Defensive lineman Zach Carter has asked fans to pack the Swamp for his final home game as a Florida Gator. There’s no doubt Carter wants to put on a show for his final game, especially considering the state of the program. It could be a multi-sack day for him if he can get going.

Jordan Travis is the man Carter will be trying to get to, and he’s proven to be FSU’s best option at quarterback ahead of McKenzie Milton. He’s led the Seminoles to four wins in the last five games, and the one loss was by 10 points to Clemson. Travis has decent scrambling ability as well.

Running back Jashaun Corbin is the next most dangerous man on FSU’s offense with just 877 yards and seven touchdowns this season. The Seminoles don’t have great numbers at receiver, but freshman Ja’Khi Douglas has hauled in four passes in each of the last two games. That could be a blossoming connection for Florida State, and Florida’s younger defensive backs could struggle.

On defense, former Georgia Bulldog Jermaine Johnson II has flown up draft boards this year with his play. The linebacker has been a pillar for FSU on defense this year and should give Florida’s quarterbacks some trouble. In the secondary, Jammie Robinson has forced five turnovers this year (3 INT, 2 FF).

If Florida is going to overcome its biggest in-state rival, it’ll have to get past some NFL-ready defense.

 



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