Florida kept its national championship hopes alive with a 37-26 win over rival Florida State.
The Gators were led by a great defense and running back Mike Gillislee, who finished with 140 yards on 24 carries with two touchdowns.
This matchup was a game of huge momentum shifts.
For the first half, Florida was the dominant team. The defense did not allow the Seminoles to move the football, and the offense got off to a 13-0 lead.
The only sign of life from Florida State occurred in a late drive to earn a 50-yard field goal as time expired.
In the second half, there were two huge plays that changed the course of the game.
With the Gators punting from their own 12-yard line, Kenny Shaw took the return back to Florida's 25.
This not only energized the team, but the entire crowd full of people like this guy:
Florida State then scored 17 unanswered points to take the 20-13 lead.
Unfortunately for the Seminoles, this good feeling did not last long. In the fourth quarter, quarterback E.J. Manuel took a huge shot by two Gators defenders and fumbled. He missed a series, but eventually returned to the field.
However, Gillislee ran 37 yards for his second touchdown of the game only one play later.
The Gators followed that up with a Jeff Driskel touchdown pass on the next possession to earn a 30-20 lead.
Florida State was unable to recover, causing the second loss of the year. The five turnovers were simply too much to overcome, and the team ended its regular season on a sour note.
Sports Illustrated's Andy Staples pointed out the big momentum shift that occurred at the end of the first half.
Huge swing for Florida State. Had they given up a TD off the INT, it's 20-0. Instead, go into the half at 13-3. Still very much a game.— Andy Staples (@Andy_Staples) November 24, 2012
Of course, that mindset changed toward the fourth quarter when Florida regained control of the game. Will Brinson of CBS Sports pokes fun at an entire conference during the closing minutes.
Florida State is ACC’ing the hell out of this game right now— Will Brinson (@willbrinson) November 24, 2012
Aaron Williams, cornerback for the Buffalo Bills, was right on the money about costly penalties for the Gators. Overall, 12 penalties cost the team 101 total yards, keeping the game closer than it should have been.
Florida just doesn't have those big time playmakers. Penalties are killing big time right now— Aaron Williams (@ajwilliams23) November 24, 2012
Still, I think a certain Florida running back has something to say about the first part, though.
Bleacher Report's college football lead writer Barrett Sallee was impressed with Mike Gillislee's game and season.
Remember when Gillislee predicted 3,592 rushing yards and 362 touchdowns at Media Days? Yeah, he is getting close.— Barrett Sallee (@BarrettSallee) November 24, 2012
Stewart Mandel of Sports Illustrated looks at Florida's overall resume and believes it should have a chance to play for the national title.
If Florida holds on, it will have 4 wins over BCS Top 12 (LSU, A&M, FSU, S. Car.), and only loss to No. 3 (Ga.). Best resume in the country.— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) November 25, 2012
Only time will tell if this will be the case.
Florida State will be heavily favored against Georgia Tech in the ACC championship game. A win will put the Seminoles in the Orange Bowl for the first time since 2005.
For Florida, all that is left is waiting. A Notre Dame loss could potentially put this team in position to play for a national championship.
USC certainly gained a lot more fans from Gator Nation as the team hopes for this opportunity.
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