November 24, 2012, was the last time Florida State lost in football. The team that beat them?
The Florida Gators.
That means the last coach to beat FSU was none other than Will Muschamp. Since then, the Seminoles have totaled 27 straight wins. On the other hand, the Gators have gone 10-13, leading to the dismissal of Muschamp a few weeks ago. Despite Muschamp not returning next season, he will still be the coach come Saturday as the Gators (6-4, 4-4 SEC) take on undefeated Florida State (11-0, 8-0 ACC) at 3:30 p.m. in Tallahassee.
Although FSU is coming off a slim three point victory over Boston College last weekend, Muschamp still thinks they’re a tough, talented team.
“They’ve done an outstanding job. They’ve got a very good team in all three phases. Offensively, really with their team starts with Jameis Winston. He’s a great player, a Heisman Trophy winner. Arm talent, he can throw it really any way you want it. He’s just got a great, strong arm. He’s able to throw the touch throws, take the ball to the right spots. He’s got a great pocket presence. He’s a very hard guy to tackle in the pocket. You’ve got to tackle him high. Great toughness for the position.”
There have been times this year where FSU has looked on the verge of losing. They’ve had to mount multiple comebacks from deficits including 24-7 to N.C. State, 21-0 to Louisville, and 16-0 to Miami. In all of those games, the Noles were able to find a way to win and Muschamp says it doesn’t make their winning streak any less impressive.
“Anytime you win, it may not be exactly what you want it to look like, and certainly all the experts are taking their shots, but they’ve still won 27, 28, 29 games in a row, and that’s hard to do. That’s really hard to do. So, you know, again, you see a very well-coached, good football team in all three phases that have talented players. They’ve won a bunch of games, they know how to win.”
FSU’s second half comebacks can mainly be attributed to their Heisman Trophy quarterback Jameis Winston, who seems to thrive in late-game pressure situations.
“They’ve done a good job in the second half. A lot of the success they’ve had is attributed to the quarterback position. The guy is making plays. He’s making a bunch of plays. Maybe teams are giving him different looks in the first half — I can’t really go and tell you that. I know in the second half his numbers really go up when the game is on the line.”
It will be a tough challenge to contain Winston, but Coach Boom knows the key will be staying unpredictable in what they do.
“You’ve got to change things up. He’s a guy that when he knows what he’s getting — he’s good, regardless — but he’s really good when he knows what he’s getting, whether it’s pressure or coverage, middle field or split safety. I think you’ve just got to continue to change up and have creative looks that you are playing multiple things out of. Those are some things we do a lot anyways.”
Emotions will be running high for everyone involved in Saturday’s game, but for the players especially, they will need to approach it like any other game.
“There will be high emotions. They need to manage that,” Muschamp said. “They can’t let it overtake them, especially early in the game getting very emotional. There are going to be a lot of ups and downs in the game, and you’ve got to play through them. Any big game, that’s what you need to be able to do.”
Kickoff for Florida’s final regular season game against FSU is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, with pregame coverage beginning at 12:30 on ESPN 850 WRUF.
For audio of the above quotes, click below:
Muschamp on Winston
Muschamp on the Noles winning streak
Muschamp on Winston being the key to FSU’s 2nd half comeback
Muschamp on how to slow down Winston
Muschamp on the players having to manage emotions