Florida quarterback Emory Jones scrambles as he looks for a receiver against Alabama during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021, in Gainesville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Florida and Florida State Face Off for Annual Rivalry Game

The 2021 season has had its fill of ups and downs for the Florida Gators and the Florida State Seminoles. Regardless of the records, both teams have the opportunity to end the season on a high note this weekend.

How did they get here?

The Gators are sitting at 5-6 amid a 1-4 skid. However, the headline has been the recent firing of Dan Mullen. After a top ten finish last year, a 3-0 start, and a one-score loss to Alabama, the Gators fell apart in the second half of this season. Losses to Kentucky, LSU, Georgia, South Carolina, and Mizzou have put them close to the bottom of the SEC East, just ahead of Vanderbilt.

FSU has had a season near the opposite of Florida. After an ice-cold, 0-4 start, the Seminoles have rebounded with a 5-2 run since then. Similar to Florida, FSU has gone through a couple quarterbacks, ultimately sticking with Jordan Travis. As FSU has turned their season around, Coach Mike Norvell and the Seminoles hope to cap it off with a win against Florida.

What to look for

Passion. The Gators have disappointed many with their record living around .500 in recent weeks. With over 20 seniors on the roster, look for a hard-fought battle from Florida. With the absence of Mullen, the players will have to motivate each other to carry them through Saturday’s battle against FSU.

Interim Head Coach, Greg Knox knows the weight that this game has and wants the seniors to go out on a high note.

“The message is rivalry and it is big. We have a group of seniors that we want to send off in the right way.”

Gator running back Damien Pierce talked about how the game is personal to a lot of players and it is a game they will take personally.

On the defensive side, senior Zachary Carter promises that the Gators will be prepared for the game Saturday.

“It starts in the locker room. Guys are locked in and focused on the task at hand.”

He said it would be “Big Time” when asked about what it would mean to go out with a win in The Swamp.

In past weeks, the players seem to have lost excitement on the field, but look for them to play for each other in the final game. With a win, the Gators and Seminoles will be bowl eligible.

The kickoff is Saturday at noon between the Gators and Seminoles.

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