Florida State University

Punchless UF knocked down and out by FSU

Florida State tight end Jeremy Kerr, center, celebrates with teammates after scoring a touchdown against Florida on a 1-yard pass play during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015, in Gainesville, Fla.
Florida State tight end Jeremy Kerr, center, celebrates with teammates after scoring a touchdown against Florida on a 1-yard pass play during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015, in Gainesville, Fla. AP

The Florida Gators wore a special uniform combination — white helmets, blue jerseys and white pants — for the first time since Tim Tebow’s Senior Day against Florida State in 2009.

The white-hot look couldn’t ignite a listless offense, though.

Instead, the Seminoles made history.

No. 14 FSU continued its recent dominance in the Sunshine Showdown, rolling past No. 10 Florida 27-2 in The Swamp — winning three straight games in Gainesville for the first time ever.

“You just don't come into Gainesville and win three in a row here," FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said.

"Our players know how hard it is to do that."

The ‘Noles (10-2) have won five of six the Gators (10-2), ending their rivals College Football Playoff hopes. They likely knocked UF out of the Sugar Bowl, too, unless Florida can upset No. 2 Alabama in the SEC Championship next weekend in Atlanta.

Fisher had his team well prepared despite a flurry of coaching rumors this week linking him to the potential opening at LSU. He moved to 14-1 against in-state opponents, and secured 10 wins in a supposed rebuilding year in Tallahassee.

Meanwhile, there’s still plenty of building to do in Gainesville.

The Gators escaped embarrassing losses to Vanderbilt, South Carolina and Florida Atlantic in recent weeks, but their flirtation with disaster met its destiny Saturday night.

“Obviously that was very disappointing,” Florida coach Jim McElwain said.

“Hats off to those guys. They made some plays and we didn’t. It’s plain and simple. ”

The Seminoles smothered the Gators, who narrowly avoided their first shutout since 1988 with a fourth-quarter safety.

But Saturday’s school-record crowd of 90,916 witnessed another ghastly offensive performance, harkening back the dark days of the Will Muschamp era.

Florida State’s stifling defense held UF to just 257 total yards, including a lowly 5 of 17 on third down. The Gators punted nine times and had six 3-and-outs.

Quarterback Treon Harris delivered his fourth-consecutive dismal game, throwing for just 134 yards on 19 of 38 passing. Harris was sacked four times, and consistently failed to recognize pressure or see open receivers.

“He could’ve played better, but so could’ve some other guys around him,” McElwain said.

Starting with kicker Austin Hardin. The much-maligned junior missed two more field goals Saturday and is now 5 of 13 on the season.

Meanwhile, the Noles’ attack wasn’t much better until their sophomore superstar took over.

Dynamic tailback Dalvin Cook was bottled up by Florida’s swarming defense in the first half, rushing for just 25 yards on eight carries.

But then the Gators ran out of gas and the former Miami Central star discovered another gear.

Cook submitted a Heisman performance after halftime, finishing with 183 yards and two touchdowns -- both in the fourth quarter.

“Wow. He’s a fighter,” Fisher said.

“There are a lot of great running backs in this country and he is as good as any of them with everything he does.”

The game was an ugly slobber-knocker early, as two teams combined for just one first down in the opening four possessions of the game.

Seminoles kicker Robert Aguayo got FSU on the board with a 45-yard field goal in the second quarter. He banked in a 51-yarder off the upright early in the third quarter.

Before Cook exploded late, FSU’s best drive was a seven-play, 74-yard possession that ended in a brilliant fourth-down play by quarterback Sean Maguire.

Cook was 3rd-and-1 at the goal line, but Fisher opted to go for it on 4th-and-1 and the move paid off.

Maguire, who was only 14 of 28 for 160 yards on the night, escaping pressure on a boot-leg and threw across his body into traffic to find tight end Jeremy Kerr for the touchdown.

The Gators tried to generate some juice early in the second half, putting together an impressive drive by mixing tempo and easy reads for Harris.

Tailback Kelvin Taylor, who was UF’s offense Saturday with 136 yards, got going, too, but Florida stalled inside the eight-yard line and then went backwards.

A quarterback keeper went nowhere, and then Harris took a terrible 13-yard intentional grounding penalty on third down.

Hardin’s 37-yard attempt was blocked on the next play.

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