GAINESVILLE, Fla. — After trading touchdowns on their opening possession, it was all Gators in the regular season finale at The Swamp: a 23-point second quarter -- all unanswered -- powered Dan Mullen and the Gators (10-2) to their second straight win over rival Florida State (6-6), 40-17.
Since Mullen took over the helm, the Gators have now outscored the Noles xxx through eight quarters of football.
Gators quarterback Kyle Trask was tremendous, finishing 30 of 41 for 343 yards with three touchdowns -- all of which came in the first half alone. On Senior Night, seniors Freddie Swain and Van Jefferson had two touchdowns each, with eight different Gators catching passes from Trask on the night. All this despite a mere 77 rushing yards for the Gators.
Trask and Swain got the party started with a 19-yard touchdown capping off a 6 for 8, 69-yard performance by Trask on just the opening drive alone. Florida State answered back with a 75-yard drive of their own, capped off by Jordan Travis' third rushing touchdown of the year.
But the floodgates opened from there.
Dameon Pierce, Jefferson and Swain would all find the end-zone in the second quarter, and Evan McPherson tacked on a 50-yard field goal for good measure to make it 30-7 Florida at half. The Gators were 17.5 point favorites coming into the game.
On defense, the Gators racked up six sacks, bringing their SEC-leading, season total to 45, the most in program-history since 1999.
Interim head coach Odell Haggins once again went with James Blackman under-center. The junior was 14 of 23 for 150 yards. In possibly his final game for the garnet-and-gold, running back Cam Akers carried the rock 17 times for 104 yards and one touchdown. The other bright spot for the Noles: sophomore wide receiver Tamorrion Terry, who caught 7 passes for 131 yards.
Both teams will play in bowl games this season, but, for Florida State, their attention now turns to finding their next head coach. The Florida State administration maintains that it hopes to have a head coach in place within the next few days. Haggins has interviewed for the position.
Meanwhile, the Gators now have their first consecutive wins over the Seminoles since 2004-2009. They also have a shot at their first 11-win season since 2012. Bowl Selection Sunday is December 8.