Florida State (5-6, 3-5) has won the last five games against No. 13 University of Florida (8-3, 5-3) and will try to make it their sixth win in a row to continue their winning streak as they play host at Doak Campbell Stadium on Saturday.
After being asked what is his most memorable moment from the FSU and Florida rivalry, the Seminoles head coach Willie Taggart responded by saying “The ones we won.”
The Seminoles have won 15 consecutive non-conference home games which ranks ninth among power 5 teams as the longest active streak, and after beating Boston College in a comeback win last Saturday, the Seminoles are riding off of confidence in hopes of keeping their 36-year bowl streak alive
“Well I think I challenged our coaches and our players to get back to what we say we were going to be from day one, we kind of got away from it with all the things that were going on throughout the season in trying to find answers in getting us going and we kind of got away from ourselves and who we were,” said Taggart. “I challenged those guys to let’s be fast, physical and aggressive for this game.”
Despite the obstacles that FSU has been through, one thing the Seminoles seem to get right this season is stopping the run. Florida State has kept nine of its 11 opponents under their normal season yards-per-carry.
Although they were able to hold the Eagles last week to just 2.6 yards per carry, Taggart understands that the Gator’s run game is completely opposite, after being asked how similar is Florida and Boston’s run game
“Not similar, it’s a different style of ball play. Florida’s gone run — you see some of the things we do. They’ll run the quarterback a lot more, but it’s more spread. You’re not going to see two or three tight ends in that big and base offense — they’ll spread it out with eleven personnel which is three receivers, tight end and maybe a little bit of 12 personnel with two tight ends but not as much as you seen against Boston College. You see Florida in the gun and not in center as much,” said Taggart.
Though some fans seem to have been let down early this season and expressed on social media that Taggart should be fired at the end of the season, a win and being bowl eligible would mean a lot for the fan base and the University.
“This game is very important. We’re a prideful University, we pride ourselves on winning you know and when you think about the streak — that’s winning,” said Taggart. “We’ve been wining every year… So it’s very important that we go out and give our fans, our alumni, our former players and coaches that have been here and our current players and coaches everything that we can to see that we get this victory and keep it going. That’s important to us and we know what is at stake and we have to go take care of business.”
The outcome of this game is very important and can very much determine who will win the bidding war over future recruits
“I think any game helps with recruiting it’s big, not necessarily because it’s Florida or anything. I know the perception — oh you win the game you get all the recruits; I wish it was that easy, we should have them all if that was the case,” said Taggart. “It’s about building relationships and I know for us it’s about getting the right fit for what we want for us… I don’t think all that has to do just with winning.”
FSU will try to secure a winning season and will recognize 17 seniors as they look forward to making their final appearance in Doak Campbell Stadium Saturday.