GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida and Florida State renew their rivalry on Friday night at Doak Campbell Stadium.
While the game lacks the hype of the rivalry’s glory years when Steve Spurrier and Bobby Bowden matched wits, a Gators-Seminoles matchup remains an event, going under the Friday Night Lights for the first time this year.
Florida seeks a fourth consecutive win in the series. The Gators, boosted by reserve quarterback Anthony Richardson in the second half, won their third straight over the Seminoles, 24-21, on a sunny afternoon at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium 12 months ago. Both programs entered last season’s meeting with losing records, a rarity in the series.
A year later, both programs have shown signs of improvement. The No. 16-ranked Seminoles (8-3) have won four in a row in their third season under head coach Mike Norvell. The Gators (6-5) had won back-to-back games until being upset at Vanderbilt last week.
— Florida Gators Football (@GatorsFB) November 21, 2022
While the loss to the Commodores stung, the Gators are in a better place than at the end of last season following the dismissal of head coach Dan Mullen six days before facing FSU. In a tumultuous season, Mullen had fired offensive line coach John Hevesy and defensive coordinator Todd Grantham earlier in the season.
Greg Knoxa longtime Mullen assistant, served as interim coach in the win over FSU. UF became bowl eligible with the victory.
Following Florida’s loss to UCF in the Gasparilla Bowl under Knox, recently hired Billy Napier took over day-to-day operations and has restored some stability in the locker room and on the field.
The Gators became bowl eligible with their 38-6 thumping of South Carolina two weeks ago and can clinch a winning season by beating FSU on Friday night. They will need a strong performance from Richardson in his first season as the Gators’ starting quarterback to do so.
Richardson came off the bench in last season’s win over the Seminoles to complete 5 of 7 passes for 55 yards, including a 5-yard scoring pass to Justin Shorter. Meanwhile, running back Dameon Pierce added 62 yards rushing – and who can forget Pierce churning for the end zone after losing his helmet on a second-half run? – before a fourth-quarter touchdown that gave Florida a 24-7 lead.
Regardless of the circumstances, this game always provides memorable moments. Before we turn our attention to Friday night’s game, let’s take a look at where many of the Gators from last season are today:
AS THE GAME TURNS
|COACH/PLAYER||2021 @ UF||2022||NOTABLE|
|Greg Knox||Interim head coach||Buffalo||Knox is RB/Assistant special-teams coach for 5-5 Bulls|
|Garrick McGee||Quarterbacks coach||Purdue||McGee coaches receivers for 7-4 Boilermakers, including 1,000-yard WR Charlie Jones|
|Christian Robinson||Linebackers coach||Auburn||Robinson is linebackers coach at 5-6 Auburn, which faces Alabama next|
|Tim Brewster||TE/Assistant HC||Jackson State||Joined HC Deion Sanders as TE coach for 11-0 Tigers|
|Jules Montinar||Cornerbacks coach||Temple||Cornerbacks coach for 3-8 Owls under HC Stan Drayton|
|David Turner||Defensive line coach||Georgia Tech||Assistant head coach of defense for 5-6 Yellow Jackets|
|Billy Gonzales||Receivers coach||Florida Atlantic||Receivers coach at 5-6 FAU under HC Willie Taggart|
|Wesley McGriff||Secondary coach||Louisville||Co-DC, secondary coach for 7-4 Cardinals under HC Scott Satterfield|
|Michael Sollenne||Interim OL coach||Ohio State||OL graduate assistant for 11-0 Buckeyes under HC Ryan Day|
|Emory Jones||Quarterback||Arizona State||Has passed for 1,533 yards, 7 TD, 4 INT for 3-8 Sun Devils|
|Dameon Pierce||Running back||Houston (NFL)||Has rushed for 780 yards, 3 TDs in rookie season|
|Nick Savage||Strength coach||Be Miss||Strength coach for 8-3 Rebels under Lane Kiffin|
|Brenton Cox Jr.||Linebacker||Florida||Four sacks a year ago vs. FSU, dismissed from team last month|
|Mick Hubert||Play-by-play voice||Sarasota (retired)||Living the good life on a beach somewhere|
|Kemore Gamble||Tight end||UCF||Caught 47-yard TD against FSU; 7 catches, 118 yards, 1 TD for 8-3 Knights|
|Zach Carter||Defensive lineman||Cincinnati (NFL)||A reserve, Carter has 18 tackles in rookie season|