The Gators and the Seminoles have been engaged mostly in a defensive battle in the first half, with both teams experiencing some offensive struggles as well. Florida State leads Florida 10-0 at the half.
"Struggling" might be putting what Florida has been doing on offense too nicely. Aside from an early 20-yard run from Kelvin Taylor, there have not been many bright spots for the Gators on that side of the ball. Florida mounted a drive just before halftime but it came up empty on a missed Austin Hardin field goal attempt from 50 yards to end the half. The Florida player doing the most with the ball in his hands so far this game is punter Johnny Townsend. Much like Florida's games against Vanderbilt and Florida Atlantic, the offense is sputtering and unsuccessful in most anything it tries to do.
After a scoreless first quarter in which Florida was able to keep Dalvin Cook and the Florida State offense bottled up, the Seminoles put the first points of the game on the board by virtue of a 45-yard Roberto Aguayo field goal. FSU's drive for that field goal was aided by Gator penalties, first an "interesting" kick catch interference penalty and then an offsides penalty. The Seminoles later together a seven-play drive culminating in a Sean Maguire touchdown to tight end Jeremy Kerr (on his first catch of the year). That touchdown came on fourth and goal after Dalvin Cook was stopped on third and goal from the Florida 1.
Both defenses have played well, and, despite the score, both offenses have nearly identical yardage totals (124 for FSU, 122 for Florida). So far, Florida's defense has not allowed a third-down conversion and has held Cook to only 25 yards.
In front of a record crowd of 90,916 in the Swamp, and on Senior Night with 16 seniors (and likely some draft eligible juniors) playing their last home game as Gators, this Florida team that is somewhat improbably 10-1 will try and stage a comeback. 10 points is certainly not an insurmountable lead. A win for Florida would be huge, giving the Gators 11 wins on the season, and would keep any hopes of potentially making a playoff appearance alive.
However, as Andy said before the game, a loss here should not diminish what these Gators have accomplished this season. This is a team that has obvious weaknesses and flaws, but, despite them, has still managed to put together a successful first season under Jim McElwain. Picked to finish fifth in the SEC East, the Gators instead won their division for the first time since 2009.
Of course, the cherry on top would be beating Florida State at home tonight. So, hopefully the Gators give us something to top this sundae of a season with in the second half.