|Mike Gillislee ran for 140 yards as Florida finished the regular season 11-1 with a win over Florida State. (US Presswire)|
FLORIDA WON: In a hard-hitting game that featured three lead changes and scoring in bunches, it was the Florida Gators who had the final say with 24 fourth-quarter points to close out a 37-26 win over in-state rival Florida State.
Florida finishes the regular season 11-1 -- the Gators best record since 2009. While Georgia will be representing the SEC East in the SEC Championship Game, Florida is now in the same position as Alabama was in 2011. With a little help -- such as Notre Dame losing to USC on Saturday night -- the Gators will be in a position to sneak into the BCS title game to likely face the winner of Alabama-Georgia.
HOW FLORIDA WON: Florida dominated the game early, controlling the clock with a bruising rushing attack and preventing the Seminoles from getting into rhythm with terrific third-down defense. It was a slow creep to 13-0 before Florida State finally got something going and orchestrated a nine-play drive before halftime that ended in a field goal.
The Gators forced five Florida State turnovers, and turning those errors into points allowed Florida to swing momentum in its favor when EJ Manuel and Co. got rolling. The three-score third quarter from Florida State fired up the Doak Campbell crowd and filled the Seminoles sideline with a renewed energy. No turnover was more significant, though, than the sack that led to Manuel's fumble that started the Gators' fourth-quarter offensive explosion.
WHEN FLORIDA WON: Lerentee McCray popped Manuel so hard on a sack early in the fourth quarter that the Seminoles quarterback coughed up the ball and had to be helped off the field to undergo tests. He eventually returned, but it was Mike Gillislee's 37-yard touchdown that put the Gators back in front for good. From there it was a painful progression of body punches for the Florida State defense, wearing them down as the Gators piled on the points.
WHAT FLORIDA WON: The Gators' BCS title hopes are alive and well, as their attention will quickly turn to the events in Los Angeles. Florida's 11-1 record and impressive resume will keep them on the edge of the title game picture as they need a Notre Dame loss to sneak into the top two and likely face the winner of the SEC title game. Even if the Gators don't make the title game, they will have a strong argument as an at-large depending on the result of the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta.
WHAT FLORIDA STATE LOST: The path for Florida State's potential BCS bowl appearance is unchanged. The Seminoles were playing for an Orange Bowl bid next week in the ACC Championship Game regardless of today's events. But the loss likely creates a scenario where the ACC automatic bid is the only way Florida State can reach its first BCS bowl game. The possibility of an at-large bid is pretty much out of the question now if they lose next week to Georgia Tech in Charlotte.
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