- David M. Hale, ESPN Staff Writer
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When it was over, Jimbo Fisher couldn't help but recount all the opportunities Florida State had let slip by. From the turnovers to the run defense to the special teams blunders, every unit contributed to the 37-26 Florida win, he said.
The numbers tell the story of an FSU team that hardly resembled the dominant group that had won 10 of its first 11 games. Here are five that made the biggest impact in Saturday's defeat at the hands of the Gators.
244. That's the number of rushing yards Florida State allowed Saturday, the most for an FSU defense since a loss to Florida in 2009 when the Gators tallied 311 yards on the ground. Florida's Mike Gillislee finished with 140 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries, the most yards by an individual back against FSU since Clemson's Jamie Harper ran for 143 in 2010. Florida's three rushing touchdowns were the most against FSU since NC State had three in 2010, and the Gators racked up four different runs of at least 20 yards in game, matching the total number FSU had allowed all season.
23. That's the number of turnovers Florida State has this season -- four more than the Seminoles finished with a year ago. In seven games this season, FSU had turned the ball over at least twice, but it managed to win all of them. On Saturday, however, the luck ran out. The Seminoles coughed up the football five times -- the most in any game since last season's loss to Wake Forest. EJ Manuel threw three ugly interceptions and gave up a fumble, while Karlos Williams fumbled away a kick return. Two of the turnovers occurred deep in Florida territory -- taking likely points off the board for FSU -- while the Gators turned two turnovers into 14 points in a game that ended up decided by just 11.
36:20. That's Florida's time of possession in Saturday's win, but it may not even tell the whole story. Thanks to FSU's early offensive miscues, the Gators dominated the time of possession in the first half, slowly wearing down the Seminoles' D. By the time Manuel coughed up a fumble with 11:09 remaining in the fourth quarter, Florida had a nearly 18-minute edge in time of possession and had run 62 offensive plays to FSU's 34. Not surprisingly, FSU's D had nothing left, and Gillislee ran for a 37-yard score one play later.
3. That's the number of times Florida State punted Saturday, and freshman Cason Beatty averaged just 42 yards on those kicks. That still marked his fourth-best average on the season, but despite the seemingly big advantage Florida had in that area, it wasn't Beatty's leg that proved to be the difference on special teams. His longest punt of the day was a 54-yarder, but FSU couldn't cover it and Marcus Roberson returned it 50 yards to the Seminoles' 32-yard line, setting up a touchdown that effectively sealed the game.
6. That's the number of tackles for Bjoern Werner in the game, including 3.5 sacks. Werner was dominant through three quarters, consistently pressuring Florida QB Jeff Driskel and almost singlehandedly changing the momentum in the third quarter, culminating with a huge fumble recovery that set up a touchdown run. But after Manuel coughed up the fumble in the fourth quarter, there were no more heroics left for Werner, who had simply run out of gas. He finished without a tackle in the final quarter, and Florida responded with 24 unanswered points.
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