First off, it started out on a good note. As a tribute to the senior receivers whose profound leadership enhanced this team, Dan Mullen put them all in the starting lineup: Freddie Swain, Josh Hammond, Tyrie Cleveland and Van Jefferson. By halftime two of them combined for three touchdowns.
This looked like an offensive slugfest. Both teams drove for scores on their opening touches and FSU was full of razzle dazzle, wasting no time to get inside the 5-yard line where Jordan Travis punched it in for the tying score. Now it was up to the Gators to hold serve so Dan Mullen brought in Emory Jones who made key runs and a throw on the ensuing 11-play 75-yard scoring drive. Dameon Pearce knocked it in for the touchdown but kicker Aaron McPherson had a rare miss and it was 13-7.
This set up a special moment Gator fans have been awaiting months for: Seeing Kadarius Toney cut loose. Back from injury only a few weeks and used only sparingly, Toney hauled in a Trask pass and high-stepped it between two defenders, juked-stepped right and lit the crowd afire as he almost broke it for a touchdown and he scampered 47 yards. It looked like it was going to be more.
Two plays later senior Freddie Swain took a bailout pass from Trask and turned it into a ballet down the sideline for a 23-yard touchdown.
That 20-7 margin became 30-7 at the half on a beautiful 13-yard pitch and catch from Trask to Jefferson. And then McPherson atoned somewhat for the missed PAT with a career- long 50-yard touchdown. This was only half time, but Gator fans had seen enough to assure them there would most assuredly be a 10th win this season, coming at the expense of a bitter rival.