It was the Kelvin Benjamin show on Saturday afternoon in Gainesville.
Florida State's 6-5 redshirt freshman receiver absolutely torched the Gator secondary today -- hauling in nine catches for 208 yards and three scores -- and almost single-handedly broke the back of the UF defense.
All year -- for the past two years, really -- Florida State's players and coaches have raved about Benjamin's athleticism and playmaking ability. He's supposedly the fastest player on the team, he supposedly jumps the highest, supposedly has the best hands.
Up until this season it was all just "supposedly."
Benjamin entered the game leading Florida State in touchdown receptions with nine. He had 36 catches for 626 yards and a 17.4 yard average. In the build-up to this match-up the Gators -- head coach Will Muschamp in particular -- had said that they planned to get physical with FSU's receivers, even taking a swipe at the ACC in suggesting that the Seminoles don't often face tight coverage.
By halftime Muschamp was likely eating his words.
Benjamin hauled in five catches for 108 yards and two first half touchdowns to put the Seminoles up 17-0 heading into the tunnel.
In the second half he picked up right where he left off, gaining over 100 more and adding another touchdown as FSU ran away with the game.
What's scariest is this wasn't even Kelvin Benjamin's best game. The big, speedy receiver dropped two passes in the first half and another one in the third quarter. If not for those -- and he more than made up for them -- Benjamin would have likely been staring at a 300+ yard receiving day and at least one more score.
Even with leaving a few plays on the field though, Benjamin stepped up when his team needed him the most.
Clinging to a 3-0 lead in the second quarter -- with the ball at their own 4 -- FSU needed a drive and Benjamin was the guy who took over and made it happen.
Near midfield, on 2nd and 20 -- following a Bobby Hart holding call -- Benjamin caught a ball over the middle for 23 yards and a first down. On the very next play he caught another ball over the middle, broke three tackles and took it 45 yards for the score.
He followed it with a 29 yard touchdown reception on the next series to put FSU up by three scores. The Seminoles never looked back.
It wasn't just Benjamin though, after some early problems with protection the offensive line settled down and started giving Jameis Winston time to throw.
Winston was solid himself, going 19/31 for 327 yards and three touchdowns. He now holds the FSU record for most TD passes in a single season.
Even the run game picked up for the Seminoles in the second half. Devonta Freeman scored on an 11-yard run and James Wilder started to really grind against the UF defensive front in the 4th quarter.
On the other side of the ball FSU's defense was solid, giving up just seven points and 193 total yards as they stymied the UF offense throughout the game.
FSU still has work to do -- they'll play in the ACC Championship Game next Saturday -- but they're one step closer to the national title game.
Passing: Jameis Winston (19/31, 327, 3TD, INT)
Rushing: James Wilder Jr. (10-63)
Receiving: Kelvin Benjamin (9-212, 3TD)
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