Standout individual performances are quite often the deciding factors in rivalry games. Teams that are so familiar with one another and have such contempt for the opposite side tend to require superhuman efforts to determine the outcome of a given contest. Although the Florida State Seminoles didn’t necessarily need such a breakout game given their dominating 37-7 win over the rival Florida Gators, wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin provided one anyway.
Now it’s hard to say that FSU would have stomped Florida so violently had it not been for Benjamin, but it’s also tough to consider that the Noles would have been so successful without the effort they received from their sophomore wideout. The 6-foot-5 234-pound specimen really had a coming out party on Saturday afternoon with nine catches for a ridiculous 212 yards and three trips to the end zone. His scoring plays came from a variety of angles with two sizable bombs and one goal line special which only further highlighted his exceptional versatility.
Obviously we can’t ignore the story of Jameis Winston potentially putting the Heisman on layaway (Christmas references are okay now, it’s after Thanksgiving). Even amidst all the controversy over the ongoing sexual assault investigation he persevered and kept his squad undefeated on the year. All that stands between Florida State and a BCS title game is the Duke Blue Devils now in the ACC Championship Game next weekend.
It’s hard to count on an encore performance from Benjamin at wideout in that contest, but something tells me we haven’t seen the last of this kid on the season. His outstanding size and athleticism are a lot like a guy playing on Sundays these days from his collegiate time with the South Carolina Gamecocks in Alshon Jeffrey. Benjamin creates a mismatch against any defensive back trying to match his physicality, and he clearly has enough speed to hurt teams as well if given the chance.
His ridiculous game may not have been a necessity in Gainesville, but there’s no doubt the Seminoles will be looking to this kid next week and potentially in the BCS Championship Game should they punch their ticket as expected.