“One of the biggest games of my career, especially this season,” defensive tackle Terron Sanders said. “Don’t want to be the team to lose to this team under Coach Meyer, that’s for sure. Don’t want to be the first one, so it has a lot of meaning to me. We want to go out strong, win this game and get a better bowl game. We all know it’s important. He doesn’t really have to say much.”
A win also would do wonders for Florida’s confidence after an up-and-down season in which players struggled, coaches were criticized and fans have become increasingly frustrated with every failed dive play. So the Gators have a chance to silence some critics, and maybe more important to Meyer, make headway on the recruiting trail.
“There are a lot of guys on the fence right now,” Meyer said.
Recruiting means little to the guys on the field, though.
“I think if you were to ask 99 percent of the team, it’s about pride,” Sanders said. “Yeah, we want to get to a better bowl game. But for the most part, it’s about pride. Nobody wants to lose, especially last game of the season and with it being a big-time rival like this.”
The streak makes the game even more enticing.
“They’ve won a bunch of games in a row and we have to get back in this rivalry and make it very competitive,” Fisher said. “Florida has always been a significant player in the national title hunt and for championships, just like Florida State was for many years. When you’re learning to compete with those folks, it means you’re taking steps in the right direction to get back to where you want to go.”