MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – Touchdown, state of Florida! And some history, too.
All seven of the Sunshine State's Football Bowl Subdivision teams played Saturday — and all of them won, with a couple of teams getting into the victory column for the first time.
No. 8 Florida State got the big day started with a 63-0 romp over No. 25 Maryland. The rest of the state followed in winning fashion, and maybe fittingly, No. 18 Florida capped the state's perfect day with a 30-10 win over Arkansas.
It's the first time the seven FBS teams from Florida went 7-0 on a given day.
"I think that the state of Florida has some of the best high school players in the country, especially South Florida," Miami quarterback Stephen Morris told The Associated Press on Saturday night, after the last of the seven games went final. "And it's attracting great coaches to come coach."
Combined score from Saturday: Florida teams 249, Opponents 123.
There were some comeback efforts. Florida Atlantic (which beat UAB 37-23), No. 14 Miami (45-30 winners over Georgia Tech) and Central Florida (a 24-17 victor over Memphis) all trailed in their respective games. So, too, did the Gators, who gave up the first touchdown of the night to the Razorbacks before scoring 30 of that game's final 33 points.
The other two were huge surprises: FIU stunned Southern Mississippi 24-23, while South Florida knocked off Cincinnati 26-20. Coming into Saturday, FIU and USF were a combined 0-8, having been outscored 338-81 in those games.
Finally, though, they had something to celebrate — like everyone else in the state. Bulls coach Willie Taggart was so relieved when his team held on after wasting most of a 20-point lead, he slapped high-fives with fans.
FIU's win came in dramatic style, with senior defensive tackle Isame Faciane blocking a field goal attempt as time expired — and sending Southern Miss to its 17th straight loss, even though the Golden Eagles came into the game as 17-point favorites.
"It was a huge relief," FIU coach Ron Turner said of getting win No. 1 of his tenure with the Panthers. "We needed it. Our guys have been working hard."
It's obviously a rarity for a state to get seven wins in the same day. Besides Florida, only California (seven), Ohio (eight) and Texas (12) have the required amount of FBS teams to achieve such a feat.