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South Florida, Florida State to FCC DIAA Final

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South Florida, Florida State to FCC DIAA Final

South Florida is happy. Kamen Photos.

Florida State and South Florida will meet up in the Florida DIAA college final after both won semifinals this weekend.

Florida State defeated Florida International 37-26, riding a torrid final 30 that blew the game open.

An early Sam Williams try capping off some Florida State pressure put the Seminoles ahead. Midway through the first half FSU was camped out in the FIU end again. They couldn't quite convert but off a penalty FSU ran a tap move and put scrumhalf Benz Celestin in at the corner. FSU 10 FIU 0.

But FIU responded well at the end of the first half, with scrumhalf Segundo Cremaschi scoring three tries in the space of about 10 minutes. Each time FSU had committed a penalty to back them up to their line, and FIU ran a maul or bashed the forwards. Once they got close, Cremaschi picked his spot and snaked over.

With only a Luca Marfella penalty in answer, FSU was now behind 19-13. It remained at that score until the 50th minute. FSU scored on a set lineout move with tighthead prop Ethan Frisch thundering through. Marfella converted and FSU led 20-19.

Frisch then powered through like an inside center to score from 22 meters out. Marfella converted again and it was 27-20. 

Back came FIU, exploiting a penalty to run a maul off a lineout; outside center Nicholas Lane ran to the weak side, got a pass from Cremaschi and crashed over three defenders to score. Lane converted and it was 27-26, FSU holding on.

But that was the last hurrah for FIU. Florida State realized that penalties at midfield were turning into tries against them. FSU added a Marfella penalty a couple of minutes after Lane's try, and with 10 minutes to go Frisch scored his third, this time from short range. Marfella converted and it was 37-26.

Florida State's 24 points in the closing 30 minutes told the tale.

South Florida put Florida to the sword 65-20.

"USF did a great job preparing for this game," said Florida Head Coach Ken Simmons. "They equalized our scrums and disrupted our lineouts after an early injury to our primary jumper, Santi Arias. We have a very young team and we once again lacked the discipline for the full game needed against a team like USF."

Florida actually scored first but the South Florida Bulls answered to take the lead. It remained close at halftime but penalties, mistakes, and USF's intensity spelled the end of the season for the Gators.

"The bottom line is we were outmatched in effort and organization," said Simmons. "Although this was a disappointing outcome, I am very proud of our team's performance this season.  The team's goal was to be a contender this season after a last place finish and we were close to exceeding that."

"Here in Florida, you never count out the clouds brewing on the horizon that bring the storm, no matter what the weathermen forecast," said USF Head Coach and University of Florida alum Austin Dacanay. "The Bulls Way follows the adage we follow here in Tampa: 'You mess with the Bulls, you get the horns.' All credit to Ken and his boys at the University of Florida, who had a great season, including traveling down to Tampa and handing us a necessary flogging in our backyard."

USF's explosive approach, with all players having all skills and attacking fomr all parts of the field, has them in the final