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    Fsu vs. Clemson: Preview

    Clemson vs. Florida State:

    Florida State (4-3, 2-3 ACC) vs. #2 Clemson (7-0,4-0)

    Where: Doack Campbell Stadium. Tallahassee, Florida

    TV: ABC; Bob Wischusen (play-by-play), Brock Huard (analyst) and Allison Williams (sideline)

    Time: noon ET

    Burning questions ...

    Can Florida State continue its upward trend?

    The Seminoles looked like one of the worst Power 5 teams in the country early in the season as they were blown out by Virginia Tech and Syracuse and had to rally to defeat an FCS program in Samford. But since then Florida State is 3-1 with its only loss being by one point at Miami. As Clemson players and coaches pointed out this week, Florida State is the only team in the ACC that can acquire talent at the level of Clemson. The Seminoles have finished higher than Clemson in the recruiting rankings nine of the past 10 years. If FSU can continue to make progress under first-year coach Willie Taggart this could be a competitive game in the second half.

    Can Clemson block Brian Burns?

    The Florida State defensive end is second in the nation in sacks with nine, and Clemson co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott called Burns the most explosive defensive end the Tigers have faced since Jadeveon Clowney was at South Carolina. Clemsonís offensive line has performed well this season, allowing only 12 sacks in seven games, but this will be the most athletic front Clemson has faced. Travis Etienne has been great with the ball in his hands but remains a work in progress in pass protection. Etienne and the rest of Clemsonís running backs will have to step up against Burns, Marvin Wilson and the FSU defensive line.

    How will FSU defend Clemsonís offense?

    The Tigers are averaging more than 250 passing yards and 250 rushing yards per game and are giving defenses fits. In the past two games Clemsonís versatility on offense has been on full display. The Tigers rushed for 471 yards in a 63-3 win at Wake Forest and passed for 380 yards in a 41-7 win against N.C. State. Florida State will likely try to mix up coverages and pressures and confuse freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence, but the Georgia native has been running the offense in impressive fashion since taking over as the starter in Week 5.

    Can Florida Stateís offensive line hold up?

    FSU is one of the worst teams in the nation in sacks allowed, having given up 18 through seven games, which ranks No. 91. Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables, as well as defensive lineman Christian Wilkins, said Florida Stateís offensive line has looked better on tape the past few weeks. But this will be the biggest test of the year for the Seminoles. Wilkins, Clelin Ferrell and the rest of Clemsonís defense are No. 18 nationally with 21 sacks, despite playing three option teams in the first seven games. The Seminoles will have to find a way to slow Clemsonís pass rush to have any chance of pulling off the upset.

    Will Florida State fans show up?

    Tigers senior receiver Hunter Renfrow called Doak Campbell Stadium one of the loudest he has played in earlier this week, but it wonít be very loud if not many fans show up on Saturday. Doak Campbell Stadium holds nearly 80,000 fans, but FSU is averaging about 70,000 through its first four home games. The announced attendance for last weekís game against Wake Forest was 67,274. This will be Lawrenceís first big time test as a starting quarterback on the road if FSU fans do indeed show up and create a real home field environment.

    Quarterback play

    Last year, Florida State started a true freshman quarterback in James Blackman against Clemson, and he received a baptism by fire when it came to the rivalry. This year, FSU will try to return the favor against Clemsonís Trevor Lawrence. One of the nationís top prospects out of high school, Lawrence was ultimately given the reins over Kelly Bryant less than a month into the season and never looked back. Lawrence has been every bit as good as advertised with 1,176 yards passing and 11 touchdowns compared to just two interceptions. Lawrence has also completed 68 percent of his passes. Saturday, however, will be arguably the most hostile environment that Lawrence has faced, at least since becoming the full-time starter. Led by ACC sacks leader Brian Burns, the Seminoles have a very good pass rush that will try to force the youngster into mistakes.

    Fresh off a season-ending knee injury, Deondre Francois has been asked to carry the FSU offense and has done so admirably considering the woes of the offensive line and running game. For Francois, itís been boom or bust for most of the season, and for the Seminoles to have a chance on Saturday, they need the former. Francois will have to be accurate, aware and take shots against Clemson for FSU to make it a four-quarter football game. Francois currently leads the ACC in passing yards, but against good defenses like Virginia Tech and Miami, the redshirt junior struggled mightily and was turnover prone. Against the Tigers two years ago, Francois passed for 286 yards and a touchdown with one interception in a losing effort.


    Saturdayís contest in Tallahassee will feature no shortage of offensive playmakers. For Clemson, running back Travis Etienne may be the most exhilarating. The sophomore running back has 800 yards rushing and 14 touchdowns on a ridiculous 8.2 yards per carry average. Etienne rushed for 97 yards and two touchdowns in last seasonís victory. Out wide, Tee Higgins and Justyn Ross are a dynamic duo who can really stretch the field. FSU has good cornerbacks in Levonta Taylor and Kyle Meyers, but the safeties have struggled in coverage. The Seminoles must find a way to contain Clemsonís many big play threats on Saturday.

    For FSU, running back Cam Akers is quite a talent, but the struggles up front have kept Akers from getting much going this season. He is coming off his best game of the year, going for 98 yards rushing and two touchdowns against Wake Forest. The Seminoles will need to find creative ways to get him the ball on Saturday. At receiver, FSU has a number of promising young players. Sophomore Tamorrion Terry has been uncoverable this season and leads FSU with 22 yards per catch and five touchdown receptions. Nyqwan Murray, a senior, has been a steady target, while DJ Matthews is also good in the open field. Big plays will likely present the best chance for FSU to score on offense.
    Last edited by Ratpenat; 27-10-2018 at 00:08.

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    Fsu vs. Clemson: Recap

    FSU football mauled 59-10 by Clemson in embarrassing historic loss

    The Florida State football team started off the contest in familiar territory... with horrible field position. After a special teams penalty, the Seminolesí first possession began at their own 7-yard line where they were forced to a quick three-and-out. Florida Stateís opening drive appeared to foreshadow an embarrassing escapade of events that would eventually transpire over the next couple of hours. After a 43-yard punt from Logan Tyler, the Tigers took over from the 50-yard line, but the FSU defense started off blazing and forced the Tigers to punt the ball away.

    Luckily, the Tigers punt rolled into the end zone for touchback placing the íNoles on the 20-yard line. As the Florida State offense approached Clemson territory, a high snap to from Alec Eberle combined with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty committed by RB Cam Akers, forced the Seminoles to face a daunting 2nd-and-43 from the FSU10. The Seminoles were unable to gain much yardage and punted the ball away.

    The Seminoles defense continued to burn brighter and the Clemson offense was held to a second three-and-out. The roaring crowd in Doak Campbell stadium appeared to shake the Tigers and subsequently the punter shanked his 14- yard punt, placing the íNoles in Tiger territory on the 49-yard line.

    Things looked surprisingly good for the Seminoles as they were able to prevent the Tigers from putting up any points on the board, but as the second quarter started everything changed.

    The Seminoles defense appeared to make another huge stop when they held Clemson to a 40-yard field goal attempt that went wide-right, but FSU DB Asante Samuel Jr negated the play after roughing the kicker giving the Tigers a new set of downs. Two plays later, Clemson made the Seminoles pay for their mistake and CU WR Tee Higgins scored a 7-yard touchdown giving the Tigers the lead, 7-0.

    After the penalty on the field goal attempt, the momentum of the game appeared to shift in the Tigers favor and Clemson finally started to look like a team deserving of their number two ranking.

    Despite Logan Tyler kicking a spectacular 49-yard punt to the CU14, the special teams woes continued and a 29-yard punt return from the Tigersí Amari Rodgers put them on the 43-yard line.

    Clemsonís offense had finally arrived and they started to expose a tired Seminolesí defense. Their next drive was a 9-play, 58-yard drive that ended with another touchdown pass to Higgins, putting the Tigers up, 14-0.

    The Florida State offense finally put together four successful plays...more than they had all game, but the Tigers called a timeout and iced away any momentum the Seminoles thought they might have had. Clemson received a costly penalty that gave the Seminoles a new set of downs, but Francois threw an interception and the Tigers took over from the FSU30.

    On the Tigers next drive, Florida State DB Hamsah Nasrildeen was ejected for targeting as he clobbered Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawerence. The penalties continued to shower down as CB A.J Lytton was called for a blatantly obvious pass interference placing the Tigers on the FSU12. The drive ended with a 2-yard touchdown run by DT Christian Wilkins, putting Clemson ahead, 21-0.

    Florida Stateís anemic offense looked absolutely lifeless and they were forced to another quick three-and-out.

    The Seminolesí defense was gassed by the time the Tigers started their next scoring drive, and both Dontavious Jackson and Stanford Samuels III went down with injuries. Clemson took a commanding lead and scored a whopping 28 unanswered points during the second quarter alone.

    The Florida State special teams continued to be an absolute disaster for the íNoles. After another great punt by Logan Tyler, the FSU special teams missed tackle after tackle and allowed the Tigers to return the ball 34-yards to the FSU34. The Seminole defense was able to stop the Tigers however and Florida State kneeled the first half away.

    The longest Florida State drive of the first half was only 9-plays for 35 yards. The Seminoles closed the first half with -4 rushing yards on 16 carries. Penalties continued to hurt Florida State and the team only had one more total yards than penalty yards.

    The Tigers opened the second-half with a 28-yard punt return allowing Clemson to score just two plays later after Lawerence found Rodgers on a 58-yard touchdown pass and put the Tigers up, 35-0.

    The special teams continued to destroy any hope for the Seminoles and punt returner D.J. Matthews fumbled, putting the ball in the hands of the Tigers defender on the FSU10. The defense was able to hold Clemson to a field goal and they now lead Florida State, 38-0.

    On the Tigers next possession, Lawerence connected with Rodgers for another 68-yard touchdown and after a successful extra point, the Tigers led, 45-0.

    The Florida State offense finally made it into the red zone for the first time of the game, but was unable to score a touchdown. Facing 3rd and goal, WR Nyqwan Murray threw a punch and was disqualified. After a 15-yard penalty was accessed, Ricky Aguayoís 35-yd field goal was good and Florida State avoided a shut out at home, 45-3.

    The Tigers removed Lawerence and put backup QB Chase Brice into the game. He put together a scoring drive that consisted of a 61-yard pass to Diondre Overton. The Tigers increased the score, 52-3.

    As the fourth quarter started, Clemson put another 7 points on the board giving them a 59-3 lead.

    Deondre Francois went down with an apparent injury and was replaced by backup James Blackman.

    The Seminolesí emotions continued to get the best of them and the second player of the game, Zaquandre White was ejected and escorted off the field by police officers after throwing a punch. After the ejection, Blackman found WR Keyshawn Helton for a 73-yard touchdown and decreased the Seminoles impending defeat to 59-10.

    The Florida State offense ended the game with -21 rushing yards on 35 attempts.

    Willie Taggart says to expect change in response to players ďquittingĒ during loss to the Tigers

    Head Coach Willie Taggart opened the post-game press conference after the Seminoles embarrassing loss to the Clemson Tigers with the following statement, (today was the) ďFirst time since Iíve been here that I felt like we had some guys that quit on our football team and that canít be tolerated. One thing you canít do, you canít quit. You quit, you donít play. So weíve got to do a great job of making sure weíve got the right guys and at every aspect of the game, offense, defense, special teams. Didnít play well at all and did all the things you canít do against a team like that. Thatís on me and our coaches and our players and everybody thatís here and weíve got to find a way to get that right.Ē

    Taggart said his message to the team was that the game was ďEmbarrassing.Ē and that he was ďdisappointed.Ē

    On how he would address the players that quit during todayís contest, Taggart said, ďWeíre going to find the guys that quit and weíre going to find the guys that kept playing and make sure that we keep those guys in there. So there will be some changes come next week.Ē

    He further expanded his statement on how to turn the team around and said ďWell, part of it is those guys just canít play. Thatís a big part of it, and then youíve got to find the winners. You know, find the winners on your team and make sure when youíre out recruiting, make sure youíre recruiting winners. Thatís really important. You canít just recruit off the Internet. You have to make sure you do your work and get the right kind of people here.Ē

    Taggart also addressed the players ejected for throwing punches, Zaquandre White and Nyqwan Murray and said ďDiscipline. Weíll discipline. Thatís unacceptable. Thatís mentally weak. Thatís what losers do and that canít happen. Thatís got to change. Again, thatís not acceptable. That canít happen.Ē

    Three takeaways from Florida State's blowout loss to Clemson

    Mistakes started early

    The mistakes started in the opening minutes of the game.

    FSU's second offensive possession saw the Seminoles put together two first downs and approach midfield before a high snap from senior center Alec Eberle led to a 23-yard loss and stalled out the drive.

    Drops (five in the first half) stalled out following FSU drives. Many of these came from FSU's veteran wide receivers such as Nyqwan Murray and Keith Gavin.

    On the defensive end, mistakes similarly ruined a strong start.

    With the game still scoreless early in the second quarter, true freshman defensive back Asante Samuel Jr. roughed Clemson kicker Greg Huegel on a 40-yard field goal that he missed to give the Tigers a fresh set of downs. They converted it into their first of four touchdowns that quarter.

    Those mistakes also transferred into the Seminoles' discipline.

    FSU finished the first half with 65 yards of offense and 64 penalty yards.

    Not much changed in the second half.

    After the defense's second stop in its last seven possessions midway through the third quarter, punt returner D.J. Matthews tried to field a bouncing punt, muffed it and gave the Tigers the ball at the opposing 10-yard line.

    "Against a team like Clemson, you can't make mistakes against that team. You have to take advantage of every opportunity that you have, and we had plenty and we didn't take advantage," Taggart said.

    "Everybody took part in making mistakes and against the No. 2 team in the country, you can't do that."

    A stand held the Tigers to a field goal in the situation. But it was a good representation of the numerous head-scratching plays that re-emerged against Clemson after FSU had improved each of the last four weeks.

    The Seminoles were called for 16 penalties for 134 yards. That's the most since FSU was also called for 16 penalties against North Carolina in 2009.

    "They took advantage of the little things and they capitalized," FSU defensive tackle Marvin Wilson said.

    "Between penalties, guys missing assignments, not breaking out the stack. It made a big difference in the game."

    None of this is to say that a performance with fewer mistakes keeps FSU in it against Clemson. The Tigers are in another stratosphere right now.

    Still, FSU had one of its most undisciplined games of the year against the best team on its schedule and was dealt an embarrassing loss as a result.

    FSU defense never had a chance

    FSU's good defense got a good look at what truly elite looks like on the opposing sideline Saturday.

    For a quarter, the Seminoles went toe-to-toe with the Tigers in a defensive stalemate.

    FSU held Clemson to 82 yards -- 41 of which came on the final play -- and no points in the opening quarter.

    The problem was that the FSU offense had 15 yards over that same span.

    Teamed up with an offense that was hampered by penalties and couldn't sustain any sort of success, the FSU defense wore down as the first half played out.

    The second quarter was quite different as the Tigers had 165 yards of offense and scored four touchdowns.

    "The effort level wasnít there. The energy wasnít there," defensive end Brian Burns said.

    "Ever since that penalty on the blocked field goal, everybody went down after that."

    All of FSU's offensive and special teams issues showed up in the average field position discrepancy between the two teams.

    Clemson's average drive started at its own 44 while FSU's average starting field position was the 23-yard line.

    Much ado was made about how Clemson true freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence would handle the atmosphere inside Doak Campbell Stadium.

    After a slow start, he looked the part of a player who may already be the best quarterback in the ACC

    Lawrence finished with 314 passing yards on 20 of 37 passing and diced FSU's defense for four passing touchdowns.

    He was removed from the game with nearly five minutes left in the third quarter.

    The Tigers finished with 524 yards of offense and averaged 6.9 yards per play, the most FSU has allowed since the North Carolina game in 2016.

    Run game goes nowhere

    FSU finding success on the ground was a must on the Seminoles' blueprint to pulling the upset of Clemson.

    Instead, the Seminoles followed up their first 100-rush-yard ACC game of the season with -21 rushing yards against the Tigers and no rushing touchdowns.

    It's the first time FSU has been held to negative rushing yards since it had -15 against Virginia Tech in 2012.

    "I don't care what team you are or who you're going against, it's hard to play the game being one-dimensional," Taggart said,"

    "When you're playing against a team like Clemson, you can't be one-dimensional. You have to have both going and we weren't able to get either.

    "That's very disappointing from that standpoint and frustrating."

    For comparison, Clemson defensive tackle Christian Wilkins had one carry for one yard and a touchdown, 22 more yards and one more score than FSU had on the ground.

    This number was somewhat skewed by Eberle's bad snap and sacks -- FSU allowed five -- but the run game simply struggled to get going, as it has so many times this season.

    Cam Akers and Jacques Patrick finished with 18 carries for 24 yards (1.3 yards per rush) before FSU brought in Anthony Grant in garbage time.

    Clemson's run defense is among the best in the country so this lack of success isn't a complete surprise, but it's telling of a larger problem and a huge leap back after FSU a step forward last week.

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    Fsu vs. Nc state: Preview

    Florida State vs. NC State: Preview

    Florida State (4-4) at NC State (5-2)

    When: Saturday
    Time: 3:30 p.m.
    Where: Carter-Finley Stadium, Raleigh
    TV: ABC

    A pair of struggling ACC Atlantic teams will try to right their respective ships on Saturday afternoon in Raleigh, North Carolina, as Florida State visits NC State. The Seminoles are coming off their worst home loss in program history after being thrashed by No. 2 Clemson last weekend, 59-10. The Wolfpack appeared at No. 21 in the initial College Football Playoff rankings despite consecutive losses to Clemson and Syracuse.

    After getting its first win in Tallahassee since 2005 last season, NC State will try to beat the Seminoles in Raleigh for the first time since '12. FSU will look to avoid losing consecutive games for the first time this season and will hope to get its first win over a ranked opponent since topping Michigan in the Orange Bowl to conclude the 2016 campaign.

    NC State head coach Dave Doeren got his first win over the Seminoles last season, 27-21, at Doak Campbell Stadium. The Wolfpack had lost the previous four in the series. FSU hasnít lost to NC State in consecutive years since 2005-06. Florida State head coach Willie Taggart will be looking for just his third win over a ranked team as a head coach.

    FSU leads the all-time series 25-12 over N.C. State, but the Wolfpack enters today's game as a nine-point favorite.

    It marks the first time since FSU joined the ACC in 1992 that it is an underdog to N.C. State.

    Why Florida State will win

    The advantage for FSU in this matchup is that its offensive strength looks able to take advantage of the weakness of N.C. State's defense.

    FSU is averaging 7.3 yards per pass attempt this season (69th among FBS teams) while its rushing offense is the worst among Power Five teams entering this weekend, averaging 2.46 yards per carry.

    Luckily for FSU, the Wolfpack has been quite susceptible against the pass this season. N.C. State is allowing 290 pass yards per game this season, second-worst among Power Five teams and 126th out of 130 FBS teams.

    Whichever quarterback gets the start for FSU -- Deondre Francois has been severely limited in practice this week and is listed as day-to-day -- the opportunity for passing should be there.

    Why N.C. State will win

    Although N.C. State's pass defense is quite suspect, FSU's isn't much better this season.

    The Seminoles are allowing 287.9 passing yards per game this season -- 6.9 yards per attempt -- and have given up 12 passing plays of 40-plus yards this season. Only two teams have surrendered more.

    N.C. State quarterback Ryan Finley isn't one who's prime to take advantage of the weakness FSU has defending deep passes, but he's better than anyone on FSU's roster.

    His 2,250 passing yards and completion percentage of 66.8 both lead the ACC coming into this weekend. His go-to receiver Kelvin Harmon leads the ACC with 794 receiving yards in seven games this season.

    Key Matchup

    FSU football secondary vs. NC State quarterback Ryan Finley

    Now, I know there are plenty of people out there laughing since the members of the secondary for the Seminoles havenít been able to stop a cold at times this season, but this is a must have considering the fact that the Wolfpack have a run game ranked 119th in the country this season Ė for context, the horrible one we have in Tallahassee is ranked 128th nationally.

    So, if everything goes according to plans, the 14th ranked FSU football rush defense should do their thing and would need the defensive backs and safeties to do enough to at least contain Finley and keep the Seminolesí offense in the game against a pass defense that ranks 93rd nationally.

    Three Things to Watch

    1. Quarterbacks

    NC State quarterback Ryan Finley has been a solid player for the Wolfpack over the last two years, but he has been bitten by the turnover bug in recent weeks. The redshirt senior has thrown six interceptions this season, but half of those have come in the last two games. Finley passed for 473 yards and three touchdowns his last time out, but an untimely pick with NC State trailing 44-41 with just over two minutes to go allowed Syracuse to put the game away. Finley will be facing a talented FSU secondary but one that has been gashed through the air. Finley passed for 230 yards and a pair of scores last season against the Seminoles.

    Nothing has been etched in stone yet, but there is speculation that sophomore James Blackman could make his first start of the season on Saturday for Florida State. Last season, his first start also came against the Wolfpack. Starter Deondre Francois has been knocked around this season and left Saturdayís loss to Clemson prematurely. Although it was largely against reserves, Blackman was able to have some success moving the FSU offense. In his debut against the Wolfpack last season, Blackman passed for 278 yards ó still a career high ó and a score. NC State ranks last in the ACC against the pass.

    2. The ground game

    Saturdayís contest between the Seminoles and Wolfpack will feature two of the ACCís worst rushing offenses and two of the conferenceís best rushing defenses. FSU ranks dead last in the ACC in rushing offense, averaging fewer than 85 yards per game on the ground. Itís not for a lack of talent, as Cam Akers and Jacques Patrick are both likely future NFL backs, but they have gotten little help from their offensive line. Led by linebacker Germaine Pratt, NC State is allowing the second-fewest rushing yards per game in the ACC behind only Clemson.

    Behind the Tigers and Wolfpack when it comes to rush defense are the Seminoles. FSU ranks in the top 25 nationally in fewest rush yards per game allowed, and thatís largely because of a deep defensive line. Brian Burns, a junior, headlines that unit, but mostly as a pass rusher. Defensive tackles Demarcus Christmas and Marvin Wilson start for a deep group of DTs and are the biggest reason for Florida Stateís success against the run. NC State has struggled to replace Nyheim Hines, who was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts. Reggie Gallaspy gets the lionís share of the carries for the Wolfpack but is averaging fewer than four yards per carry. Either team's ability to generate a running game on Saturday would greatly help out the quarterbacks.

    3. Special teams

    Much like rushing offense, special teams play has not been a strength for either squad. According to the S&P+ rankings, both teams rank in the bottom third of the country in the kicking game. A.J. Cole is a solid punter for the Wolfpack, but thatís where the strengths probably stop for NC State. The Wolfpack have allowed a kickoff return for a touchdown this season, they rank 12th in kickoff return average in the ACC and they have given up three returns of at least 40 yards.

    For FSU, itís more of the same. The Seminoles have been penalty-ridden on special teams this season, while kicker Ricky Aguayo already has more misses than all of last season on eight fewer attempts. FSU has been good in kickoff return coverage but bad in punt return coverage. DJ Matthews is a dangerous return man but muffed a punt last week. In the opener against Virginia Tech, punter Logan Tyler had one blocked for a touchdown. In last seasonís contest in Tallahassee, FSU was able to block an NC State punt.

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    Fsu vs. N.c. State: Recap

    Final: FSU smashed 47-28 by N.C. State

    The talk leading up to this game was whether or not sophomore quarterback James Blackman would get the start in place of the injured Deondre Francois.

    As expected, Blackman got the start for Florida State, but ultimately couldnít lead the íNoles to victory in a hard-fought 47-28 loss to NC State in Raleigh.

    Florida Stateís defense, which gave up 59 points to Clemson last week, got off to another slow start when the Wolfpack jumped out to a 17-0 lead early in the game. NC State benefited from great field position in the first quarter thanks to a Jacques Patrick fumble and poor FSU special teams (per usual).

    It was at this time when sophomore receiver Tamorrion Terry began to emerge.

    Blackman connected with Terry on a 35-yard touchdown pass to cut into NC Stateís lead, but ultimately couldnít keep up with Ryan Finley and a Wolfpack offense that would increase the lead to 27-7.

    With FSUís run game struggling, Blackman put the team on his back on Florida Stateís last drive of the half, culminating with an 8-yard touchdown pass to Cam Akers.

    Despite coming out of halftime with the ball, FSU once again failed to capitalize, and a pair of three-and-outs allowed NC State to further increase the lead to 37-14. NC State scored on nine of its first 10 possessions, something FSU could never keep up with.

    From there, the Wolfpack capitalized on a pair of defensive pass interference calls against Florida State, and Finley threw a pair of short touchdown passes that ultimately put the game out of reach.

    But while Blackman and the FSU offense could not keep up with NC State in the game, the sophomore quarterback looked impressive in his first real action of the 2018 season. He finished 29-46 for 421 yards and 4 touchdowns, with a lone interception coming early in the game. With Francois sitting due to injury, Blackman looked more than capable of leading Florida State for the remainder of the season.

    With senior receiver Nyqwan Murray sitting the first half after punching a Clemson player last week, Terry was Blackmanís favorite target down the field. The sophomore finished with 5 catches, 142 yards and 2 touchdowns. Sophomore slot WR DJ Matthews also had his best offensive game in Garnet and Gold with 10 receptions for 142 yards and a score.

    Florida Stateís defense once again struggled, in part thanks to some bad field position given to them by the Seminolesí offense. NC State racked up 422 yards at 5.55 yards per play in the game, but it was all too easy for Finley to drive the Wolfpack down the field with ease.

    Part of the problem was that Florida State was on the victim of 15 penalties in the game, totaling 116 yards given up. Defensive pass interference seemed to come up more often than not, with Asante Samuel Jr. and Stanford Samuels both flagged on key plays in the game that gave NC State easy scoring opportunities.

    The field position battle also determined a large portion of this game (once again). FSUís average starting field position was its own 23-yard line, while NC State started at its 42-yard line.

    This loss drops Florida State to 4-5 on the season with games against Notre Dame, Boston College, and Florida remaining on the schedule. The likelihood of making a bowl game decreases with this loss, especially when this was seen as a winnable game. If the íNoles truly want to extend their bowl streak and not go with a youth movement to prepare for the future, they need to find some answers and fast.

    Three things we learned from FSU's loss to N.C. State

    1. Blackman shows enough to get another start

    Willie Taggart has a decision to make. Does he go back to Deondre Francois or does he stick with James Blackman?

    Blackman, filling in for Francois (ribs), made some terrific throws and kept some plays alive with his feet en route to passing for 421 yards and 4 touchdowns to 1 interception on 46 attempts. Was he perfect? No. He took five sacks (not all his fault, because avoided some as well) and threw a bad interception in which he didn't see a defensive lineman drop into coverage. But the optics of the offense were better with him at quarterback, as his skill set seems to better mask the deficiencies of a porous offensive line. He's capable of scrambling at a higher level than Francois and seemingly has more room to grow given that he's only a true sophomore.

    This could be viewed as a difficult situation by some, but I think FSU needs to give Blackman adequate reps and see what it has in him the next three games. Going with Blackman makes sense if you're building for the future, but I think you can argue that Blackman is a better fit for this offense right now.

    2. The defense has been exposed

    FSUís defense has been the strength of the Seminoles this season, often carrying a limited offense and a (generally) low-level special teams unit in the first half of the season.

    But the Seminoles have allowed 106 points and 941 yards on 154 plays (6.1 yards per play) combined in losses to N.C. State and Clemson. Good offenses have exposed the defense, and FSU simply cannot overcome its own shortcomings on defense...nonetheless getting placed in bad positions by the other units.

    Now, the defense was put in some terrible spots as N.C. Stateís average starting field position was its own 42. Youíre going to give up points when that happens.

    But the Seminoles didnít come to play, that was evident from the get-go. N.C. State opened up with an 11-play, 75-yard touchdown drive and kept punching FSU in the mouth. The Seminoles struggled to slow bruising runner Reggie Gallaspy (106 yards, a season high) and QB Ryan Finley was sharp, completing 21 of 27 passes for 240 yards and three scores.

    Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of FSUís performance was that it showed little resiliency. The Seminoles couldnít generate any sort of momentum on defense, giving up three fourth-down conversions (on three attempts) while allowing N.C. State to score on all eight of its trips inside the red-zone. N.C. State didnít commit a single turnover, was tackled behind the line of scrimmage just five times and didnít allow a sack.

    And N.C. State responded to FSUís first three touchdowns with scores. The Seminoles simply looked soft far too frequently on defense and couldnít generate any sort of spark.

    FSUís linebackers, outside of Dontavious Jackson, struggled to finish plays. The secondary was exposed -- itís been susceptible to big plays all year, but it looked particularly lost on Saturday -- especially the safeties.

    It will be easy for fans to criticize coordinator Harlon Barnett, and he deserves some blame for two lackluster performances in consecutive weeks, but the Seminoles simply are devoid of talent at linebacker and have not received reliable play in the secondary all year. Iím not sure how much scheming you can do to minimize those weaknesses against competent offenses.

    3. Something has to change on special teams

    This is somewhat redundant, because special teams has been a topic of Three Things We Learned throughout the year.

    Iím not sure if you can make a change in-season, but it doesnít seem like Alonzo Hampton is the answer as a special teams coordinator. There are some things a coordinator cannot control (i.e. kickers kicking, punters punting, etc.), but the actual coordination of special teams has been sloppy for most of the year. And it was particularly brutal against N.C. State.

    The tone was set early when FSU recorded two penalties on a kickoff return in the first quarter, and that came after a return was taken 12 yards to the 15-yard line. That put FSU on its own three yard-line.

    Later, FSU had to burn a timeout because only 10 players were on the field for a punt. FSU also had a penalty for placing 12 men on the field on an extra-point block attempt.

    Special teams is just far too sloppy, and itís a major weakness for FSU. Again, I donít know how the problem is solved in season, but Taggart is likely going to need to make a change with how this unit is coached in the offseason because there just aren't any signs of growth here.

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    Fsu vs. Notre dame: Preview

    Essential Game Info:

    Game Time: November 10th at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBC
    Location: Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend, Indiana
    Matchup: Notre Dame is 2-6 all-time against the Florida State Seminoles; one of the few teams they have a losing record against. (Last Meeting 2014: Florida State won 31 to 27)

    Florida State Storylines:

    Willie Taggart Era off to dreadful start. Coming off a 7-5 season the expectations were extremely high for Willie Taggart and the Florida State Seminoles heading into 2018. However, Florida State got off to an abysmal start and has never recovered. Just a few weeks ago, the Seminoles lost by 49 points to the Clemson Tigers. Perhaps Jimbo Fisher foresaw this collapse and got out just in time, only time will tell.

    Nevertheless, it will be interesting to see what Florida State team shows up to South Bend. A team that is inspired to give Notre Dame their first loss and get a win closer to a bowl game (similar to how Pittsburgh played against the Irish) or a team that is ready to get the season over with and wants no part of playing in freezing temperatures.

    First trip to South Bend since 2003. Florida State has owned the Fighting Irish in head to head matchups. It will be the first meeting in South Bend for these programs in quite some time. This is not a traditional rivalry, but these programs have had numerous classics over the past few decades.

    Quarterback Battle. Deondre Francois was the starting quarterback the entire season until last weekend against N.C. State. Francois is 177 for 281 on the season (60.9%) with 13 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. He has 55 attempts on the ground for -41 yards, which tells the story of the Florida State Offensive line.

    James Blackman, who took over for Francois last season and against N.C. State just a week ago has similar statistics. He is 33 for 51 on the season (64.7%), with 5 touchdowns and 1 interception. On the ground Blackman has 11 attempts for -26 yards. Head Coach Willie Taggart has yet to name a starting quarterback heading into this weekend.

    Notre Dame Storylines:

    Costly Errors. The Irish had a total of 8 penalties last weekend against the Wildcats. Northwestern did not have a single penalty which was ludicrous, but that is a discussion for another time. Those penalties kept Northwestern in the game when Notre Dame shouldíve put them away. With only 3 games left on the schedule, mistakes could cost the Irish a playoff berth. Such mistakes could not be overcome against teams such as Alabama or Clemson.

    Special Teams continues to make mistakes throughout the season. Like Iíve said before, the Special Teams unit does not need to play perfect, they just need to not make big mistakes. The Fighting Irish almost lost to Michigan, Pittsburgh, and Northwestern because of unforced mistakes on Special Teams.

    Running Attack needs a bounce back game. Notre Dame only had 121 rushing yards against Northwestern last weekend. Dexter Williams was limited to only 2.9 yards per carry. Luckily, the Irish were able to pass for 343 yards and Book was able to scramble for 56 yards on the ground. Yes, Northwestern has a good defense and forced Notre Dame to pass the ball, but I expect the Irish to bounce back this weekend.

    Florida Stateís Defense is limiting teams to only 2.9 yards per game on the ground. Even though the Seminoles are dominate against the run, I still believe the Irish will have success and put an emphasis on the ground game this weekend.

    Revenge Game. Almost all the players on this Fighting Irish roster were not around for the 2014 Notre Dame Florida State matchup. But expect the coaching staff to convey just how big this matchup will be. The Seminoles have even owned this series in recent history. As Florida State comes limping into this game, itís the perfect time for Brian Kelly to step on the gas pedal.

    Head to Head Matchups:

    Notre Dame Offense vs. Florida State Defense: Notre Dameís rushing attack struggled last weekend. This needs to be the game where the offensive line gets their rhythm back. Florida State gave up 417 total yards against N.C. State last weekend, and 47 points. The previous week, the Seminoles gave up 59 points to Clemson at home.

    Notre Dameís Offense has another major advantage in this category with Ian Book, Dexter Williams, Chase Claypool, and Miles Boykin; to name a few.

    Florida State Offense vs. Notre Dame Defense: The Seminoles are only averaging 2.4 yards per carry heading into this matchup. Florida Stateís Offensive line has not only struggled in the running game, they have also been atrocious in pass protection. Last weekend against N.C. State, they gave up 5 sacks.

    Notre Dameís Defense has the clear advantage in this matchup. Florida State hasnít had a good offensive line in quite some time. The Fighting Irish Defense is stacked from top to bottom, expect a long night for Florida State.

    Special Teams: Notre Dame continues to struggle on Special teams. Last weekend Notre Dame missed a field goal, had a punt blocked, and sent a kickoff out of bounds. Those mistakes may come back to haunt them against their upcoming opponents. The Irish have also given up 2 touchdowns on the kickoff this season.

    Ricky Aguayo, brother of Roberto, is the kicker for Florida State this year. He is only 8 for 13 through 9 games. While Justin Yoon is 10 for 14 on the season. Nevertheless, I give Florida State the advantage because of Notre Dameís poor Special Teams play all season long.
    Last edited by Ratpenat; 08-11-2018 at 18:05.

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    The Noles may have a chance. I believe Ian Book is not scheduled to play.

    We are Penn State Go Lions.

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    Fsu vs. Notre dame: Recap

    SOUTH BEND, Ind. ó On Saturday night, Notre Dame got its 10th win of 2018 in what looked in August like it might be a big gameóand was anything but. Against a struggling Florida State squad, the Irish were in control all night, keeping their playoff hopes alive in a 42Ė13 victory. It was Brian Kellyís teamís final home game of the season before a brutal travel schedule in Weeks 12 and 13, which will take Notre Dame to Yankee Stadium and then USC, with a trip to college footballís final four on the line. What did Saturday teach us about the Irish? Not much; they won about as handily as expected against a mediocre team. In fact, the game may have been more of a bellwether for the Seminoles, which seem to be losing fight as the season ticks down to its final weeks.

    1. Florida State looks like itís in real danger of snapping its streak of bowl-eligible seasons, with two games to go. This one is a doozy; the Seminoles havenít sat out December football since 1981. Right now, they have four wins and two ranked teams remaining on their schedule: No. 17 Boston College next week and No. 15 Florida in Week 13. Itís going to take a minor miracle for Willie Taggart and company to pull off a fifth win, much less a sixth, and it turns out last season was less an aberration and more an indicator that things in Tallahassee had soured, big time. (In 2017, the Seminoles needed a rescheduled game against ULM, which had been canceled due to a hurricane and was eventually held on Dec. 2, to earn their sixth win.)

    Both of Florida Stateís remaining games are at home, which works in the Seminolesí favor; three of their four wins have come in Tallahassee. Still, Taggartís team has struggled to put together any kind of consistent offensive attack all season. And if last week was the last we see of James Blackman at quarterback this yearóanother appearance would be his fifth game and burn the redshirt it looks like the team hopes to preserveóthat doesnít seem like itís about to change anytime soon. Itís officially rebuilding time for the Seminoles, and in an ACC Atlantic division that got significantly more top-heavy this year, thatís going to be a multi-season task.

    2. Dexter Williams may be the key to Notre Dameís offense. Much has been made of the teamís performance before and after its switch from Brandon Wimbush to Ian Book at quarterback. But for the entirety of the time Wimbush started before getting the nod Saturday in light of Bookís injury, Williams was suspended. Against the Seminoles, he finished with a season-high 202 yards, averaging 10.1 per carry, and two touchdowns. His 58-yard touchdown run in the second quarter broke the game open, pushing the Irish lead to 25Ė6.

    Since returning from his suspension, Williams has had four games with more than 100 yards and two where heís been barely a factor: last week at Northwestern, and on Oct. 13 against Pitt. Both games were closer than they should have been, and the Irish nearly blew the game against the Panthers. Their offense is best with Book under center, it seems, but to truly succeed, they need the Williams who showed up against Florida State.

    3. Notre Dame had several sloppy mistakes against a lesser opponentówhich wonít fly come December, should it make the College Football Playoff. The Irish are going to have to contend with concerns about their strength of schedule, especially after several opponents on their 2018 docket shaped up to be worse than expected (see: Virginia Tech, Florida State, USC). Still, what theyíve done has been enough to impress the CFP committee, and the biggest argument against their No. 3 ranking on Saturday came in the seemingly thoughtless mistakes: the two interceptions, the poorly timed penalties. In the end, only one of the Irish interceptions turned into a Florida State touchdown, and in that, Notre Dame was lucky. It also got a healthy margin of victory in some part thanks to Florida State repeatedly refusing to settle for (meaningless) field goals and then turning the ball over on downs. Against the cream of the college football crop, it wonít be so easy to keep a healthy cushion or rebound from turnovers.

    FSU Football: 3 observations from Noles blowout loss to Notre Dame

    FSU Defense Was Awful

    What has happened to FSUís defense? In particular the run defense because the pass defense has been suspect all year.

    Notre Dame had nearly 150 rushing yards at HALF TIME. The Noles had one of the top ranked rushing defenses in the nation going into the Clemson game.

    However, NC State gashed them last week and the same thing happened against Notre Dame.

    Now, it should be noted Notre Dame had a mobile quarterback. However, Harlon Barnett didnít help things blitzing off the edge on third and 10 with the quarterback rushing right up the middle to pick up the first down.

    Notre Dame averaged 6.8 yards per play in the first half and couldnít stop the run or the pass as Notre Dame repeatedly picked on AJ Westbrook in coverage.

    I once thought the FSU defense would be the reason the Noles could become bowl eligible, but I wouldnít bet on them stopping anyone with a semblance of an offense nowadays.

    Thereís no pass rush, the defensive back never turn around to find the ball and they canít stop the run anymore.

    AJ Westbrook Is Awful And Shouldnít Be Playing

    The only reason AJ Westbrook is playing is because the FSU linebackers are terrible and Jaiden Woodbey has to play there instead of safety.

    Teams have repeatedly picked on AJ Westbrook in coverage and itís so bad fans are calling him the new Korey Mangum.

    If you are a new fan, Mangum was a safety on the 2009 team that was God awful in coverage and always got burned.

    The thing with Westbrook is heís not necessarily getting burned, but he just canít make the plays to break up passes or heís just outmatched against any receiver that goes up against him.

    Iím sure Harlon Barnett could put anyone else in there and they couldnít do any worse which baffles me as to why Westbrook is still in games as much as he is.

    Itís a shame Isaiah Bolden got injured early in the year as he would have been a prime candidate to get playing time at safety.

    Deondre Francois Shouldnít Have Started The Game

    When the reports Deondre Francois was going to start the game began to circulate the fans online were not too happy.

    Most fans and media online felt James Blackman deserved to start after his ACC Player of the Week performance against NC State last week.

    Francoisís interception on FSUís first drive of the game certainly didnít help his cause. He completed less than 50 percent of his passes in the first half which is par for the course with him against good defenses.

    His receivers did drop a number of passes, but they also caught a number of passes that were well off target.

    I wonder if Francois starting the game just made this team come out flatter than usual, not to mention his early turnover.

    Iím not saying the Noles would have won the game by any means because the defense couldnít do much against Notre Dameís offense.

    However, those would have been some valuable reps for James Blackman to prepare for the two remaining games that FSU had more of a chance of winning.

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    Fsu vs. Boston college: Preview

    Florida State vs. No. 22 Boston College

    When: Saturday, 3:30 p.m.

    Where: Doak Campbell Stadium

    TV/Radio: ESPN2/103.1 FM

    On Saturday at 3:30 on ESPN2 the Seminoles will take on the Boston College Eagles.

    The 7-3 Eagles come in ranked no. 20 in the college football playoff poll. Their seven wins were against Massachusetts, Holy Cross, Wake Forest, Temple, Louisville, Miami and Virginia Tech. Their three losses have come against Purdue, NC State and Clemson.

    The last time the Seminoles played BC in Campbell Stadium was on Veterans and two years ago. The Eagles could not do anything through the air which helped Florida State stifle their offense and when 45-7.

    Last year on a Friday night FSU went to Chestnut Hill and got crushed 35-3.

    Observations from the Notre Dame game

    The amount of penalties got better, but the turnovers, missed assignments and dropped passes were too much to overcome. While I thought James Blackman should have started Francois actually played pretty well sans a couple bad throws and decisions. With Walt Bell calling the plays the offense has found a little momentum and a run game. This of course happened right as the defense has hit a wall.

    Florida State offense versus Boston College defense

    Every starter on the Boston College defense has been in the program for 3+ years. This experience helps make up for the lack of speed. Pass rushers Zach Allen and Wyatt Ray make the most headlines on this side of the ball. After a big season by Zach Allen last year, opposing teams have been trying to slow him down with double teams and chipping on him. Because of this, Wyatt Ray sometimes goes up against a single blocker allowing him to gather up nine sacks, which is tied with Brian Burns and Syracuseís Alton Robinson for the ACC lead. Zach Allen has still been able to record six sacks but is on his own creating a very formidable pass rush for the Eagles. Both are big defensive ends which allows them helps them be able to get in on the rushing attack. This constant pressure has forced opposing quarterbacks to throw 15 interceptions (4th in the FBS). Taj-Amir Torres has two interceptions and Hamp Cheevers, who leads the FBS, has six.

    Boston College has made a lot of game changing plays with all of the sacks and interceptions but they are still susceptible to giving up yards and points. So a big thing to watch on this side of the ball will be if the Seminoles can hang on to the football. This will be tough as Boston College ranks 7th in the FBS in turnover margin at +1.0 per game. Florida State ranks 3rd to last in the FBS in turnover margin at -1.3 per game.

    Due to BCís lack of size at the corner position, I expect Walt Bell and Francois to target big receivers like Tamarrion Terry and Keith Gavin in this game. Look for FSU to use jet sweeps to Noonie Murray and DJ Matthews to try to beat BC linebackers to the edge as well.

    Florida State defense versus Boston College offense

    Probably the most important stat about the Eagles offense is that they have 215 more rushing attempts than passing attempts. With that being said, the biggest question going into this game is the health of quarterback Anthony Brown, who was injured in the first quarter of the Clemson game last weekend. Even though Brown does not throw the ball very much he still has 16 TDs. The most reliable receiver is tight end Tommy Sweeney. He leads the team with 26 receptions. Wide receivers Kobay White and Jeff Smith are the deep targets for the Eagleís offense with both averaging over 14 yards a catch.

    Last but not least, is sophomore sensation AJ Dillon. Since he was inserted into the lineup midway through his freshman season he has led the FBS in rushing yards per game with 146. Last year he went just over that average against the Seminoles rushing for 149 yards. Running behind a mammoth and very experienced offensive line has definitely attributed to Dillonís success, as 4 of the 5 linemen are seniors. To help counter this run heavy offense Florida State has moved Dontavious Jackson to outside linebacker and has moved Leonard Warner to the starting middle linebacker position. This lineup seemed to have helped a little bit in the second half of the Notre Dame game. I also expect run stuffing freshman Robert Cooper to get more snaps at defensive tackle.

    The Seminole secondary received good news as starting corner Lavonta Taylor could be available for the first time since the first quarter of the Clemson game. If Taylor is able to take on a BC receiver by himself that will free up a safety to help stop the rushing attack.

    Special teams

    Colton Lichtenberg is 5/6 on the season and his career long is 40 yards. It is safe to say that Lichtenberg is very shaky and even though Ricky Agauyo has struggled this season he is the better kicker in this matchup.

    The Eagles freshman punter Grady Carlson has shown improvement over the season but is still not on Logan Tylerís level. FSU has the advantage at both kicking positions. The punt returner for both schools, Michael Walker for BC and DJ Matthews, are in the top 12 in the FBS in return yards per attempt.
    Last edited by Ratpenat; 16-11-2018 at 23:36.

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    Fsu vs. Boston college: Recap

    What a gutsy, physical win for Florida State

    This Florida State football team doesnít seem to do anything the easy wayó but some times that can just make things more exciting. Case in point: Saturday nightís 22-21 win over the No. 20 Boston College Eagles, in which neither team ever lead by more than a score and every last minute of the game was needed for the Seminoles to claim victory.

    The first half saw the Seminole offense refuse success time and again, while the FSU defense provided numerous opportunities in a terrific bounce-back performance. The íNoles seemed to be off to a promising start, taking the opening kickoff deep into Boston College territory on a drive ignited by a 25-yard Deondre Francois strike to Keyshawn Helton. That drive made it all the way down to the BC 21 before Florida State started going backward and ultimately missed the chance to get on the board first when the line simply caved in and allowed a 45-yard Ricky Aguayo field goal attempt to be blocked. Still, Heltonís contribution on the gameís first play served as apt foreshadowing, at least through halftime: he finished the half with six catches on six targets for 73 yards. Itís rather confounding that he was not targeted for the rest of the game.

    The defense played hard and disciplined, especially early, and a nod has to go to Dontavious Jackson, as D-Jax had the D jacked, finishing with a game-high 14 tackles. Hamsah Nasirildeen ended the second BC drive with a nice sideline interception, but Francois gave it right back with a terribly thrown interception on a post route that was open, sending the defense back out on basically no rest. A pair of designed runs for Francois were interesting wrinkles in the first quarter, but he got off to a rotten start through the air: 4-12 for 38 yards and a pick.

    Still, the defense continued to keep Boston College off the scoreboard until Aguayo gave the Seminoles a 3-0 on a 35-yard second-quarter field goal. The Eagles then gave FSU another shot to establish itself by tossing another bad interception, this one to Stanford Samuels III. But Francois again reciprocated, throwing his second pick to give the ball back and kill a drive that had reached field-goal range.

    After BC put together a scoring drive shortly before halftime, finding tight ends repeatedly to move down the field quickly, FSU added another field goal, from 25 yards out, to make the halftime deficit 7-6, Eagles. Florida State was the better side through 30 minutes, but settling for attempts at 3 just often doesnít work when the other team can find pay dirt.

    And while FSU didnít have any tackles for loss in the first half, it did a great job of holding BC to just 150 yards, only 67 of which came on the gourd, and the majority of the passing yards occurring on Boston Collegeís lone TD drive. Limiting the Eagles on first down allowed FSU to get them in obvious passing downs, and the Seminoles surrendered just 2-8 third-down conversions up until intermission.

    The Florida State defense stifled the vaunted BC rushing attack throughout this one, allowing a sack-adjusted average of just 2.9 yards per carry. Thus, Boston College turned to the air in the second half, and while QB Anthony Brown is more a liability than an asset, he hit some big throws when he needed them, several on third down situations, when the Eagles improved and converted on 5-11 chances.

    FSU, which has been one of the worst rushing teams in the FBS, actually outgained BC on the ground, 156-125, and Cam Akers led the way with 110 yards on 14 carries (7.9 YPC) and a touchdown. His TD opened up the second half scoring and gave FSU a 13-7 advantage, but momentum swung firmly back to BC when it found the end zone on back-to-back possessions to end the third quarter and begin the fourth.

    Down 21-13 and reeling, it looked like a slow death for the Seminoles and their bowl streak. But Akersí longest run of the day returned some energy to the FSU sideline when he galloped 55 yards while breaking tackles. Still, it felt like a win for BC when they held Florida State to a field goal and maintained a 21-16 edge.

    After exchanging punts, the íNoles found themselves with the ball at their own 13 and 2:45 remaining on the clock. One drive for nearly four decades of bowl games. The offense needed to execute. It needed to block. And it needed some late heroics from Francois. And because it got all three, it didnít have to play for very long. On the driveís third play, Francois threw a perfect deep strike to Tamorrion Terry, who got separation from his defender and then just ran away for a 74-yard touchdown. FSU went for two and didnít convert, but it didnít matter when the defense turned BC over on downs on four plays and the Seminoles celebrated a 22-21 win.

    So now itís just down to this: next Saturday. High noon. Against the Florida Gators. Win and itís bowling season for FSU.

    Observations from FSU vs Boston College:

    Deondre Francois Actually Ran The Ball

    Let me be the first to say I have to give Deondre Francois credit on the game winning touchdown throw to Tamorrion Terry.

    It was a perfect throw in a pressure situation, but Francois was legitimately awful for about 80 percent of the game.

    Aside from that throw one of the most promising things I took away was Walt Bellís emphasis on using him in the running game.

    There were several designed runs for Francois that did a good job of keeping the Boston College defense off-balance since they surely were not expecting that from him.

    He had 10 runs in the game for 26 yards(which includes sack yardage) and had good run up the middle that was called back due to a holding penalty.

    Weíve been critical of Francoisís refusal to run the ball all season. It felt like he was so terrible passing the ball most of the game Walt Bell made a decision to use his legs with those designed plays.

    If heís going to continue to be inaccurate they might as well use more designed runs to be efficient as possible next week against Florida.

    FSU Run Defense Showed Up

    FSU football had gotten gouged on the ground the last two weeks, giving up 177 and 365 yards respectively.

    The supposed strength of the defense appeared to be a liability as the Noles couldnít stop the run.

    We pointed out the biggest key to the game was stopping Boston Collegeís run game as they run the ball 65 percent of the time this season.

    Iím proud to say the FSU defense showed a lot of pride in going up against veteran offensive line and one of the best running backs in the ACC in AJ Dillon.

    Dillon did have 116 rushing yards but only averaged 3.1 yards per rush and Boston College only averaged 2.6 yards per carry for the game.

    Thatís a solid effort and a good sign the Noles have found some answers to fill the voids that caused opponents to run rampant against them the past two weeks.

    Their longest run of the game was 16 yards by Dillon who carried the ball 37 times in the game. FSU did a great job of gang tackling the massive running back and usually kept Boston College behind the chains on first down runs.

    Turnovers/Penalties Still Huge Issues

    We said FSU couldnít turn the ball over and win the game and luckily they were able to force two turnovers themselves.

    The Noles STILL have not had ONE game all season without turning the ball over and were lucky they didnít have two more as Deondre Francois was wild on a couple more passes.

    Penalties are still a huge issue as the Noles had seven for 56 yards. There were numerous false starts that killed drives and holding penalties that negated good positive plays.

    Penalties are something I expected to be an issue as Willie Taggart teams have traditionally been penalized a ton for whatever reason.

    The turnovers are largely tied to Deondre Francois who now has 10 interceptions and a couple of fumbles that represents over half of the teamís turnovers.

    These are two areas FSU football is going to have to pay special attention to in the off-season. Itís nearly impossible for a team that struggles on offense to overcome multiple turnovers and penalties every game.

    Third Down And Forever Defense Was Terrible

    I thought Charles Kelly was the FSU defensive coordinator against Boston College on Saturday. Overall, the third down defense was OK as they allowed conversions on 37 percent of those plays.

    Boston College was 7 of 19 overall but the alarming trend was at least five of those seven conversions were of the third and long variety.

    There were third down conversions of third and 10, 8, 20, 12 and 9. Thatís completely unacceptable against an offense like Boston College.

    The goal is to stop the run and put a team with an inaccurate quarterback in obvious passing situations.

    They completed the first part of the goal, but thereís no reason Boston College should be able to convert third and long that often against a team like FSU.

    Anyone thatís watched Boston College knew they love to throw to their tight end and he was WIDE open on a number of plays and averaged 17 yards per catch.

    The Noles will need to shore up this part of the defense next week against Florida.

    Walt Belt Offense Seems To Be Better

    The FSU offense hasnít put up way more points per game since Walt Bell took over play calling duties but it does seem to have more of an identity and less negative plays.

    For instance, FSU averaged 6.37 ypp against Boston College who came into the game allowing 4.94 ypp.

    The Noles were also able to establish a run game for the second consecutive week as they rushed for 156 yards and averaged 4.3 yard per rush Saturday afternoon.

    Deondre Francois could have had an even better day passing if he didnít get happy feet when no pressure was present and throw the ball to Charlie Ward on the sidelines.

    There were a couple of drops though, but overall when he missed he missed badly.

    He still threw for 322 yards on just 19 completions. There were a couple of play calls Bell had that I wasnít a fan of, but for the most part they seemed to make sense and were productive when FSU executed or refrained from penalties.

    They are certainly more explosive in the passing game and Tamorrion Terry has been featured a bit more with Bell calling plays which is always good.

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    Fsu vs. Florida: Preview

    Florida State vs. #13 Florida

    Kickoff: Saturday, Nov. 24 at 12 p.m. ET

    TV: ABC

    Dan Mullen of Florida and Willie Taggart of Florida State will get their first taste of one of college footballís greatest rivalries as head coaches on Saturday as the Gators make their way north to take on the Seminoles. FSU has won five straight in the series, but Florida is a road favorite for Saturday.

    FSU will need to win to get to 6-6 and become bowl eligible for a 37th season in a row. The Gators are holding out hope for a New Yearís bowl, but that wonít be possible unless theyíre able to snap the five-game skid to their most bitter rivals on Saturday. Only one of the five contests during FSUís winning streak over Florida has been decided by fewer than 16 points.

    FSU is coming off a thrilling 22-21 victory over Boston College, while the Gators drubbed FCS opponent Idaho on Senior Day, 63-10. Florida State got the better of Florida last season with a 38-22 win in Gainesville. The Seminoles prevailed 31-13 in the last meeting in Tallahassee two years ago. The last Florida win in the series did come at Doak Campbell Stadium in 2012 by a 37-26 score. The five-game winning streak is the longest ever for FSU over the Gators.

    Three Things to Watch

    1. Quarterback play

    Over the last several years in the rivalry, quarterback play has hardly been a thing of beauty. This season, FSU has asked more of Deondre Francois than Florida has of Feleipe Franks. Itís been an up-and-down season for Francois, but he has managed to come through late in games for the Seminoles with game-winning drives against Samford, Louisville and most recently, Boston College. Francois has gotten off to some rough starts in recent weeks and has fallen out of favor with a large portion of the fan base, but he will have a chance to join the likes of Charlie Ward, Chris Weinke and Jameis Winston as FSU quarterbacks to win their first two starts against rival Florida.

    In the case of Franks, heíll be tasked with not losing the game, rather than having to win it. Franks was a disaster in last seasonís 38-22 loss to FSU, accounting for four turnovers, including two that went the other way for Florida State touchdowns. That number would have been three had it not been for a premature celebration by linebacker Matthew Thomas on an apparent interception return for touchdown. In 2018, Franks has managed to limit his turnovers, but in losses this season, the redshirt sophomore is completing just 48 percent of his passes while averaging 140 yards passing.

    2. Playmakers

    Whether it be Warrick Dunn, Fred Taylor, Jacquez Green, Tim Tebow, Charlie Ward, Peter Warrick or more recently, Dalvin Cook and DeMarcus Walker, big-time players have always found a way to come up big in this annual rivalry game. Although neither offense qualifies as a juggernaut, there will be plenty of talent on the field on Saturday. For Florida, the Gators feature a deep stable of backs and receivers. Jordan Scarlett has been the focal point of the ground game for Florida this season, while Kadarius Toney does a little bit of everything and Freddie Swain is the deep threat.

    On the opposite side of the field, FSU redshirt freshman Tamorrion Terry leads the ACC in yards per reception and is tied for the conference lead in touchdown grabs with eight. Cam Akers, a sophomore, is one of the nationís more talented running backs but has been bottled up most of the season. Akers rushed for a season-high 110 yards and a touchdown last week against Boston College on just 14 carries.

    3. Intangibles

    Thereís so much to dissect for this weekís Florida-Florida State matchup that goes beyond the field. For instance, Florida State is looking to preserve streaks of 36 straight bowl appearances, 41 straight winning seasons and six straight wins over its arch rivals. This FSU team doesnít want to be the team that allows all of the aforementioned streaks to end. Florida, on the other hand, is looking to get its first win over the Seminoles since Barack Obama's first term.

    Both teams are also led by first-year head coaches in Mullen and Taggart. A victory on Saturday would go a long way in achieving Sunshine State supremacy. Untimely turnovers, miscues, crowd noise and big plays on special teams could all be game-changers in Saturdayís contest. While this one may not have the national implications that the contests of the 1990s did, there will be nerves aplenty.

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  21. #31
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    Fsu vs. Florida: Recap

    Florida routs Florida State, ending FSUís bowl streak

    Florida State lost to Florida 41-14 Saturday, ending its season at 5-7.

    While the loss was expected, it was nonetheless painful, ending the bowl streak at 36 years.

    The Gators have been the far superior team all year, and it showed on Saturday.

    Florida State couldnít block Florida at all.

    FSUís offensive line has been a progressively worse train wreck each week. And in this game, FSUís offense had little-to-no shot of working. Tackle Jauan Williams started the game and was ineffective, pulled, and replaced by Brady Scott. Scott was not much better.

    Florida was routinely in FSUís backfield, harassing and hitting Deondre Francois without needing to blitz. This was extremely important, since Florida is usually a big blitz team, which leaves it exposed to big plays.

    That meant the Gators could play pass coverage and get excellent pressure, stifling the explosive plays FSU has to depend on since it canít sustain drives behind this offensive line.

    Before Florida went up three scores, the Seminoles had only two pass plays over 25 yards. Realistically, they needed to have seven or eight if they were to win the game. Francois was repeatedly hit, sacked, and also had a fumble and two interceptions. And FSU didnít have a 15+ yard run by a running back before the game was out of hand.

    Again, Florida got extreme pressure while being able to play safe coverage, and the game was effectively over.

    Except FSU made it worse by making dumb mistakes.

    Florida State had play after play of formational and pre-snap penalties on offense. One, an illegal shift in which Francois sent a man in motion before senior receiver NyQuan Murray and redshirt freshman Tamorrion Terry were set. It wiped out a 70-yard touchdown reception by Cam Akers.

    Defensive back Stanford Samuels III also had a huge personal foul penalty after a third down stop. Samuels was being held by his facemask, but inexcusably took a swing on receiver Van Jefferson, giving the Gators a new set of downs. Florida scored on the successive set, breaking the game open.

    It was a sloppy, undisciplined effort from the Seminoles, who also had either too many or too few men on the field at different times.

    The sloppiness was embarrassing for a team in Game 12. Some issues, such as poor personnel, canít be fixed in-season. But FSU should simply be sharper than this, and it wasnít.

    FSU dared Florida to hit big plays, and the Gators did.

    The Gators are one of the more efficient offenses in the nation, but are not very explosive. To that end, FSUís plan to not allow Florida to drive and instead dare them to hit big plays was the right one.

    But the Gators were up to the challenge. Florida hit passes of 39, 54, 22, 38, and 20.

    The Gators also hit an explosive run of 74 yards, in which either DB A.J. Westbrook and/or LB Dontavious Jackson were in the wrong gap. It put the Gators up 10-0, and they never looked back.

    It was a poor job by the defense on the day, although FSU wasnít going to win the game even if its defense only allowed 21 points, much less 41.

    Florida picked on FSUís safeties and linebackers, showcasing an area of weakness for FSU all season.

    Field Position

    Florida State had an enormous field position disadvantage, to the tune of negative 238 yards. That made the final score even worse than the game.

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  23. #32
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    Thanks for all the great work in your fan forums, Rat!

    The Noles will get it together next year!

    If you ain't a Gator, you must be................ Gator Bait !!
    Big CHEERS To All Streamers! Geaux Saints!

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