The third ranked Florida State Seminoles will play host to Buccaneers of Charleston Southern on Saturday at 12:30pm EST at Doak Campbell Staduim. The Seminoles face a quick turnaround to prepare for this game after playing against Ole Miss on Monday night.
Florida State overcame a 28-6 first half deficit to beat the Rebels 45-34. Redshirt Freshman Deondre Francois led the Seminoles with 479 yards of total offense and two touchdowns. Defensively, Florida State was paced by DeMarcus Walker‘s four and a half sacks.
As for Charleston Southern, the Buccaneers dominated Kentucky State 57-7. The Buccaneers tallied 527 yards in their blow out victory.
Players to Watch
For Florida State, all eyes will be on the aforementioned Francois. On Monday, he overcame early struggles and proved why he won the starting job over Sean Maguire. Additionally, running back Dalvin Cook will look to have a break out performance after a slow start against the Rebels.
Defensively, the Florida State secondary will look to shore up the coverage bust that Ole Miss was able to take advantage of early. However, Charleston Southern’s triple-option offense will put a heavy emphasis on Florida State’s front seven. Defensive ends, Walker and Josh Sweat and linebackers Ro’Derrick Hoskins and Matthew Thomas will have to be disciplined and play smart, assignment football to limit the Buccaneers rushing attack.
Charleston Southern’s offense begins and ends with senior running back Mike Holloway. If he can get going early, the Buccaneers could wear down Florida State’s defense and keep Francois and company off the field.
Florida State Wins If…
The Seminoles need to jump out to a fast start. Although Charleston Southern is an FCS opponent, they are one of the better teams in that subdivision. Offensively, look for Florida State to feed Cook early and often. Ole Miss was able to limit his big play ability, so expect Florida State to have more push up front. The offensive line will also have to keep Francois upright in order to be successful. He took a beating Monday night and nothing derails a game (or a season) like having your quarterback go down.
On the other side of the ball, the defense needs to play disciplined. Charleston Southern will run a lot of read option and motion looks. If one person misses his assignment, a three yard gain could very easily become 30. Also, Florida State needs to turn the Buccaneers into a passing team. Early first down stops are crucial in order to do so. If Florida State can keep Charleston Southern in third and long scenarios then they can virtually eliminate their running game. The Buccaneers lost starting quarterback Kyle Copeland to a major knee injury last week. His backups have completed a combined four career collegiate passes. Having to rely on such youth against a defense like Florida State’s could prove disastrous.
Charleston Southern Wins If…
Although it seems far-fetched, it’s not completely outside of the realm of possibility for the Buccaneers to pull of an upset. After all, they are the seventh ranked team in the FCS. That being said, this game can be won by the Buccaneers if they can shorten it. Charleston Southern needs to chew up clock and keep the Seminoles offense off of the field. They can achieve this by establishing a running game early and converting on third downs.
Defensively, the Buccaneers need to create turnovers. Florida State had no giveaways Monday night. However, Francois is still a young quarterback and mistakes are expected to be made. Turnovers change the momentum of the game and if Charleston Southern can capitalize on a couple of them, then they can escape Tallahassee with a victory.
Finally, if Florida State is caught looking ahead to next weekend’s match-up with Louisville Charleston Southern could jump out to an early lead and shorten the game by sitting on the clock.
As of now, Florida State has no starters with significant injuries listed. As stated earlier, Charleston Southern will have to replace quarterback Kyle Copeland who is out for the season.
Florida State should take care of business fairly quickly. The athletic advantage the Seminoles posses is far too great for Charleston Southern to overcome. Expect Florida State’s starters to be out of the game by halftime and for young players to get some experience in mop up duty.
FSU 55 – CSU 3