Last season, the Florida State Seminoles went 13-0 during the regular season, but fell to Oregon 59-20 in the first round of the College Football Playoff. The Seminoles bring back 13 total starters from last years team: 4 on offense, 7 on defense, and 2 on special teams. Though they bring back a decent amount of starters, they lost Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Jameis Winston, second leading rusher Karlos Williams, top two receivers in Rashad Greene and Nick O’Leary, offensive tackle Cameron Erving, and defensive end Mario Edwards Jr., among other players who moved on to the NFL.
This offseason, the Seminoles picked up a very important piece for their offense in graduate transfer Everett Golson from Notre Dame. Golson was named as the starter this week by head coach Jimbo Fisher. He was responsible for 29 passing touchdowns and 9 rushing touchdowns last season for Notre Dame. Leading rusher Dalvin Cook returns after setting the FSU freshman rushing record last year with 1,008 yards, and also scored eight touchdowns. In the receiving core, both Jesus Wilson and Travis Rudolph started last season, catching around 40 balls for a little over 500 yards a piece. The offensive line is very young. The ‘noles return only one starter on the offensive line, sophomore left tackle Roderick Johnson. The rest of the line is composed of a redshirt junior, a redshirt sophomore, and three redshirt freshmen.
On the defensive side of the football, Florida State returns several members at each level of their defense. The tandem of inside linebackers in Reggie Northrup and Terrance Smith, are back for their senior seasons, both of whom were top three on the team in total tackles last season. On the defensive line, defensive end Demarcus Walker returns, who registered the second most tackles of any FSU lineman last season, along with defensive tackle Derrick Mitchell Jr. who had 10 starts in 2014. In the secondary, cornerback Jalen Ramsey returns after a season where he had 2 interceptions and made 79 total tackles. Ramsey is a candidate for the Jim Thorpe Award, Bronko Nagurski Trophy and All-American this season. Junior safety Nate Andrews has been the leader in interceptions for the Florida State defense both of the past two seasons and finished with 93 total tackles last year. Andrews has been a significant contributor since his freshman year, playing in 14 games each of the last two seasons.
The Seminoles’ most experienced unit is special teams. Roberto Aguayo is one of the top kickers in the country. For his career, he is 48-52 in field goal attempts and was a consensus first team All-American in 2014. Senior punter, Cason Beatty, was the starter last season and averaged 41 yards per punt attempt. He has 50 career punts inside of the 20 yard line.
(Keys to Victory)
It's a whole lot easier said than done, but Texas State will have to play a near perfect game. Establishing and racking up yards on the ground with Nutall and Lowe, and in the air with a lead target, or group by committe. The TXST O-line must dominate the trenches and provide pass protection all in one.
Whether it be Ryan Carden, Brandon Smith, or Jafus Gaines, one has to become the go to guy for Tyler Jones, and be able to balance the run and pass, to keep the FSU defense honest, and on their heels if possible. Jones mixing it up with his legs can also be a surprising curve ball up TXST's sleeve.
Defensively, the two biggest factors are: Creating turnovers, and getting the Seminoles off the field on 3rd down. Protect and then take away the ball, give your defense time to recoup and allow the stable of running backs to assert themselves.
Florida State has won 58 games since Jimbo Fisher became head coach in 2010, tying Nick Saban at Alabama for the second most in that span. The Seminoles are ranked 10th in the AP poll and 8th in the Coaches poll to begin the season. Texas State will try for what some are saying is impossible, going into Tallahassee, and not only to compete, but beat the 10th ranked 'Noles. Kick-off is set for 7:00 p.m central, Saturday night, and the game can be seen nationally on ESPNEWS.