Tallahassee, FL – For the second straight week, the sixth- ranked Florida Seminoles will face an FCS program in Tallahassee when they entertain the Savannah State Tigers on Saturday evening.
To say that Savannah State was outmatched by Oklahoma State in its season opener wouldn't even begin to describe what transpired on the field. The Tigers were blown out by the nationally-ranked Cowboys, 84-0. It was the school's first-ever game against an FBS opponent, and if nothing else, you have to admire the program's fearless scheduling early in the season.
"Our number one goal was not to win either of these (first two) games," Savannah State coach Steve Davenport said. "Our goal is to win our conference championship. We have got another preseason game in Tallahassee...then our season gets underway. That is where we are."
Florida State opened its season against FCS opponent Murray State, and the outcome was as expected for a team hopeful of a national championship run. The Seminoles were sharp in all facets of the game and cruised to an easy 69-3 win in front of their home fans.
These two programs have never played one another before, as this marks just second game Savannah State has ever played against an FBS school.
Even as Oklahoma State started to play its backups late in the game, Savannah State could get nothing going offensively, netting a lowly 139 total yards on the day.
Antonio Bostick stood tall in the pocket most of the game against a much bigger and faster defensive front than he is used to. The results were not pretty (12-of-25, 81 yards, two INTs), but it could have been much worse. He escaped a lot of pressure, rushing for 11 yards on 15 carries, although he was only sacked once.
Alex Simmons led the team in rushing with 40 yards on nine carries, highlighted by a 19-yard run, while Edward Lackey, Jr. caught five balls to lead the team, but for only 29 yards.
Obviously, it was a very long day for the Tigers' defense. The unit allowed the Cowboys to gain 682 yards and to score 12 touchdowns (nine rushing).
The high volume of rushes for Oklahoma State (42) allowed for plenty of tackle opportunities. Edward Baety led the way with nine stops and a forced fumble, while Jovante Miller recorded eight tackles, one for a loss. John Wilson was active in the secondary with seven tackles and an interception.
Florida State moved the ball up and down the field with ease against Murray State last week, racking up 606 yards, but it was the effectiveness of the running game that was the real story.
The Seminoles ran the ball 42 times for 285 yards, paced by James Wilder, Jr. with 106 yards and two touchdowns. Debrale Smiley also had two rushing scores, and Lonnie Pryor had three touchdowns on just five carries. The seven rushing touchdowns are the most they've had in a single game since 1992.
"We're much further a long and I think we have more diversity with our running game," Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said. "We've got different kinds of backs that all bring something different to the table. I thought the offensive line did a really nice job - great pass protection and we kept pounding the ball. That's what we've got to do. Long way to go, but much improved."
The FSU quarterbacks performed well too. E.J. Manuel completed 16-of-22 pases for 188 yards, including the game's only passing touchdown to Kenny Shaw late in the second quarter. He was then spelled for Clint Trickett (8-of-11, 117 yards), and Jacob Coker also saw snaps (1-of-2, 16 yards).
Eleven different receivers caught passes for the Seminoles, led by Shaw with four for 82 yards.
As expected, the defense played very well, holding Murray State to just 156 yards, but that didn't come without a price.
Brandon Jenkins will miss the rest of the season after suffering a foot injury in the first half. The two time All-ACC selection has piled up 21.5 sacks in the past two seasons, and he had recorded a sack before exiting the game.
Even in Jenkins' absence, the defensive line still figures to be great. The group made six sacks in the game, including four from Bjoern Werner.
Cornellius Carradine tallied nine tackles and a sack, while Xavier Rhodes notched an interception.