The eighth-ranked Florida State Seminoles will attempt to extend their winning streak to five games on Saturday, as they play host to the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats.
Bethune-Cookman's season has gotten off to a fantastic start, with it posting a pair of solid road wins over Tennessee State (12-9) and FIU (34-13), while also dismantling Virginia Union at home (66-7). The Wildcats' hot start has allowed them to rise all the way to No. 19 in The Sport Network's latest FCS Top-25 poll.
Florida State has been ranked in both the AP and the coaches' polls for 23 straight weeks, the ninth-longest active streak in the nation, and a win in this matchup would make the team 3-0 for the third straight season. After putting together an outstanding performance on the road in the opener versus Pittsburgh (41-3), the Seminoles easily dismissed Nevada last week at home, 62-7.
"I was proud of our kids," Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher said. "A good solid win. We had the one turnover which is unfortunate, but we were good on third down. Red zone defense was good, offense was good. Got to continue and get ready for Bethune next week."
FSU and Bethune-Cookman have never previously met on the football field.
Thanks largely to an outstanding rushing attack that racks up more than 250 yards per contest, the Bethune-Cookman offense has been a well-oiled machine thus far (37.3 ppg).
Four Wildcats have amassed 100 yards rushing, with Anthony Jordan garnering the most work with 221 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Cary White has also been impressive with 138 yards on just 19 carries with three scores.
In three games, Jackie Wilson, Brodrick Waters and Quentin Williams have all earned a start under center. Wilson has been the most effective passer, completing 63.2 percent of his throws with two touchdowns and no interceptions, while Williams is the biggest rushing threat (101 yards, two TDs).
No receiver has more than six receptions or more than 73 yards. Jontavious Carter has hauled in just two passes, but both have been for touchdowns.
Bethune-Cookman has paired a strong offense with an outstanding defense (9.7 ppg, 219.7 ypg), making it one of the most well-rounded squads in the FCS.
The unit has a nose for the big play, with Nick Addison, Tim Burke and Erik Williams all returning interceptions for touchdowns in the early going. Jarkevis Fields anchors the strong defense with 23 tackles, while Nesly Marcellon (15 tackles, 4.5 TFL, 2.0 sacks) and Tevin Toney (13 tackles, 3.0 TFL) have also played well.
There's been no stopping the Florida State offense, as it's posted 575.0 ypg and 51.5 ppg. Its 103 points ranks eighth all-time in the ACC through the first two games of the season.
Freshman Jameis Winston is quickly becoming one of the nation's top quarterbacks, as he is completing an incredible 88.9 percent of his passes for 570 yards with six touchdowns against only one interception. After a historic performance in the season opener against Pittsburgh, Winston had a more modest effort versus Nevada (214 yards, two TDs, INT), but he still completed 15- of-18 passes.
"What I liked about it was he made a mistake and he didn't get gun shy," Fisher said of his QB following the Nevada game. "He went right back into it and started making throw and making plays. (These tests) are going to happen in bigger games and bigger moments, you just keep growing with it. You've got to remember he's just a freshman."
Rashad Greene (11 receptions, 165 yards, two TDs) and Kenny Shaw (10 receptions, 188 yards, TD) have been Winston's favorite targets. Nick O'Leary has just six catches, but Winston looks to him in the red zone, as he's tallied three touchdowns.
The Seminoles' balanced offensive attack features a ground game that generates 266.5 ypg. Devonte Freeman (161 yards, TD) and James Wilder, Jr. (103 yards, TD) receive the most work, while Karlos Williams (110 yards, TD) averages a whopping 13.8 yards per carry.
Defensively, FSU has been nothing short of outstanding, holding opponents to only 10.0 ppg and 255.5 ypg while yielding just a 27 percent conversion rate on third down.
Lamarcus Joyner leads the team in both tackles (15) and sacks (two), while Terrence Brooks, Jalen Ramsey and Tyler Hunter have all picked off passes.