Florida State took the field on Saturday night, following a 90-minute lightning delay, and took care of business against FCS opponent Duquesne, 47-7. The Seminoles have now won a season opener for the first time since 2016.
Before FSU turns its attention to LSU, here’s a look back at all three phases of the game against the Dukes:
Offensively, the Seminoles started the game out efficiently, scoring the opening touchdown on a 12-play, 82-yard drive. Quarterback Jordan Travis was in full control of the offense from start to finish, completing 11 of 15 passes for 218 total yards and a rushing touchdown.
Unfortunately, quarterback Tate Rodemaker struggled in relief duty. He only completed two of his six passes for 15 yards and an interception that set up Duquesne’s lone touchdown. In terms of the running backs, the four scholarship backs combined for 47 carries, 388 yards and five touchdowns. This was the first time in Seminoles history where they had three 100-yard rushers in a single game.
Wide receivers Mycah Pittman, Johnny Wilson (who came up hoppling but seems to be fine), Kentron Poitier and Deuce Spann all showcased flashes. However, the offensive line was a bit of a mixed bag, given that starting center Darius Washington went down with an injury in the first quarter and did not return.
The Seminoles have already lost two starting centers in Kayden Lyles (for the season) and Maurice Smith (for an extended period of time). Starting guard Dillan Gibbons, reserve guard Thomas Shrader and walk-on David Stickle all took reps at the position.
Overall, the FSU defensive only allowed the Dukes to muster 164 total yards. Conversely, the Seminoles only managed to have one sack. Part of the reason was Duquesne quarterback Joe Mischler got the football out of his hands very quickly. That did not give the defensive line enough time to get after the quarterback.
The Seminoles’ defense did seem to struggle with some misdirection that the Dukes were giving on offense. FSU would like to see players stay home on the containment and trust their eyes. Starting linebackers Kalen DeLoach and Tatum Bethune were very instinctual. DJ Lundy also had a solid performance.
Defensive backs did fairly well with starter Omarion Cooper not dressed for the game. The only red flag was cornerback Jarrian Jones being flagged for a late hit out of bounds, which extended a Duquesne drive. Jones redeemed himself later in the quarter with nice coverage on 3rd-and-6 to force a punt.
Special Teams Outlook
The FSU special teams unit was dismal last season. During Saturday’s matchup, fans were able to see Pittman catch a punt, be patient in letting the blocks develop and return it for seven yards. But there were also two punts that the Oregon transfer let bounce 10 to 15 yards instead of fair catching the punts.
Unfortunately, freshman defensive back Sam McCall had a rough night on kickoff return duties. He had two returns for just 26 yards. Kicker Ryan Fitzgerald connected on both of his field goals and punter Alex Mastromanno had one punt for 52 yards that was downed inside the 5-yard-line.
Next stop: vs. LSU (New Orleans), Sunday, Sept. 4 at 7:30 p.m. ET (ABC)
Featured image credit: Ken Lanese/Florida State athletics