September 23, 2016 - by
First and 10: No. 13 Florida State at South Florida

TAMPA, Fla. – Florida State looks to get back to its winning ways Saturday in a non-conference, intra-state showdown with the South Florida Bulls. Here’s a look at the names, numbers and notes you need to know before kickoff.

No. 13 Florida State (2-1, 0-1 ACC) at South Florida (3-0, 0-0 AAC)
When/Where: Saturday, noon/Raymond James Stadium (65,890) in Tampa, Fla.

TV/Radio: ABC/Seminole IMG Radio Network; FSU Broadcast Live Stream

Florida State injury report:
WR     Keith Gavin (foot)
QB      Sean Maguire (foot) 

Out For Game
OL      Corey Martinez (knee)
DE      Josh Sweat (knee)
DT      Darvin Taylor (shoulder)

Out Indefinitely
DE      Keith Bryant (foot)
DB      Derwin James (knee)

Out For Season
WR     George Campbell (core muscle)

South Florida Bulls

Coach: Willie Taggart (17-23 in four seasons at USF, 33-43 overall)

Last game: USF’s Rodney Adams scored three touchdowns as the Bulls erased a 17-point deficit on their way to a 45-20 victory at Syracuse. Running back Marlon Mack added 115 yards and two touchdowns on just nine carries.

Last game vs. Florida State: Dalvin Cook ran for 266 yards – the second-highest total in FSU history – as the Seminoles pulled away from the Bulls in the second half for a 34-14 victory at Doak Campbell Stadium in 2015.

South Florida vs. Florida State all-time: FSU leads the all-time series 2-1 and is 1-0 in Tampa.

2009: South Florida 17, No. 8 FLORIDA STATE 7

2012: No. 4 Florida State 30, SOUTH FLORIDA 17

2015: No. 11 FLORIDA STATE 34, South Florida 14

2016: No. 13 Florida State at SOUTH FLORIDA, Saturday, noon

  • The Seminoles will attempt to right the ship after losing in startling fashion at Louisville last week. While FSU’s 63-20 defeat to Lamar Jackson and the Cardinals shook up the locker room, the Seminoles don’t have time to feel sorry for themselves, as USF is one of the obvious up-and-coming programs in college football. Quarterback Quinton Flowers and running back Marlon Mack form a dynamic one-two punch, and, as a result, the Bulls are 10-2 in their last 12 games.
  • FSU under coach Jimbo Fisher has been very good after a loss. The Seminoles are 11-3 under Fisher following a defeat, and they haven’t lost back-to-back games since the 2011 season.
  • Saturday’s game provides another opportunity for FSU to assert its superiority in the state of Florida. Since Fisher took over in 2010, the Seminoles are 14-1 against programs from the Sunshine State. That includes a 6-0 mark over Miami and 5-1 mark over Florida, as well as records of 2-0 against USF and 1-0 against Bethune-Cookman.
  • While the Seminoles are playing their third game on the road in the month of September, they should once again enjoy a friendly welcome when they enter Raymond James Stadium. Although USF fans are likely to pack the stadium after the Bulls’ 3-0 start, Tampa has a strong base of Florida State alumni as well. If the crowd is anything like it was when the Seminoles visited in 2012, there should be plenty of garnet and gold in the stands.
  • FSU has been hit hard by injuries this season, and the Seminoles will have another one to contend with Saturday as Fisher revealed that sophomore defensive end Josh Sweat will miss the game with after having surgery to repair a torn meniscus earlier this week. Sweat will be missed against the Bulls, but Fisher doesn’t expect him to miss more than a week or two. In Sweat’s absence, expect freshman Brian Burns to have an increased role.

One offensive and defensive player from each team who could swing the game

USF: Flowers and Mack grab most of the headlines, but USF’s Rodney Adams is dangerous as both a runner and a receiver. The senior already owns school records for single-season receiving yardage and touchdowns, and he’s averaging more than 80 total yards per game with a team-high six touchdowns this year.

On defense, linebacker Auggie Sanchez has been a stalwart with the Bulls for several years, and, unsurprisingly, he leads the Bulls in both tackles and sacks.

FSU: The Bulls feature some of the best run-stopping defensive linemen in the country, which means FSU may have to click in the passing game before opening some rushing lanes for Dalvin Cook. Call it a hunch, but Jesus Wilson enjoyed an exceptional game when he visited Orlando a few weeks ago. And, against a USF secondary that sometimes struggles with tackling, Wilson could be in for another big day.

While FSU’s defense has had an uneven start to the season, DeMarcus Walkerhas more than lived up to his hype as a potential All-American. Pro Football Focus rates Walker as the second-most productive pass-rusher in the country and, with many Seminoles still finding their footing in the back seven, the senior leader may need to carry a heavy load for his teammates once again.


First and 10: No. 13 Florida State at South Florida

Total offense: FSU: 434.0 YPG (55th nationally); USF: 518.7 YPG (18th)

Scoring offense:  FSU: 39.0 PPG (37th); USF: 49.7 PPG (7th)

Passing offense: FSU: 267.0 YPG (35th); USF: 271.7 YPG (33rd)

Rushing offense: FSU: 167.0 YPG (73rd); USF: 247.0 (19th)

Total defense: FSU: 401.3 YPG (81st); USF: 386.3 YPG (70th)

Scoring defense: FSU: 48.5 PPG (120th); USF: 19.0 PPG (53rd)

Passing defense: FSU: 223.7 YPG (68th); USF: 225.3 YPG (70th)

Rushing defense: FSU: 177.7 YPG (93rd); UL: 161.0 YPG (87th)

Noteworthy number, courtesy of Pro Football Focus: USF’s run defense will try to keep Dalvin Cook under wraps, but the Bulls’ secondary could be a weakness for FSU to exploit. Per PFF, USF DBs have combined to miss 15 tackles, which could provide an opportunity for Florida State’s receivers to break free and grab some run-after-catch yardage.

“It’s up to us as the leaders to influence the rest of the guys and I think we did a good job of that. I’m excited for the week of practice and Saturday, to redeem myself.” – FSU CB Marquez White


“They are going to play some NFL players over there from FSU. This is (our) chance to show that we can play with them.” – USF coach Willie Taggart

“I think it will be critical. I hope so. I hope we see a lot of our fans down there, I really do. Looking forward to that. When you’re on the road, you want as many people with you as you possibly can. There’s no doubt about that.” – FSU coach Jimbo Fisher on potentially seeing extra FSU fans in the crowd on Saturday

  • FSU’s freshmen specialists are both leading the ACC in their respective categories. Kicker Ricky Aguayo leads the league with nine field goals, and punter Logan Tyler has the best yards-per-punt average at 45.54
  • Sophomore receiver Auden Tate is off to a hot start, having caught four passes this season – three of which have gone for touchdowns. A Tampa native, Tate will have a de facto homecoming against the Bulls on Saturday.
  • The best rushing performance of Dalvin Cook’s career came against USF. He ran for 266 yards against the Bulls last season.
  • The Seminoles have converted 100 percent of their offensive opportunities in the red zone, and are a perfect 13 for 13 this season.
  • Noon kickoffs have been something of a rarity for FSU in recent years, but Saturday’s game will be the Seminoles’ third straight to start at either noon or 12:30.
  • USF running back Marlon Mack has run for at least 100 yards in 14 consecutive games.
  • The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are hosting an “FSU Day” for their Sunday home game against the Los Angeles Rams. Kickoff is at 4:05 p.m. with a pregame tailgate at 12:30. Former Seminoles Jameis Winston and Roberto Aguayoplay for the Buccaneers, while FSU All-American Lamarcus Joyner is a member of the Rams.

Florida State’s history in Tampa goes almost all the way to the birth of the program. The Seminoles’ first appearance in a bowl game came in the 1950 Cigar Bowl, played at Tampa’s Phillips Field, which is now the site of a preparatory school. Led by the likes of Red Parrish and Buddy Strauss, coach Don Veller’s Seminoles upset Wofford, 19-6.

First and 10: No. 13 Florida State at South Florida

Freshman Eleonora Omoregie’s second NCAA Championships appearance of the year included two clearances but ended with an exit at 1.82 meters to place 15thand earn second-team All-American honors.

“Eleonora was battling the entire competition,” Braman said. “She and Coach Nobles made good adjustments and she just missed on her third attempt. It was a great freshman year – a double ACC champion and second-team All-American.”

With a second-attempt clearance at 1.78 meters (5-10), her second clearance of the day, Omoregie out-performed her seed (16th) and cleared one more bar than she did when she placed 11th at the NCAA Indoor Championships.

Couple that group with freshman Veronika Kanuchova, who was fourth in the hammer, 100-meter hurdles qualifying underclassmen Peta-Gay Williams and Cortney Jones, and 400-meter qualifier Shaquania Dorsett, and the Noles have a strong base to go along with one of the nation’s top signing classes.

Ira Schoffel of spoke to former FSU assistants Mickey Andrews and George Henshaw about what it takes to bounce back from a big loss.

Safid Deen of the Orlando Sentinel writes that the FSU defense is looking to wash away last week’s loss at Louisville.

Gary Shelton of SaintPetersblog says that a win over the Seminoles would be the biggest in USF’s history.

Martin Fennelly of the Tampa Bay Times tells the Bulls to beware of an FSU team backed into a corner.

Placed between high-profile ACC games against Louisville and North Carolina, this game always had the makings of a trap for Florida State. The good news is that the Seminoles aren’t likely to let anyone sneak up on them after last week’s loss at Louisville. But the not-so-good news is that the Bulls so far have looked even better than their preseason billing and, after seeing FSU look vulnerable a week ago, will no doubt be plenty confident on Saturday.

FSU however, still has advantages in both depth and talent and, with its back against the wall, should be able to get out of Tampa with both a win and some positive energy before resuming ACC play next week. Just don’t be surprised if the Seminoles need to do some heavy lifting in the fourth quarter before they can exhale.

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