TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida State piled up the points in a lopsided, 77-6 victory over Delaware State that puts the Seminoles one step closer to bowl eligibility. Here’s a look at the game’s key players and decisive moments:
Game ball: There’s no shortage of options from a game in which FSU scored 11 touchdowns, but, seeing as it was Senior Day, how about some recognition for Ryan Green. The fifth-year senior paced the Seminoles’ rushing attack with 96 yards on only seven carries and scored touchdowns of five and 50 yards.
It marked a cathartic end to a long road for Green, who bounced between running back and cornerback during his five-year career, and always seemed to find himself behind NFL-caliber players on the depth chart.
But whereas many modern college football players might transfer in search of more opportunities – and Green, a former four-star prospect from Tampa, certainly could have found a suitor somewhere – Green never wanted to be anywhere other than Tallahassee.
“I’ve definitely been through a lot,” Green said. “I think it speaks a lot on my character and my loyalty, that if I make a commitment, I’m going to keep that commitment – no matter what.”
Asked why, Green pointed to all the relationships formed over the last five years. Green arrived at FSU in 2013 and was part of a national championship, two ACC titles and 27 consecutive victories.
His touchdown on Saturday marked the first time that he found the end zone since Sept. 14, 2013.
“It was my brothers in that locker room, man,” Green said. “There’s nothing like it. I feel like my relationship with them and my relationship to some of my coaches, it made me stay and it made me want to work harder.”
Honorable mention goes to freshman defensive end Joshua Kaindoh, who was a one-man wrecking crew in the second half. Kaindoh racked up four sacks – including back-to-back sacks in the fourth quarter – and a team-high six tackles.
After entering the game looking for the first sack of his career, Kaindoh now ranks second on the team, trailing on junior Josh Sweat (4.5).
Play of the game: Florida State has shown an uncommon propensity for blocking kicks over the last few seasons, and that trend continued Saturday. With the Seminoles holding an early lead, Delaware State lined up for a 42-yard field goal attempt that would have made it 7-3. Instead, Demarcus Christmas broke through the Hornets’ line and got his hand up to register FSU’s fifth blocked kick of the season.
And this time, the ball bounced the Seminoles’ way, into the arms of cornerback Tarvarus McFadden. McFadden then ran 63 yards, untouched, for FSU’s second touchdown of the day.
It was FSU’s first blocked kick returned for a touchdown since Tony Carter did it against Clemson in 2006.
“It was kind of weird,” McFadden said. “We actually talked about it before it happened – the interior guys said they would block it. And that’s my job … if the ball gets blocked, pick it off and go score.”
Turning point: While the final score hardly suggests it, the Hornets actually had some success moving the ball early in the game. They marched down the field before having their field-goal attempt blocked on their first drive, then bounced back with a nine-play, 75-yard touchdown drive that cut their deficit to 14-6.
And things nearly got interesting a few moments later, when the Hornets forced a three-and-out on FSU’s ensuing drive and got the ball with a chance to tie the game.
It was right about then that Derwin James said enough is enough.
On Delaware State’s first play of the possession, James read a pass over the middle, wrestled the ball away from its intended receiver and then weaved his way down the left sideline for a 41-yard touchdown.
— ACC Digital Network (@theACCDN) November 18, 2017
It was the first of six straight FSU possessions to end with a touchdown, and it helped FSU to an insurmountable, 56-6 lead at halftime.
It was over when: Pick any of the five second-quarter touchdowns that followed James’ interception. The Hornets acquitted themselves nicely in the early goings, but, as one of the more offensively-challenged teams in the FCS, they were always going to have a hard time coming back from a three-score deficit. FSU pushed its lead to 28-6 with a one-yard run from Cam Akers and never looked back.
Jacques Patrick, Nyqwan Murray, Gabe Nabers and Auden Tate would all go on to score before halftime, marking the fourth time under coach Jimbo Fisher that the Seminoles have scored 35 points in a single quarter.