April 14, 2016 - by
Making Strides

ORLANDO – The Orlando natives on the Florida State football roster made themselves right at home in front of their hometown crowd. From Ro’Derrick Hoskins’ interception to Deondre Francois’ touchdown passes and Ricky Aguayo’s game-tying field goal, the Orlando-area Seminoles had a hand in several memorable moments of Saturday’s Garnet and Gold Game.

FSU counts five scholarship players from Orlando and several more from the surrounding region.

“To have significant roles right here in their home stadium, it was great for them to come back,” FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said. “They were excited to play. They were like little kids. It was great to see them do it in front of their home fans.”

For Hoskins, Saturday marked the first time he had ever played in the stadium he grew up visiting.

The fourth-year junior made the most of it, totaling seven tackles, a sack and an interception. He also appeared to recover a Francois fumble, but the quarterback was later ruled down by contact.

“It was real, real special,” said Hoskins, who played at Orlando’s Evans High. “It was great because I never had a chance to play in the Citrus Bowl. Not even Pop Warner. We never made it to the level. So that was perfect, being able to come back home and be able to play.”

Running back Jacques Patrick, meanwhile, enjoyed a successful return to the Citrus Bowl after playing there as a youth-leaguer. With starter Dalvin Cook sidelined after shoulder surgery, Patrick ran for 32 yards and a four-yard touchdown run.

“I’m happy for everybody,” Patrick said. “… Deondre had a great day, Ro’Derrick, all those guys. It was just great to see everybody do well.”

Francois lists Orlando as his hometown despite finishing his high school career at IMG Academy in Bradenton.

The FSU quarterback hopeful paced the Gold offense with 283 total yards (246 passing, 37 rushing), two touchdowns and two interceptions.

He also engineered the late drive that led to Aguayo’s game-tying, 46-yard field goal.

“I thought Deondre did a great job keeping his poise the whole game,” Fisher said. “I really did.”

Aguayo hails from Mascotte, Fla., about 40 miles east of Orlando.

Senior receiver Kermit Whitfield was one of the few Orlando natives to have a quiet day, but Fisher said after the game that he’s not concerned with Whitfield’s resume. (Fellow Orlando receiver Nyqwan Murray missed the game with an injury.)

“I wish we could’ve got Kermit a few more balls, but I know what Kermit can do,” Fisher said. “I’m not worried about that.”

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