September 9, 2016 - by
First & 10: Charleston Southern

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – After beginning the season in Orlando, the third-ranked Florida State football team returns to Tallahassee for its home opener. The Seminoles will face Charleston Southern, the No. 7 team in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) Coaches Poll, Saturday at 12:30 p.m., inside Doak Campbell Stadium. Here’s a look at the names, numbers and notes you need to know before the Seminoles meet the Buccaneers.

No. 3 Florida State (1-0) vs. Charleston Southern (1-1)

When/Where: Saturday, 12:30 p.m., Doak Campbell Stadium (79,560) in Tallahassee, Fla.

TV/Radio: Regional Sports Networks (Fox Sports Florida in Tallahassee)/Seminole IMG Radio Network (103.1 FM in Tallahassee)

Injury Report: Florida State – Questionable: DB Nate Andrews (leg), QB Sean Maguire (foot)
Out For Game: OL Kareem Are (concussion), OL Corey Martinez (knee), FB Freddie Stevenson (ankle), DT Darvin Taylor (shoulder), DE Adam Torres (leg)
Out Indefinitely: DE Keith Bryant (foot)
Out For Season: WR George Campbell (core muscle)

Charleston Southern Buccaneers

Coach: Jamey Chadwell (29-11 in four seasons at Charleston Southern, 52-32 overall)

Last game: CSU bounced back from an overtime loss against North Dakota State to beat Kentucky State 57-7. The Buccaneers amassed 405 total rushing yards.

Last game vs. Florida State: Florida State won its only meeting with Charleston Southern, 62-10, on Sept. 10, 2011. Quarterback EJ Manuel threw for 329 yards and four touchdowns in just two-plus quarters of work.


  • FSU returns home after an emotional, comeback victory over the Mississippi Rebels on Monday night. Although the win gave the Seminoles a huge lift, it also led to some major alterations to their weekly routine. They arrived back home at 4:30 a.m. Tuesday and, if they were lucky, were in bed by 5. FSU then returned for light practices on Wednesday and Thursday before holding their final walkthrough Friday. In essence, they cut their usual preparation time by about 50 percent.Complicating matters is that Charleston Southern runs a triple-option offense similar to Georgia Tech’s, but with an additional wrinkle: The Buccaneers run it out of the shotgun. FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said on his Wednesday teleconference that the Seminoles spent some time in fall camp watching film on Charleston Southern.“They’re not an easy team to prepare for,” Fisher said. “We’re cramming it right now like we’re cramming for an exam.”
  • Florida State boasts the nation’s longest active home-winning streak at 21 games. The Seminoles last lost at Doak Campbell Stadium on Nov. 24, 2012 (against Florida). Overall, the Seminoles are 38-4 under Fisher, with three straight perfect seasons at home.
  • Coming off a masterful performance in which he earned both conference and national accolades, quarterback Deondre Francois will finally make his debut at home. In an ironic twist, Seminoles fans have seen Francois play twice in Orlando – at the Garnet and Gold Game in April, and again against Ole Miss on Monday – before seeing him play in Tallahassee. Francois threw for 419 yards against the Rebels, the 10th-highest total of anyone in the country.
  • The Seminoles enter Saturday’s game looking to buck a trend of slow starts. FSU fell behind quickly against Ole Miss on Monday, and center Alec Eberle noted that the Seminoles took a while to heat up in its previous two games – at Florida and against Houston in the Peach Bowl – and at other points going back to the 2014 season.“I think that in the first half (against Ole Miss), we played a little bit of dumb football,” Eberle said. “… We’re moving the ball down the field, then we do something stupid to get taken back. … I feel like if we can come out in these next games and really limit the stupid football and play smart ball like we did in the second half, and really came out there on fire with the ball and do our assignments, then … I think we’re going to come out and hit teams in the mouth from the first play, and it’s going to be a ball rolling from there. It’s going to start looking good.”
  •  The Buccaneers have been hit hard by injuries. Their starting quarterback Kyle Copeland suffered a season-ending injury in the first quarter of last week’s game against Kentucky State, and backup Shane Bucenell sustained an injury of his own a little later. Which means that redshirt freshman London Johnson faces the tall task of making his first collegiate start at Florida State.
  • There are questions surrounding potential suspensions in the Charleston Southern lineup. A column by Gene Sapakoff of the Charleston Post and Courier alluded to suspensions for an NCAA violation related to purchases made in the school’s bookstore. And at least two CSU players indicated via their social media accounts that there had indeed been suspensions. The school has yet to publicly confirm the suspensions, and the exact number of players involved is not yet known. CSU recently suspended coach Jamey Chadwell and one of his assistants as the result of secondary NCAA violations. The assistant, who has not yet been named, will miss Saturday’s game against FSU. Chadwell will serve his suspension later in the season.

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

CSU: Most teams have one “first-string” running back. The Buccaneers have three. Seniors Darius Hammond, Mike Holloway and Robinson have been a part of a three-headed monster for their entire careers, and each contributes to a rushing attack that averages nearly 300 yards per game. Robinson is a former standout at Tallahassee’s Lincoln High School.

Junior defensive lineman Anthony Ellis is perhaps the top player on a CSU defense that relies on a strong front seven. The preseason All-Big South selection has five tackles and a seven-yard sack so far this season.

FSU: Sophomore running back Jacques Patrick flashed some welcome speed and physicality during his brief action on Monday, and if Saturday’s game gets out of hand in the second half, he should be first in line for an increased workload.

Charleston Southern’s offense is based on misdirection and quickness, and lower-division teams often use some form of the option to help level the playing field against deeper, more athletic opponents. But FSU has a bit of a secret weapon in that regard, as linebacker Matthew Thomas has a unique ability to match both speed and size. It was perhaps most apparent early in the Ole Miss game, when he chased down a Rebels receiver from behind after a 36-yard gain. The play wasn’t positive for FSU, but not many linebackers have the type of speed to run down a receiver in the open field. Thomas should have his fingerprints all over this week’s game.

First & 10: Charleston Southern

(Note: Charleston Southern rankings for Football Championship Subdivision)

Total offense: FSU: 580.0 YPG (15th nationally); CSU: 395.0 YPG (39th)

Scoring offense:  FSU: 45.0 PPG (35th); CSU: 37.0 PPG (25th)

Passing offense: FSU: 419.0 YPG (10th); CSU: 108.0 YPG (93rd)

Rushing offense: FSU: 161.0 YPG (68th); CSU: 287.0 (10th)

Total defense: FSU: 380.9 YPG (78th); CSU: 282.5 YPG (24th)

Scoring defense: FSU: 34.0 PPG (101st); CSU: 15.5 PPG (26th)

Passing defense: FSU: 313.0 YPG (107th); CSU: 133.0 YPG (20th)

Rushing defense: FSU: 67.0 YPG (20th); CSU: 149.5 YPG (50th)

Number of note, courtesy of Pro Football Focus: Francois played a remarkably consistent game on Monday, regardless of whether he was pressured. His completion percentage when blitzed (63.6) was actually a little bit better than when not blitzed (63.4). If he keeps that up, he’ll be a challenge for opposing defenses, who could struggle to find how best to attack him – blitz or drop into coverage?

“Florida State is Florida State, but we’re going to go down there and play our game. We can’t be worried about who it is we’re playing.” – CSU safety Corbin Jackson


“You’ve got to be more disciplined. You’ve got to play your gaps. Because, the highlights I’ve seen, if you don’t play your gaps, they’ll be…  running all day and night.” – FSU defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi on defending the CSU offense

“(Tuesday) was sleep, ate, slept, ate, slept. Woke up. Take a nap then I slept again. I slept all day yesterday.” – FSU defensive end DeMarcus Walker on the day after the Ole Miss game; FSU’s campus was closed Tuesday due to the aftermath of Hurricane Hermine.

  • Florida State is 21-0 all-time against Division I-AA/FCS teams. The Buccaneers are 0-16 against Division I/FBS teams, although they flirted with an upset at Vanderbilt before falling, 21-20, in 2014.
  • FSU has won 17 consecutive games in the months of August/September, the longest such streak in the nation.
  • This is FSU’s first time playing on four days’ rest since 2009, when the Seminoles followed up a 38-34 loss to Miami on Labor Day with a 19-9 victory over Jacksonville State the following Saturday.
  • Saturday marks the unveiling of the new Champions Club in the south end zone at Doak Campbell Stadium. The new, premium space features about 5,000 chairback seats, covered rooftop terraces and 70,000 square feet of air-conditioned, indoor space.
  • With three interceptions against Ole Miss, the Seminoles recorded multiple interceptions in a game for the 25th time under Fisher. The Seminoles are 22-2 in those games.
  • FSU’s 22-point comeback against Ole Miss was the largest in a victory in school history and the eighth time under Fisher that the Seminoles have rallied to win after trailing by 14-plus points.

If you’d like to get a feel for the Bucs under Chadwell’s tenure, here’s a handy video of the top-10 moments of his time at Charleston Southern: (Note, this video was produced prior to last year’s run to the FCS playoff semifinals.)

Bob Ferrante of the Osceola details Dalvin Cook’s contributions in the passing game against Ole Miss.

Corey Clark of the Tallahassee Democrat says the Seminoles are the kings of comebacks in college football.

Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel believes that Deondre Francois has lived up to the ‘Famous Jameis’ hype.

David Shelton of the Charleston Post and Courier takes a look at CSU quarterback London Johnson, who will make his first start on Saturday.

Barring a virtually impossible string of bad fortune, Florida State will win this game and move to 2-0. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be some compelling hurdles for the Seminoles to clear. After last week’s stumble out of the gate, a sharp, crisp first half — especially after a truncated week of practice —would be a welcome sight. So would signs of progress on the offensive line and on defense, particuarly if the Buccaneers move up-tempo. Keep in mind that this is FSU’s first and only tune-up before next week’s visit to Louisville, a game that will likely pit two top-15 teams against each other and shape the ACC Atlantic race for the rest of the season.

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