November 17, 2017 - by
First and 10: Florida State vs. Delaware State

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida State will honor its seniors before kickoff against Delaware State, then look to pick up the first of three straight wins needed to reach bowl eligibility for the 36th straight season. Here are the names, numbers and notes you need to know.

1. Game on

Florida State (3-6, 3-5 ACC) vs. Delaware State (2-8, 2-6 MEAC)
When/Where: Saturday, noon/Doak Campbell Stadium (79,560) in Tallahassee, Fla.
TV/Radio: Raycom/Seminole IMG Radio Network/SiriusXM Ch. 193


2. Know Your Foe

Delaware State Hornets
Coach: Kenny Carter (3-29 in three seasons at Delaware State)
Last game: Delaware State slipped past Morgan State, 33-30, with a go-ahead touchdown pass and two-point conversion with nine seconds to play. Hornets QB Keenan Black threw for 234 yards and four touchdowns.
Last game vs. Florida State: First meeting

3. Storylines
  • Despite everything that has led up to this point, the Seminoles still have some significant goals within reach: If FSU wins its three remaining regular season games, it will even its record at 6-6 and reach a bowl game for the 36th consecutive season. And if FSU were to go on and win its bowl game, it would finish with a winning record for the 41st straight season. Each of those streaks are the longest active runs in the nation, and both Jimbo Fisher and players have said that maintaining that standard – which dates back to the earliest days of the Bobby Bowden era – is important to them.
  • Saturday marks both Senior Day and Homecoming at Florida State. The Seminoles will honor the last remaining members of their 2013 national championship team – Nate Andrews, Matthew Thomas, Ryan Green and Ro’Derrick Hoskins – as well as cornerstone four-year seniors like Derrick Nnadi, Jacob Pugh and Rick Leonard. The Seminoles are 56-12-1 on homecoming, which includes a 5-2 mark under Fisher.
4. Ones To Watch

Delaware State: Freshman receiver Trey Gross is the Hornets’ best bet to score a touchdown. After sitting for DSU’s first three games, the 6-3, 200-pounder has caught 24 passes for 394 yards and seven touchdowns in his last eight games.

On defense, cornerback Keyjuan Selby can make life tough on opposing passing games. The preseason third-team All-MEAC selection has 10 pass breakups, an interception and 53 tackles on the season.

Florida State: Normally this might be a good game for a freshman running back to emerge. But seeing as Cam Akers has played a key role throughout the season, perhaps this is the week that Amir Rasul gets some extended action. The sophomore has looked pretty good in limited work this season, averaging 4.1 yards per carry and six yards per catch.

On a similar note, expect to see plenty of freshmen defenders on Saturday. Hamsah Nasirildeen has made an increasingly large impact throughout the season, and, his road to an even bigger role in the future could begin against the Hornets.

First and 10: Florida State vs. Delaware State
5. Numbers To Know

Total offense: FSU: 324.6 YPG (119th nationally); DSU: 289.4 YPG (101st in FCS)
Scoring offense:  FSU: 18.1 PPG (119th); DSU: 15.2 PPG (112th)
Passing offense: FSU: 194.4 YPG (90th ); DSU: 216.6 YPG ( 49th)
Rushing offense: FSU: 130.1 YPG (103rd); DSU: 72.8 (118th)

Total defense: FSU: 363.6 YPG (37th); DSU: 430.7 YPG (101st)
Scoring defense: FSU: 25.0 PPG (53rd); DSU: 34.3 PPG (106th)
Passing defense: FSU: 198.8 YPG (36th); DSU: 275.6 YPG (116th)|
Rushing defense: FSU: 164.8 YPG (62nd); DSU: 155.1 YPG (67th)

6. They Said It
  • “Same way. With the amount of film that is out there, you can see what they do and how they do it. And, of course, you talk to other people that have played them and guys you know that do it.” – FSU coach Jimbo Fisher on how to prepare for an unfamiliar opponent
  • “Jimbo’s here forever. As long as he wants to be, he’s good. He’s as good as gold. He’s going to be here.” – FSU president John Thrasher
  • “It’s the same offense I’ve ran since 1993 or 1994. It’s about three-quarters of the old Coach (Bobby) Bowden offense that I grew up in, that’s been here forever and ever and ever and ever. The philosophies and concepts, if you go to Alabama, I know, they still call all their stuff what I called it at LSU. It’s still the same plays at Georgia and different places. It’s extremely similar to that and the complexity of things.” –Fisher, when asked if his offense is more complex than a typical collegiate offense
  • “It means a lot to me. We all came in at the same time. I’m happy for the guys that are leaving and I want to make sure they go out the right way.” – FSU offensive lineman Derrick Kelly, a redshirt junior and member of FSU’s recruiting class of 2014
7. Nole Notes
  • FSU will honor 17 seniors before the game: DB Nate Andrews, LS Stephen Gabbard, RB Ryan Green, LB Ro’Derrick Hoskins, WR Jared Jackson, WR Malique Jackson, WR Ermon Lane, OL Rick Leonard, DB Trey Marshall, LB Jamario Mathis, DT Derrick Nnadi, LB Jacob Pugh, LB Matthew Thomas, LB Richard Garzola, WR Bobby Lyons, DB Herbans Paul, OL Joshua Peters
  • When this week’s College Football Playoff rankings came out on Tuesday, FSU became the only team of the CFP era to have played the Nos. 1, 2 and 3 teams in a single weekly ranking. The Seminoles played No. 1 Alabama, No. 2 Clemson and No. 3 Miami, and the NCAA ranks FSU’s schedule as the fifth-hardest in the nation.
  • Florida State is 22-0 all-time against the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) and 2-0 against the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. The Seminoles last played a MEAC opponent in 2013, when they beat Bethune-Cookman 54-6.
  • Saturday’s game will mark just the second time FSU will host a non-conference opponent for homecoming since joining the ACC in 1992 (Western Michigan, 2006).
  • Delaware State coach Kenny Carter served as the running backs coach for Urban Meyer at Florida from 2008-09, then was an assistant under Charlie Strong at Louisville from 2010-14. This is his first head coaching job.
  • Like FSU, Delaware State has suffered some key injuries this season. Sophomore running back Mike Waters, linebacker Malik Harris and center Cade Pedro, each a second-team preseason All-MEAC selection, have been lost to season-ending injuries.
8. Watch And Learn

Homecoming is a great time to dig up old FSU footage, and this one is a real gem: Rock ‘n roll icon Jim Morrison starring in a recruiting video for Florida State:

9. Further Reading
10. The Bottom Line

As Fisher noted in his Monday press conference, the Seminoles can’t win three games without first winning one game. And, to that end, he’d like to see his team put together a complete performance against what, on paper, looks to be an overmatched roster. That would mean good things for the final score, but, perhaps more importantly, could give the Seminoles a confidence boost heading into next week’s pivotal game at Florida.

And given everything that will be on the line next week – the Gators are probably FSU’s biggest hurdle to bowl eligibility – that would be a good thing.

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