Florida State's defense made it clear from the opening snap that the Louisiana Monroe Warhawks had no chance to win. Or score. The Seminoles' defense held the Warhawks to just 190 yards on 61 plays, an excellent 3.1 yards-per-play. The 'Noles defensive line was dominant, and FSU rotated the first, second and even third string units regularly. The coverage on Louisiana Monroe's receivers was excellent from the first team of Greg Reid, Mike Harris, Xavier Rhodes, Lamarcus Joyner and Terrance Parks. And the linebackers pursued the ball well.
It was known that ULM's defense was much better than its offense, and that was evident Saturday. The 'Noles managed 6.2 yards per play (367 on 62 plays). As Seminole fans have seen before, Jimbo Fisher elected to use this de facto preseason game as practice for the passing game with new quarterback EJ Manuel. In the first half FSU called 23 passing plays and only 11 running plays. It was an up and down day for Manuel, as he made some excellent throws and also missed some open passes. It was clear that the very-mobile Manuel was under strict orders not to run much, and Florida State ran none of its typical option plays. Manuel finished 22-34 (65%) for 251 yards with two touchdowns and 1 interception. It was a good, but not great, day for an athlete capable of much more if turned loose.
The offense felt disjointed, and 'Nole fans will hope that is a result of the very limited time the offensive line had to work together during fall practice due to injury. Compliments should be paid to the receivers, especially Rodney Smith, who looked much better than he did last season. The blitz pickup from the running backs was superb (including Ty Jones).