Stop me if you've heard this one before: the Florida State offense struggled early on, and needed to rely on the Seminole defense until FSU found a rhythm and ran its opponent out of Doak Campbell Stadium. It's been a predictable script this year in Tallahassee, and it played out once again in the Seminoles' 52-13 win over the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Mocs on Saturday afternoon.
The 'Noles wasted little time in presenting UTC with early opportunities. Florida State's first possession, returning the opening kickoff, was fumbled away by Kermit Whitfield. The Mocs got the ball back after FSU's first offensive series, a sloppy three-and-out, as well. On each occasion, Chattanooga was able to move methodically down the field and into the red zone, draining time off the clock in the process (each drive took over five minutes).
But as it has all year, the 'Nole defense stiffened, and in each case allowed just a field goal. And field goals were never going to be enough for this UTC team. Especially not after those first couple series, when the FSU offense woke up.
After that initial fumble and three-and-out, Florida State scored on its next eight possessions. And, at least for a day, the 'Noles onquered their red-zone issues, as seven of those scores were touchdowns. The Seminoles' first-half touchdowns came on a one-yard plunge by Jacques Patrick, a 13-yard score off the edge by Dalvin Cook, and a Kermit Whitfield touchdown grab of 26 yards.
Mix in an early Roberto Aguayo 18-yard field goal, and FSU had a halftime lead of 24-6. The 'Noles kept the momentum when the second half commenced. After kicking off to Chattanooga, the first play of the second half was intercepted by Lamarcus Brutus. Whitfield continued his standout receiver play, snagging a 13-yard touchdown when Maguire hung in the pocket patiently and took a shot.
On the Mocs' next play from scrimmage, DeMarcus Walker forced a fumble that was required by Tyler Hunter, and the rout was on. Another Cook score (he posted 106 yards on 15 carries and two TDs). Then one by walk-on fullback Colton Plante, the first of his career, after Maguire, who finished 12-17 for 152 yards and two scores, was relieved by J.J. Cosentino midway through the third quarter. Everett Golson also saw some time, including handing off to Patrick for his second score of the day that capped the Seminole scoring.
The Mocs would add a garbage-time touchdown, but were nevertheless dominated by the FSU defense throughout, out gained 428 yards to 273. All things considered, the 'Noles got what they wanted out of the day: they emerged relatively healthy and had a chance to get all the seniors, and even some young players, into the game, while resting the starters for next week's trip to Gainesville.