For the first time since 2012, the Noles opened up at Doak Campbell Stadium, defeating the Texas State Bobcats 59-16. Under Jimbo Fisher, the Seminoles are undefeated on opening day, winning each of the last six years.
Florida State started off the game on defense, stalling the Texas State offense at their own 34 yard line. The Noles then took possession and had no trouble reaching the end zone with Dalvin Cook ending an 85 yard drive with a one-yard touchdown run.
Late in the first quarter, after an excellent play by Jalen Ramsey, Texas State turned the ball over on downs, giving the Noles excellent field position. They capitalized quickly, with Dalvin Cook scoring his second touchdown of the quarter on a 28-yard touchdown run on just the third play of the 58-yard drive.
Early in the second quarter, Texas State got on the board ending a 70-yard drive, including a successful fake punt, with a short field goal, making it a 14-3 game. After empty drives for the Noles and then the Bobcats, Texas State took over at the FSU 29-yard line after a missed punt catch by Marquez White. It took two plays for the Bobcats to score and make it a 14-10 game.
Florida State answered Texas State with a touchdown of their own, with Mario Pender ending a 63-yard drive with a touchdown run. Dalvin Cook was the main source of that drive, however, going 44 yards on just three attempts. The Noles went into halftime with a 21-10 lead.
In the first half, Florida State's defense allowed 132 yards on 38 plays, an average of 3.5 yards/play, while the offense racked up 240 of its own on 32 plays, good for 7.5 yards/play. On the whole, the offense and defense had solid first halves -- performances partially obscured on the scoreboard by the numerous special teams blunders.
After returning the opening kickoff of the second half, the Noles continued to stick to the ground game, running eight of the 11 plays on the drive which ended with Everett Golson's first touchdown pass in a Florida State uniform, a five yard throw to Travis Rudolph. On the very next FSU drive, Golson connected with Ryan Izzo on a 13-yard touchdown pass to extend the lead to 25.
Just over a minute into the fourth quarter, Golson added his third touchdown pass of the night, a 14-yard strike to Jesus "Bobo" Wilson. After a three and out by Texas State, Golson answered for the third straight drive, connecting with Ja'Vonn "Pigg" Harrison for a 55-yard touchdown pass, Golson's fourth of the game, to make it a 49-10 game. Texas State added a touchdown in their next drive against mostly reserves in the Florida State defense.
Sean Maguire then entered the game, and added a 24-yard touchdown pass to Jonathan Vickers, making it a 40 point Florida State lead. After a fumble recovery by the Noles, Roberto Aguayo connected with his first field goal of the season, a 22-yard kick. Those would be the last points FSU would score, ending the game with a 59-16 victory.
Despite missing 45 days worth of practice due to an indefinite suspension, Dalvin Cook showed that he was ready, scoring the first two FSU touchdowns and rushing for 156 yards on 19 attempts. Everett Golson also shined in his first start in Tallahassee, going 19-25 with 302 yards and four touchdowns, completing a pass to nine different Florida State receivers. Mario Pender was also a contributor to the victory, having 126 all purpose yards and a rushing touchdown. Cook and Pender were very active, touching the ball on 37 occasions. The Noles would up with 636 yards of total offense, giving up 300 yards to Texas State.
Special teams were an issue, as the Noles botched a pair of punt returns, allowing Texas State to recover one, and score. Roberto Aguayo also had two kick-offs go out of bounds, and the punt return unit fell victim to a fake punt which resulted in a Bobcat first down.
The Seminoles will remain home next week and take on in-state opponent, the University of South Florida Bulls, for an early 11:30 A.M. kickoff.