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What we learned on offense from Florida State's win over Texas State

Here's a look at what we learned about FSU's offense from its 59-16 win over Texas State.

Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

The Florida State Seminoles' offense looked potent in its season opening win over Texas State. Everett Golson had a big second half and finished 19/25 for 302 yards and four touchdowns while Dalvin Cook and Mario Pender combined for 248 yards and three touchdowns in FSU's 59-16 season opening win.

The numbers came against an inferior defense, but credit FSU for handling its business-- something the Seminoles didn't always do against outmatched opponents last season.

Jimbo Fisher called a very good game, one that played to the strengths of his offense. That was evident from the outset when FSU put together a methodical opening drive, marching 85 yards in 10 plays to take an early 7-0 lead. Dalvin Cook looked sharp despite missing most of camp, amassing 116 yards and two TD's on 11 carries in just the first quarter-- running mostly behind G Kareem Are and T Roderick Johnson on the left side of the line.

The left side of the Seminole offensive line is elite, unfortunately for Florida State the right side of that offensive line showed plenty of room for improvement. Granted, offensive lines -- especially ones as young as FSU's -- take time to gel, but Texas State's lackluster defense was able to pressure Golson from that side and the Seminoles' attempts to run right were decidedly less successful than when FSU ran behind Are and Johnson. Redshirt Freshman Derrick Kelly had been the starter at RT for most of camp but was limited by an ankle injury which gave fellow RS FR Brock Ruble the start on Saturday. At RG Wilson Bell had a couple of penalties but was otherwise fairly solid in his first start for FSU.

Everett Golson

The graduate transfer from Notre Dame looked sharper as the game went along. Credit Fisher for calling a conservative game early on and establishing the run to help open up the passing game. In the early going Golson was rarely asked to drop back and instead threw out of play action or the shotgun the majority of the time.

He came alive in the second half though, throwing touchdown passes on four consecutive drives.

Midway through the third quarter Golson turned in his best drive of the evening when he took FSU 89 yards on ten plays and capped the drive with a beautiful 13-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Izzo in the back corner of the endzone.

The drive started with a 15-yard Mario Pender first down run, but really picked up when Golson connected with Ja'Vonn Harrison for a 22-yard pass over the middle on 3rd and 6 from the FSU 30. It was an elite throw placed perfectly into a small window-- something not a whole lot of other quarterbacks would have the capability or the confidence to do.

Golson followed it up with a beautiful deep ball that was catchable but off the finger tips of Kermit Whitfield down near the goal-line. On the next three plays Golson showcased his mobility, connecting with Ermon Lane down the sideline for 11, rushing for ten and then hitting Lane again on the sideline for 12 more. Two plays later he found Izzo for six.

If this is the level Golson is able to continue to play at for the rest of the season, FSU will be in good shape.

But he also has things to work on, as Fisher alluded to in his post-game press conference: "The first thing is communication. Getting us, getting the plays, getting [to] the line of scrimmage. I want to get to the line of scrimmage a little quicker. Got to process a little better getting us up there. We've got to have some more urgency."

Cook and Pender

"Those guys are dangerous, man," said Fisher when asked about FSU's one-two punch of Dalvin Cook and Mario Pender. Cook finished the night with 156 yards and two TD's on 19 carries while Pender rushed for 92 yards and a score on 14.

It was exactly the kind of night the Seminoles needed from their backs.

Cook is a known quantity, he rushed for over 1,000 yards as a true freshman, and even without the benefit of being in camp with his teammates looked the part of an All-American on Saturday night. His vision and instincts are top notch, he makes great cuts and he finishes runs. FSU is going to get its yards from Cook.

It's Pender that has the potential to make this Florida State rushing attack truly elite. Granted, FSU has to iron out the issues on the right side of its line, but a healthy Pender has the ability to add a very nice complement to Cook-- one that has a lot of shake and can catch the ball well out of the backfield.

If FSU can get this sort of production out of both backs on a regular basis -- and Jacques Patrick can add some additional brutality when called upon -- the Seminole run game will become truly fearsome.

But first Florida State has to prove it can do this against better competition. While Texas State's offense is solid, its defense is not as stout. It's unlikely the Seminoles -- who rolled up 266 yards on the ground and 636 total -- will face another defense that is as weak as this.

So don't book your ticket to Arizona yet, FSU is still in the show-me phase with its rushing attack and quarterback play-- but tonight was a good first step.

Looking at the Passing Game

In all, 13 different players caught passes on Saturday night with Travis Rudolph leading the way with four receptions for 44 yards and a touchdown. Jesus Wilson looked solid with three grabs for 53 yards and a score, while Ja'Vonn Harrison led the team with 77 yards on two receptions-- one of which went for a 55-yard TD. Izzo and Jonathan Vickers also caught TD passes as well.

FSU has a good group at receiver, but a young one. And that has the potential to create issues as the year progresses thanks to their inexperience coupled with Golson's lack of familiarity with the offense.

After the game Fisher admitted that Golson doesn't know the whole offense yet. Then he hedged a little, adding that there's a lot of offense to learn. But that also means the Seminoles aren't playing with a full deck. When you have young receivers, many of whom lack significant experience, and a QB who is still developing chemistry with them while also learning the offense it's tough to feel too confident that the passing attack is going to be completely reliable when you need it the most.

"There are still so many little, little things that you got by with tonight, but you've got to improve on. You've got to improve on," said Fisher.

"That's still a work in progress for us. But I was very pleased for the most part how things went for us tonight."