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Florida State football starts strong, finishes slow in loss to Boise State

The offense was impressive early, but struggled to do anything significant in the second half

NCAA Football: Florida State at Boise State Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports

Florida State is 0-1 to start off a football season for the third year in a row.

Its season opener against Boise State had as much drama that a game relocated to a different city in the wake of a hurricane should be expected to have, but in a way that felt all too familiar to the Seminoles.

Florida State shocked early by producing positive offensive plays, aided by an early fumble recovery, and took a 31-13 lead heading into halftime. Touchdowns of 38 yards (a run by Cam Akers), 75 yards (a catch-and-run on a screen by Tamorrion Terry) and 58 yards (a catch from Keyshawn Helton) showcased the new-look Seminoles offense, and quarterback James Blackman started off with an impressive management of it.

Fault lines began showing early, however, with Florida State’s inability to stop Boise State’s rushing attack. The Broncos were able to run with ease throughout the entire game, a result of having the nation’s third-most experienced offensive line, and true freshman Hank Bachmeir performed admirably as well, standing tall in the pocket despite consistent pressure and hitting throws when the Boise State needed them most.

The second half erased all the bubbly feelings leftover from the first, with FSU only registering 40 yards in the third quarter and failing to put up any points. Meanwhile, Boise State began the process of chipping away at the Seminoles’ lead, scoring with just under three minutes left in the third to make things a five-point game.

Florida State’s defense, already struggling with its backers and at the line of scrimmage in the first half, began to show more signs of wear, especially as the Seminoles’ offense stagnated and forced the defense on the field more and more often. Eventually, an 11-play, four-minute drive to end the third and start the fourth quarter gave the Broncos a 33-31 lead, increased to a five-point lead by a 30-yard field goal with just under 7:30 left.

Following a strip-sack on third-and-long and some impressive footwork on D.J. Matthews on a return that should’ve been down on the three-yard line, the Florida State offense had 2:25 on the clock and one last chance to make some things happen.

One first down, one holding and one illegal formation later, the game was over.

There was a lot to like from Florida State in its season opener, but a lot more to be frustrated at. The limitations on the team seemed at points to be from more of an organizational standpoint rather than talent, a repeat of the issues seen in 2018 and beyond.