Saturday served as a boost of morale for the struggling Florida State Seminoles as they defeated Delaware State on homecoming 77-6.
The 77 points scored are second all-time in school history, only behind FSU’s 80-14 rout of Idaho in 2013. The ’Noles also scored 77 points in 1995 vs. NC State.
Although the spread favored Florida State by more than 50 points, Delaware State made it a much closer match through the first half of the opening quarter. On its first two drives, the Hornets ran 15 plays for 125 yards which included three plays for more than 24 yards. While coverage did falter, leading to those large chunk plays, it was more from the over eagerness of FSU’s secondary than technique. Coming into the game, DSU had thrown 16 interceptions in 10 games which was the perfect remedy for a unit that has had trouble forcing turnovers all season. Before Saturday, the Seminoles were second to last in the FBS with eight forced turnovers.
From that point on, the Delaware State offense threw an interception on the first play of a drive, turned the ball over on downs, and then had nine consecutive three and outs. The hornets lost six yards on those 31 plays.
Despite the 56 points put up in the first half by Florida State, the Seminoles only had 287 yards of total offense.
Tarvarus McFadden scooped up a blocked Delaware State field goal and returned it for a touchdown. On the very next Hornets drive, Derwin James recorded his first career touchdown on an interception return.
D.J. Matthews, Florida State’s punt returner, also played a big role in the lack of total yards. The true freshman was having such success, his return’s set up the FSU offense close to the end zone. Four of the final six first half FSU drives started in Delaware State territory. He finished the day with 138 yards on punt returns. Coming into the game, Florida State had 73 combined punt return yards in its first nine games.
Up by such a large margin at the half forced both teams’ head coaches to agree to play the second half with 10 minute quarters. By that time, Florida State’s reserves, including QB J.J. Cosentino, entered the game. Walk-on QB Jake Rizzo even got some playing time late in the fourth quarter.
It was a great senior day for senior RB Ryan Green who scored two touchdowns and ran for 96 yards on seven carries.
It was nothing more of an exhibition on Saturday vs. Delaware State who has won five games since the start of the 2014 season, including an imperfect 0-11 season in 2016.
James Blackman threw for 179 yards and three touchdowns before being replaced with under a minute left until halftime. Freshman RB Cam Akers added 44 rushing yards on nine carries and a touchdown. Jacques Patrick added two touchdowns on three carries.
The Seminoles, now 4-6 on the season, travel to UF next Saturday as they continue their quest for bowl eligibility.