The Gulf Coast Offense has risen, and the Seminoles are playing complimentary football for the first time this season.
After rightfully being called out for abysmal play last week, the offensive line deserves credit for keeping Francois relatively clean. 12 was sacked just one time on a drop back where there was decent protection and Francois probably should’ve gotten the ball out of his hands.
Francois has been efficient throwing the ball, going 19 of 24 for 233 yards and a touchdown.
Additionally, Francois has looked far more confident when keeping the ball. The ‘Noles even ran successful quarterback power on back to back plays. This has forced the Huskies to respect the quarterback run and opened up the offense.
The offense has run 54 plays at halftime compared to just 60 total last week against Syracuse. The ‘Noles are averaging 5.14 yards a play.
Florida State’s opening drive saw them do something they have struggled to do all year: sustain possession. Granted, they caught two major breaks in a tipped pass that should’ve been an interception and another tipped pass that landed in the hands of Jacques Patrick, which went for a touchdown, capping off a 13 play drive.
The ‘Noles will take the luck where they can get it. In the other 11 plays of the drive, Florida State looked sharp in their execution, nickel and diming the Husky defense.
After going up 14-0 in the first quarter, there was a confidence on offense that hasn’t been there the first three weeks of the season. A fourth and one was converted by RB Jacques Patrick, unfortunately Patrick fumbled, and the Huskies took over possession.
The offense slowed down considerably early in the second quarter. Poor field position and a fumble by TE Tre McKitty in Florida State territory left the defense in a bad spot.
They would rebound with a 39-yard bomb complete to Keith Gavin. An encouraging play as Francois has struggled to throw the deep ball this year.
After a bad snap went way over Francois’ head, the ‘Noles wouldn’t score another touchdown, but would head to halftime leading 20-7 thanks to two field goals.
The defense was locked in early forcing the Huskies to go three and out on their first three possessions. They wouldn’t give up a first down until five minutes in to the second quarter.
Harlon Barnett continues to see stellar play out of his young defensive backs. While there have been times when NIU receivers have shaked free, Cyrus Fagan and Asante Samuel have either been able to recover, or were bailed out by over throws.
The young DB’s have also set the tone on defense with some big hits on NIU’s pass catchers.
Unlike the younger DB’s behind him, Levonta Taylor has continued his underwhelming start to the season. Touted as a possible early round draft pick nationally, Taylor has struggled this season. Those struggles continued as Taylor was beat badly for a touchdown on a double move from NIU’s Jauan Wesley.
Ricky Aguayo is back? The kicker has been impressive, nailing both of his field goal attempts, from 42 and 50 yards. He is also 2/2 on extra points.
Aguayo desperately needed a turnaround game after starting the season just one for four on his field goal attempts.
Field position has been much better, although the ‘Noles still had one offensive drive start from inside their own five yard line.
D.J. Matthews has been shifty returning punts for the Seminoles, and broke a long return before it was called back on a holding penalty.