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Florida State football vs. Samford: Staff predictions

Anyone ready to be bullish on the Bulldogs?

NCAA Football: Virginia Tech at Florida State Tallahasse Democrat-USA TODAY NETWORK

FSU will once again host a primetime kickoff this weekend— even if it may not involve a big-name opponent. The Seminoles will welcome the Samford Bulldogs on Saturday evening at 7:20 pm, and even though it’s hardly a household name, Samford is one of the better FCS teams in the country. Still, Vegas has made the ’Noles heavy favorites. Here’s how we see things playing out.

Trey Rowland:

Unlike the performance of FSU’s defense on Monday night, there was nothing positive to be taken away from my prediction for the Virginia Tech game. But, as pop-rock gods Chumbawumba once powerfully stated, “I get knocked down, but I get up again.” And get up again I shall, starting with my prediction for this game against Samford. Vegas has the ’Noles favored by 33, but they won’t cover. Samford has a solid QB, and FSU still won’t have all of their offensive kinks worked out. Still, I predict the Seminoles to “tubthump” the Bulldogs by a final score of 42-20.


Hope is a funny thing. This week I’m full of hope. Hoping for more patience from Akers. Hoping for no injuries on the OL. Hoping for more involvement for Laborn, Terry, and Harrison. Hoping for more consistency from Gavin, Matthews, and Francois. Hoping for better coaching adjustments on offense and a similar performance on defense. Hoping that the improvement we saw from some defensive players through the course of the VT game carries into Saturday.

I’m mainly hoping for marked improvement and a more disciplined effort. Give me FSU, 38-17.

Evan Johnson:

After starting the season in about the worst way possible there’s only 1 way for FSU to go, right? Oh no, things could get worse...but I don’t think they will. Samford will likely score and the offense will continue to look disjointed at times, but I expect a much smoother process this time and not because the level of opponent has dropped. I’m banking on the fact that Willie Taggart and Co. ran into a perfect storm of players reverting to bad habits, nerves taking over, and the whole thing snowballing on the team. That doesn’t mean that this game will be smooth, as Samford QB Devlin Hodges is pretty good, and as FCS teams go, Samford is certainly no push over. Samford looks impressive early but Florida State gets things sorted out pretty quickly and pulls away in the mid-3rd quarter. FSU 45-24.

Jon Marchant:

Well, I think it's safe to say my optimism got the better of me. I was as shocked as everyone else at how disjointed and clunky the offense looked. I still think the Virginia Tech game was an insane confluence of factors both in and outside of Florida State's control. Unfortunately, some of the ones outside happened to be huge outliers, and it really exposed everything else. I think a lot of the offensive issues can and will get fixed, but when they get fixed is the real question. How good can this offense be this year, with this personnel? If facing a tough conference game in Week 1 wasn't fortunate, at least facing an FCS team in Week 2 is. Samford's quarterback Devlin Hodges is good, but Florida State should look a little smoother. I think Noles win 34-13.

Austin DeWitt:

There is no getting around it, Monday night left me in my feelings. It was the longest five hour ride home from Tallahassee I’ve ever experienced, and I was a glass case of emotion well into Tuesday. My first official Florida State football prediction couldn’t have been more wrong. But, I’ve come back to Earth, and so have my expectations. I bought in to the hype, as many did, and that’s OK. We’re on to Samford.

It would have been nice to start the season with this game. That said, it still won’t be a walk in the park. Samford QB Devlin Hodges is going to test the ’Noles. I expect this defensive effort will look similar to the outing against Virginia Tech. A well put together, disciplined, drive can get the better of this defense, but I expect them to settle down and improve on their performance from last week. Hopefully some of that turnover luck shifts in their favor.

Based on what we saw from the offense Monday night, that won’t be something that gets fixed in a week. Let’s pray we see more of Khalan Laborn. His performance against Virginia Tech certainly warranted more touches.

A stingy defense and better offensive execution leads the ’Noles to victory, 35-14.

Mark Sanders:

Thankful to move on from the debacle last Monday night. And thankful the FSU offense gets to face a defense with a similar scheme to what they see in practice. I expect FSU to put up a lot of points and probably give up a little more than we would hope for. Sounds like the Samford QB is legit. Let’s get healthy and let our players gain some confidence back. And please Francois, show us improvement in executing the offense. 45-21 FSU.


FSU came out Monday and laid an egg on national TV. The team and Willie both seemed totally shocked. Hopefully, the Seminoles can put that game in the past and treat this week like it’s a new season. If not, this could be closer than it should. FSU, 34-21

Kyle Griffis:

After Monday night, I don’t know what to expect. I do know Samford’s QB is pretty good. Maybe the ’Noles pull away in the second half, but I’m not confident this is an easy win. An offensive touchdown would be nice. I’ll take FSU 24-10.


I expect the offense will continue to struggle because I can’t see all the problems we witnessed last week being corrected in one week. It will take some time to get in sync, but this will be a good opportunity to get some more good reps in, in preparation for what’s coming up.

With that said, I expect FSU to win the game with another good defensive performance, but with a lower score than they should. FSU 34-17.


FSU 49, Samford 17. Get Healthy. Samford’s QB is good, so they’ll move the ball some.

Go ’Noles.

David Visser:

Samford is a serviceable FCS foe for Florida State, and you can rest assured that this is their Super Bowl. Furthermore, they’re certainly aware of the performance that the Seminoles just turned in. They’ll come out trying to do exactly what VT did— stun the ’Noles early and foster doubt. FSU needs to play mad but loose, and they’ve gotta have some thick skin and not get too down if/when something goes awry early.

Between mental toughness and offensive execution, I think the Seminoles’ biggest challenge will be between the ears more than between the sidelines. They’ll pass that test, but I’m not convinced it’ll be with flying colors. Samford 13, Florida State 37.

As always, be sure to check out the Nolecast for predictions from our Bud Elliott and Ingram Smith.