Whether it answers the question of who Kendal Briles wanted to play all along or not, James Blackman got the start for the Seminoles with Jordan Travis as his backup and we would see both in FSU’s victory over Boston College.
Other than a rocky start on the first drive where Blackman missed on two would-be touchdown throws—one an underthrown ball to Tamorrion Terry, the other an overthrow of an open Gabe Nabers in the end zone—he found his rhythm and was excellent throughout the game.
It wasn’t quarterback play holding FSU back today, but drops and penalties plagued them throughout.
A microcosm of today’s struggles came on a three-play sequence of Keith Gavin dropping a possible touchdown, Akers getting stuffed trying to convert on 3rd and 1, and then Florida State being called for breaking the huddle with too many men on 4th down. The ’Noles would punt, leaving Briles livid on the sideline.
FSU would eventually clean it up enough to hit on big plays, including a 74-yard touchdown pass to Tamorrion Terry. Blackman threw a perfect ball while getting leveled and Terry did the rest—both were difference makers for FSU on the day.
FSU would head into the half at a respectable 8.2 yards per play, but while drops are always part of the game, that number could have been a whole lot higher.
The ’Noles would start with the ball in the second half and drove the ball down to the edge of the red zone thanks to stellar play by Blackman, whose ability avoid pressure by stepping up in the pocket and using his legs to get yards was on full display today.
Enter: Jordan Travis.
Travis, like fellow transfer quarterback Alex Hornibrook, would score on his first snap with the Seminoles, running in for a 26-yard score on a zone read.
All and all, the second half didn’t look much different on offense for FSU. Penalties and drops continued to be a problem as FSU would finish with 11 penalties for 61 yards.
An illegal formation penalty negated Tamorrion Terry’s touchdown and Tre’Shaun Harrison and Camren McDonald both had bad drops in the second half.
Even Cam Akers wasn’t immune, as he bobbled a ball that was admittedly a poor throw (Blackman pointed to himself after the play).
Cam, of course, made up for it on a 13-yard rushing touchdown the very next play.
Despite miscues, FSU found a way to score 21 unanswered and change the tide of the game. However, they would be called upon again after BC executed a 90-yard, clock-eating scoring drive that tied the game.
D.J. Matthews taking a slant route 60 yards for a touchdown. A play in which he dove 5-yards to the pylon for the score.
With just under two minutes left in the game, did he score too fast?
Nope—Stanford Samuels made sure of that, intercepting the ball and giving it back to the offense. Jordan Travis would tack on his second score of the game, a 66 touchdown run, for good measure.
It’s a valid argument that, with the game in hand, Travis should have went down before scoring so the ’Noles could run the clock down. Luckily, the touchdown effectively did the same thing by ending the game and it’s hard to blame a kid who just broke free on his third touch ever for FSU.
Florida State finished the game with 524 yards on 57 plays, good enough for 9.2 yards per play and well exceeding expectations heading into the game. Is the Eagles’ defense ranked 100th on defense in SP+? Sure. But, FSU moved the ball effectively and if it weren’t for drops and untimely penalties, the final scoreline could have read a lot differently.
On top of that, James Blackman had one of his best days in an FSU uniform throwing for 346 yards and two touchdowns for an average of 19.2 yards per completion.