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Five questions, five answers: FSU blows Southern Miss out in home opener

No. 4 Seminoles drop 66 points on the Golden Eagles

Charles Mays/Tomahawk Nation

No. 4 Florida State dropped 66 points in its 2023 home opener Saturday night, blowing out the Southern Miss Golden Eagles to start the season 2-0 ahead of next week’s ACC opener.

The Seminoles were able to get their depth into the game early on in the second half, with those players holding their own to hold the Golden Eagles to just 13 points scored on the night.

What are some of the main takeaways from the win? Tomahawk Nation’s Jon Loesche, Jon Marchant and Perry Kostidakis break it down below.

How concerned are you with Florida State’s second slow start of the season?

Jon Loesche: Hangover was expected after an emotional win over LSU to start the season. FSU played a C- first half and still went to the half with a 31-3 lead over a likely bowl team. Not concerned at all.

Jon Marchant: A little, but it’s impossible to be upset with the final result. I assume this team knows they can’t do this against legit competition.

Perry Kostidakis: Keeping an eye on it, but not overtly concerned. Is it something you’re hoping is figured out before the Seminoles face off against Clemson? Of course. Is it enough to complain about after the margin of the wins the last two weeks? Not even a little.

Who were you most impressed with on Saturday night?

Jon Loesche: Hard to think of anything more impressive than this:

Jon Marchant: The depth of FSUs roster? If I had to pick one player of course I’d go with Keon Coleman, who is a star, but I also liked what Caziah Holmes and many other players did in the 2nd half.

Perry Kostidakis: FSU’s stable of running backs, which continues to get deeper and deeper. Each of Florida State’s backs is capable of taking perfect advantage in their short time on the field — Trey Benson had the most attempts of any back of the night with 9, averaging 8.8 yards per carry, while Caziah Holmes averaged 15.8 on four, Lawrance Toafili averaged 10.3 on four and Rodney Hill 6.2 on five.

After two games, what concerns do you have on offense? Defense?

Jon Loesche: The offense continues to have self-inflicted wounds on several fronts. For the second straight game Jordan Travis underthrew receivers and left points on the board. On defense, the injury to Akeem Dent is going to be something to watch.

Jon Marchant: The offense hasn’t looked crisp to start a game. The offensive line. The secondary. Never be satisfied also means anxiety. They started slow, which is a bad sign, but ended up putting up 66 on a good G5 team, which is absolutely absurd. Both games have shown how good they are but also how much better they can be. Peak frustrating and exciting.

Perry Kostidakis: Echoing the Jons, the way that the offense has failed to execute efficiently through two weeks of play right off the bat. It’s wild to be able to say that about a team that has been arguably the most impressive on the field this season, but it’s true that there have been a multitude of self-inflicted issues that have prevented major wins from being slightly more major.

Who are you still looking on to step up as the Seminoles enter ACC play?

Jon Loesche: Johnny Wilson. Several of his drops tonight would’ve been drive-killers vs. Clemson. He needs to become more reliable if he wants to live up to that 1st round-draft pick hype.

Jon Marchant: I have to agree on Wilson. He’s so good he’s always open. But he’s even less reliable than he was last season, with 7 drops in less than 6 quarters so far in 2023. FSU needs him, but how do you trust him?

Perry Kostidakis: Echoing myself earlier, I’m echoing the Jons here. Johnny Wilson’s dropsies have been more prevalent early on in 2023 than they seemingly were last season, especially with the trust he earned in 2022 as a go-to big play receiver. With the skill that surrounds him, if the issues continue, you could Travis start to look to others on third down.

Which running back were you most impressed with in the win?

Jon Loesche: Trey Benson. Once he got going he looked like a man among boys.

Jon Marchant: For fun, I will go with Caziah Holmes. There’s so much good depth and talent for FSU at RB, but Caziah looks like a future fixture on this offense.

Perry Kostidakis: Holmes for me as well — we know that Toafili and Benson are great, but being able to see Holmes get his own shine in his Doak Campbell debut was further reassurance that the talent in Florida State’s running back room is endless.