Florida State had no trouble taking down Murray State in its opener, scoring more points in the first two minutes than the Racers did all game. It was exactly the type of dominating performance the Seminoles were looking for to start the season.
They face another FCS team on Saturday with Savannah State. The Tigers can't be in a good mood after getting beat by an eye-popping 84-0 score last week against Oklahoma State. The Cowboys scored at least two touchdowns in every quarter.
Now Florida State will attempt to secure its own blowout of the Tigers. Let's take a look at all the important information for Saturday's clash followed by a game preview.
Where: Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Fla.
When: Saturday, Sept. 8 at 6 p.m. ET
Listen: WHCJ 90.3 FM (Savannah State) or WNLS 1270 AM (Florida State)
Betting Line: TBA
Injury Report (via USA Today)
Savannah State: No injuries listed
Moses McCray (questionable, concussion), Daniel Foose (questionable, back), Josh Gehres (questionable, hamstring) and Anthony McCloud (questionable, chest)
Key Storyline: Are the Seminoles a national title contender?
Florida State entered the season ranked seventh in the country. That means two things. First, the Seminoles are definitely in the championship conversation. Second, they will need some outside help in order to move up the rankings.
Florida State doesn't have a team that was inside the preseason top 10 on its schedule, which will make it a little more difficult to make an impact on the voters. That said, it also gives them a better chance of making it through the regular season without a loss.
All told, Florida State finds itself in a promising position, but it won't be until the team faces off with better competition that fans will get a true read on where the Seminoles stand.
Top 25 Implications
Since Florida State decided to start the season with two lower-level opponents, it shouldn't expect much movement in the polls. It's basically just a chance for the Seminoles to hold their ground until they get ACC play underway.
Even though facing a couple FCS squads isn't the ideal way to improve a team's stock, it minimizes the risk of getting upset and having national title hopes get dashed right away. It won't be until season's end until we know if the approach paid off for Florida State.
What They Are Saying
Florida State's defense suffered a huge setback when it was revealed defensive end Brandon Jenkins would miss the rest of the season with a foot injury. Fisher acknowledged Jenkins' importance in a report from Ira Schoffel of the Tallahassee Democrat:
Brandon is not only a tremendous player, but a great person, teammate and leader that we will miss. I know he’ll bounce back and recover to continue a great career.
Savannah State Player To Watch: Alex Simmons
There weren't many bright spots for Savannah State in its opener. The Tigers were no match for Oklahoma State, and it showed right away. It will be interesting to see what type of impact that will have on the team moving forward.
One player that did at least give Tigers fans reason to cheer was Simmons. The freshman running back gained 40 yards on nine carries, including a 19-yard burst, which was the longest gain the offense had in the big loss.
Another struggle on offense is likely against the stout Florida State defense, but maybe Simmons can break off a long run or two to spark a scoring drive.
Florida State Player To Watch: James Wilder Jr.
Wilder made it look easy in Week 1. He rushed for 106 yards on just 12 carries and scored two touchdowns. The sophomore is already closing in on his totals from all of last season, numbers he should break on Saturday.
Florida State should be able to build an early lead, so there will be plenty of carries available for the Seminoles running backs. Wilder can earn himself more playing time moving forward with another electric performance.
Every offense needs a game-breaking player. Somebody who can change the course of the game in an instant, and it certainly looks like Wilder is ready to fill that role for the FSU.
Key Matchup: Tigers pass defense vs. E.J. Manuel
Savannah State allowed Oklahoma State to throw for 287 yards and three touchdowns. That included a perfect 11-of-11 showing for Cowboys freshman QB Wes Lunt. The Tigers' task won't get any easier on Saturday.
Manuel didn't exactly light the world on fire in first game, but he didn't have to. He completed 16-of-22 passes for 188 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Look for Florida State to try to work out any remaining kinks against the Racers.
The Seminoles should be able to put the game away in the first quarter just like they did in Week 1. The players have to understand it will get a lot tougher once this game ends, though.
Florida State 63, Savannah State 0
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