Category Archives: Florida State University

Column: Three takeaways from Willie Taggart’s first win as FSU Head Coach

Alec Chessari, Correspondent on (@AlecChessariFS Twitter)
 

TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net)

Royal A. Shepherd | Franchise Sports Tallahassee

 

Offense Not Looking Lethal

The “Lethal Simplicity” of the offense looks almost as if it’s too simple and the opposing defenses already know when what play is going to be called.  The short bubble screens are getting stopped behind the line of scrimmage because receivers can’t hold their blocks and the offensive line is looking as bad as it did last year. Having to shuffle guys in and out to find the right lineup during the game isn’t working and the penalties are piling up through the first two weeks. 

The Seminoles had two pass completions of 20-plus yards get called back by the offensive line penalties.  Despite all the hits, redshirt junior quarterback Deondre Francois took he still managed to have another impressive game as far as his efficiency. Francois completed 31 of his 46 pass attempts for 320-yards and three touchdowns.  Florida State is still searching for the running game, but hopefully, that will come when the offensive line can pull through and hold their blocks.

Royal A. Shepherd | Franchise Sports Tallahassee
RB Cam Akers and WR Nyqwan Murray head to the locker room before kickoff.

FSU Struggling to Run the Ball

Despite having one of the best running backs in the county and a senior leader in the backfield, the Seminoles still aren’t able to run the ball. Going into the season,  fans expected to see a lot more big run plays with the way the gulf coast offense should work.

Sophomore running back Cam Akers was projected to have big numbers and so far hasn’t been what the fans expected.  Akers carried the ball 14 times for 76 yards against the Samford Bulldogs. His longest rush of the day was 14 yards.  Senior running back Jacques Patrick carried the ball 13 times for 44 yards with a long of 13. 

The run game could be struggling due to a lack of blocking by the offensive line, which at this point should almost be expected.  The Seminoles lost a big-time running back in redshirt freshman Khalan Laborn on a kick return. Head coach Willie Taggart confirmed Laborn has a dislocated knee.

Defense Getting Walked On

The Seminoles defense was as close to absent as you can get in the first half against the Samford Bulldogs, an FCS school.   The defense gave up 341-yards in the first half and 525-yards total.  Despite the Seminoles defensive front being able to contain the Bulldogs running backs (holding them to only 50-yards rushing the entire game), the secondary was getting torched. The defensive backs could not break up a deep ball for anything. 

The Bulldogs figured out the go-to play was a lob deep down the field, and surprisingly, completed several such passes.  The first play for the Bulldogs went for a 54-yard bomb which resulted in a touchdown.  The Bulldogs had two receivers catch a ball for 50-plus yards and both receivers had over 95-yards receiving. After the loss to Virginia Tech Defensive Coordinator Harlon Barnett expressed he wanted more turnovers from his defense.  His defense listened and forced five turnovers.  Sophomore nose guard Marvin Wilson forced a fumble and sophomore defensive back Cyrus Fagan recovered it.  Junior corner back Kyle Meyers had two interceptions, Senior defensive back AJ Westbrook had one interception and Junior corner back Levonta Taylor had a late pick six to seal the win for the Seminoles 36-26.

The Seminoles have their first road game of the season were they will be traveling to Syracuse to take on the Orange. Kickoff will be 12:00 P.M.

 

Willie Taggart and Noles Get First Win of The Season


Royal A. Shepherd (RoyalShepherdFS on Twitter), Director

TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) – Willie Taggart’s offense got its first touchdown of the season after 70 minutes, 57 seconds of game time. He also collected his first win as the head coach at FSU.

A 33-point favorite, Florida State didn’t lead the game until the fourth quarter in the 36-26 nailbiter win over the Samford Bulldogs at Doak Cambell Stadium on Saturday.

Taggart said the slugfest was a solid first win for his team. He acknowledged the team’s desire to play better on offense, but said he would take the wins however they come.

“Good win for the Noles,” he said. “It was good to see our guys find a way to come back and get a win after we started slow and weren’t playing as well. I thought it was a great team victory.”

Offensively, FSU continued to struggle up front. Despite only giving up one sack, Seminole quarterback Deandre Francois was hit frequently. He would finish the game 31-46 for 320 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Cam Akers paces the Noles on the ground with 76 yards on 14 carries. In total, the team had 134 rushing yards, averaging 3.8 yards a carry.  

The Noles gave up 525 yards of total offense to the Bulldogs, including 475 through the air from senior quarterback Devlin Hodges. Hodges completed 39 of 60 passes with two touchdowns and four interceptions. 

Samford scored on its first play from scrimmage on a 54-yard bomb from Hodges to senior receiver and Bradenton native, Kelvin McKnight. Cooper Cross failed to connect on the extra point attempt, leaving the score at 6-0. 

Royal A. Shepherd | Franchise Sports Tallahassee
FSU lines up late in the fourth quarter.

The Bulldogs would get another score in the first when senior running back Roland Adams plowed his way into the endzone from two yards out. This time Cross would convert the PAT, increasing the lead to 13-0.

The Seminoles would get their first touchdown of the season on a 27-yard hookup from quarterback Deondre Francois to wideout Tamorrion Terry to cut the Bulldogs lead to six.

Freshman kicker Mitchell Fineran added a 30-yard field goal to push the Bulldog lead to 16-7.

The Noles would trim the lead when Francois scored on an 8-yard keeper, cutting the deficit to two and bringing the score to 16-14. 

Despite Florida State’s back-to-back scores, Samford continued its onslaught with a 27-yard touchdown from Hodges to McKnight to extend the lead to 23-14. It was the pair’s second touchdown connection.

Francois would find Terry again in the second quarter on a 15-yard strike for a touchdown to cut the lead again to 23-21, where it would remain until halftime. 

Fineran’s late field goal with 7:58 left in the game gave Samford a 26-21 lead. 

 FSU would get the go-ahead touchdown with 4:03 left in the game when Francois found tight end Tre McKitty on a 5-yard pass into the endzone.  It gave the Noles a 29-26 lead, their first of the game.

McKitty said the play was designed for him and his only job was to make a play on the ball. 

“I was the first read,” McKitty said. “As soon as we left the huddle I knew the ball was coming to me.”

LeVonta Taylor returned an interception for a touchdown in the game’s final minutes to salt it away.

During a break in the game, Florida State played a video tribute for former Nole Burt Reynolds. Reynolds died on Thursday at the age of 82.

Samford will take on the Mercer Bears in their next contest. Florida State will travel to New York for a conference matchup against the Syracuse Orange in a noon kickoff on Sept. 15.

Taggart Era Kicks Off In Disappointing Fashion

Alec Chessari, Correspondent on (@AlecChessariFS Twitter)

TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net)

The Taggart era has officially started in front of a crowd of 75,237.  The No.19 Florida State Seminoles hosted the No.20 Virginia Tech Hokies in a season-opening conference matchup.  The Hokies beat the Seminoles 24-3.

Royal A. Shepherd | Franchise Sports Tallahassee
QB Deandre Francois lines up for another drive.

Florida State won the coin toss and differed, bringing the Hokies offense out first. The Hokies first drive was a quick walk to the end zone.  Virginia Techs redshirt sophomore quarterback Josh Jackson marched the offense on the field and immediately rushed them down for a touchdown.  Jackson found  redshirt sophomore  wide receiver Damon Hazelton in the corner of the endzone for a 10-yard touchdown.

The Seminoles opening drive didn’t quite go as well as they planned.  Florida States redshirt junior quarterback Deondre Francois had the offense moving completing a huge third down to junior wide receiver Keith Gavin for a 24-yard completion.  Francois then tosses to  wide receiver Nyqwan Murray for an eight yard loss and a fumble.  Virginia Tech recovered the fumble and took over the 35-yard line.

Florida State’s night only got worse from there.  The Seminoles punter Logan Tyler had his punt blocked from inside the 10-yard line and returned for a touchdown for the Hokies putting them up 17-3 right before the half.

The Seminoles had 11 drives that had less than 4 plays ran before the drive stalled, five drives were 3-and-outs.  Six of those eleven drives started behind the 20-yard line. The Seminoles average field position was at the 19-yard line and the Hokies average field position was at the 44-yard line.

If Virginia Tech had a turnover chain it would have been out all night long.  The Hokies forced five turnovers against the Seminoles three of them being interceptions and two forced fumbles.  The Hokies scored 10 points off the turnovers.

The Seminoles managed to make it to the redzone four times only to come up with three points.  Florida State had an opportunity to add more points just self inflicted wounds repeatedly killed them.  Starting kicker Ricky Aquayo missed a 32-yard field goal attempt wide left and Virginia Tech forced a fumble inside the 10-yard line on third and goal.  Unnecessary penalties on the Seminoles from the offensive line to jumping offsides on defense.

To seal the victory for the Hokies Jackson finds wide receiver Eric Kumah across the middle for a 49-yard touchdown with five minutes remaining in the game to put Virginia Tech up 24-3.

 

Photo Gallery: FSU vs. Virginia Tech

Royal A. Shepherd (RoyalShepherdFS on Twitter), Director

TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) –

 

Seminoles and Trojans End Match in Draw

Jason Merry, Correspondent (@JasonMerryFS on Twitter)

TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) – The Florida State Seminoles Women’s Soccer Team hosted the visiting University of Southern California Trojans at The Seminole Soccer Complex Friday night.

This cross-conference match marked the fifth game for the Seminoles and the fourth for the Trojans. The match ended in a 0-0 draw despite the Seminoles having six shots on goal and the game entering extra time.  Three of those shots on goal coming from Junior Forward Deyna Castellanos.

FSU Sports Information
Kirsten Pavlisko

Despite the draw, the Seminoles had more scoring opportunities with a total of 18 shots.  The Trojans only managed 6 shots. Although the shot difference was large each team had the same amount of corner kicks at 5. The draw keeps each team without a loss as the Seminoles are 4-0-1 and the Trojans are 3-0-1.

Brooke Bollinger started at goalkeeper for the Seminoles and Kaylie Collins was the starter for the Trojans.  The Seminoles put pressure on the Trojans quickly and had a shot that was off target by Castellanos in the first minute. The Seminoles continued the pressure getting off four shots in the first period compared to just two by the Trojans.  Each Keeper ended the first period with one save.

The second period had more shooting from the Seminoles, totaling eight to the Trojans two shots.  All of these shots by the Seminoles meant the Trojans’ Collins had a busy half saving four shots on goal. Sophomore midfielder Gloriana Villalobos, who was subbed in during the 24th minute, had one of her three shots during the second period.

The shooting for the Seminoles was widespread as nine different players attempted a shot.  Redshirt sophomore defender Malia Berkely and redshirt sophomore forward Kristen McFarland each had two shots total and one shot on goal. Out of the Trojans six total shots, freshman forward Penelope Hocking had four of them and had the only shots on goal for the Trojans.

Extra time had more of the same shooting from the Seminoles, as the Trojans tried to keep up.  The Seminoles managed six total shots during extra time while the Trojans only managed two. Collins had one save during the extra time.

The Seminoles return to action at home Sunday at 5:00 p.m. against the UCLA Bruins. This home game will be the third in a seven-game homestand. The Trojans will be staying in Florida to take on the University of Florida Gators on Sunday at 3:00 p.m.

 

PREVIEW: No.19 FLORIDA STATE SEMINOLES TAKE ON No.20 VIRGINIA TECH HOKIES

Royal A. Shepherd | Franchise Sports Tallahassee
Alex Krutchik | Franchise Sports Tallahassee

Alec Chessari, Correspondent on (@AlecChessariFS Twitter)

TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.netThe Taggart era officially kicks off against the No. 20 Virginia Tech Hokies football team on Labor day with a primetime 8:00 p.m. kickoff aired on ESPN.

The honorary captains for the game will be FSU legendary head coach Bobby Bowden and Virginia Tech’s legendary head coach Frank Beamer.

The Seminole fans have a lot of excitement and a lot of questions of what to expect this season.  The fans will get to witness the brand new fast-paced “Gulf Coast Offense” that Taggart has instilled in the program.  Taggart likes to call it “Lethal Simplicity” and it will be displayed against the Hokies.

The Seminoles have plenty of weapons on the offensive side of the ball. Returning former starter Deondre Francois (coming off a knee injury) and sophomore James Blackman (started last season). With Cam Akers, Khalan Laborn, Jacques Patrick at the running back positions all ready to start. Tamorrion Terry could have a breakout year this year alongside Nyqwan Murray for the wide receiver position.

Taggart has expressed his love for the old school Seminoles teams and decided the end zones will be themed like the 80’s and 90’s old school Seminoles for the prime time game against the Hokies.  The Seminoles will be rocking an all black and garnet uniform and are pushing for the fans to “Black out” Doak Campbell.

Alex Krutchik | Franchise Sports Tallahassee

Virginia Tech is coming off a tough off season as well losing a couple defensive players that left for the NFL draft, players injured or suspended.  Josh Jackson looking to lead the offense for the Hokies with his experience and dual threat capabilities.

Fuentes is undefeated (3-0) coaching against Taggart as a head coach.  The Seminoles lead the series against the Hokies 23-12-1.  Florida State won the last meeting between Virginia Tech 28-22 in 2012 at Blacksburg.  Last time the Hokies came to Tallahassee was in 2008 and the Seminoles won 30-20.

FSU QB BAILEY HOCKMAN TO TRANSFER

Alec Chessari, Correspondent on (@AlecChessariFS Twitter)

TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net)

Bailey Hockman has announced his decision to transfer from Florida State University after head coach Willie Taggart announced Deondre Francois would start game one for the Seminoles last Monday.

Hockman was in a three-way position battle with James Blackman and Francois all during summer workouts. He spoke highly on the competition and even after not getting the starting job, Hockman released a statement stating he will do whatever he needs to do for this program to win.

Coming out of high school, Hockman was a four-star pro-style quarterback with a 6’2″ frame.  He was ranked the 11th best Pro-style QB in his class and with high expectations for himself he expected to get the start after redshirting his freshman year.

In high school, Hockman combined for 6,058 total yards, 63 touchdowns, 17 interceptions, averaged 209 passing yards a game and completed 52.7% of passes as a three-year varsity starter.

With Hockman transferring that leaves the Seminoles football team with only two quarterbacks on scholarship this season.

This story will be updated when more information as to where Hockman will transfer is released.

 

Deondre Francois Named Starting Quarterback

Alex Krutchik, Correspondent (@AlexKrutchikFS on Twitter) 

TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) – For the first time in over a year, Deondre Francois will trot onto Bobby Bowden Field at Doak Campbell Stadium as the starting quarterback for the Florida State Seminoles.

Francois last appeared in the opening game against Alabama last September in Atlanta, Ga.  Francois exited the game in the fourth quarter after being tackled from behind. Later that week, it was revealed that he tore his patellar tendon in his right knee, and would miss the remainder of the 2017 season.

The redshirt junior won ACC Rookie of the year honors in 2016, posting a 20:7 touchdown-to-interception ratio and 3,350 yards with a 142.1 quarterback rating.

Francois was also competing with redshirt freshman Bailey Hockman and sophomore James Blackman, who replaced Francois last year.

Seminole fans have been longing for the start of this season after the hiring of head coach Willie Taggart. Last season’s 7-6 record was the worst at FSU since 2009.

No. 19 FSU opens the season against No. 20 Virginia Tech on Monday, Sept. 3 at 8 p.m.

Noles Capture First WCWS Title in School History

Royal A. Shepherd (RoyalShepherdFS on Twitter), Director

TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) – An 8-3 win over the Washington Huskies gave the Florida State softball team its first National Championship in the fastpitch era and third title overall on Tuesday.

Redshirt junior Meghan King led the come-from-behind victory from the pitcher’s mound. The lefty pitched seven innings, giving up five hits, three runs and struck out four.  

The Seminoles (58-12) are the third team in NCAA history to come through the loser’s bracket to win the WCWS title. Texas A&M did it in 1983 and UCLA accomplished the feat in 2003. 

Photo Courtesy of FSU Sports Information

The Huskies (52-10) jumped out to a three-run lead in the top of the first. Taylor Van Zee got things started with a leadoff single. She was able to score when Jessie Warren threw away a ball to the bag at first on a sacrifice bunt. A pop fly to shallow center fell between two Noles to allow another run to score and an RBI groundout by Taryn Atlee accounted for the final run. 

Florida State responded in the bottom of the first. Warren hit a single to left field to set up a two-run homer by Anna Shelnutt to cut the Huskies lead to 3-2.

In the second, Zoe Casas hit a double to left-center that was followed by a Cali Harrod walk. Two batters later, Elizabeth Mason gave the Noles their first lead of the game with a single to right-center. The hit allowed both Harrod and Casas to score, putting the Noles up 4-3. Warren then recorded an RBI single in the inning, increasing the Seminoles’ lead to 5-3.

In the third inning, Sydney Sherrill doubled to left-center. It was double number 29 on the year for the freshman, setting a new ACC record and tying the NCAA single-season mark.

Washington threatened the Noles in the fourth inning as the Huskies loaded the bases with a pair of singles and an error on King with two outs. King escaped the situation on a groundout to end the inning.

Two home runs for FSU in the fourth sealed the game and the title for the Lady Noles. Mason crushed a 2-2 pitch over the wall in center, giving FSU a 7-3 lead. Warren followed with a moonshot to center that gave her 13 total hits in the Women’s College World Series, tying the record for most hits in a single tournament.