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.
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.
TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) – Florida A&M University head football coach Willie Simmons’ calling card has always been his offense. On Saturday, it was the former quarterback’s defense that shined in the Rattlers’ 41-7 win over the Fort Valley State Wildcats in Bragg Memorial Stadium.
FAMU’s defensive unit didn’t allow a single rushing yard from the Wildcat offense on the day. Fort Valley totaled -12 rushing yards in the game and 291 total yards on 55 offensive plays. Five different Wildcats ended the game with negative net yardage in the ground.
Despite this being Simmons’ first game at the helm, the team was clicking on all cylinders. Simmons said he is anxious to see where the team can go after this.
“These guys have worked extremely hard since I got here in December. They’re committed to doing things the right way. They’re committed to transforming this program to another level,” Simmons said. “They say the biggest jump for a team is from week one to week two. So I’m excited to see how big of a jump that we can make now that we have a game under our belt before the game next week.”
Sophomore linebacker Derrick Mayweather led the attack with five total tackles, including one tackle for loss and a sack. Freshman Kendrick Kelly also added five tackles while Senior linebacker Antonio Miller chipped in four tackles and a sack.
The Rattler defense also caused two turnovers and a safety. They forced two fumbles, recovering one, and senior defensive back Orlando McKinley picked off a pass midway through the second quarter.
Mayweather said the performance from the defense started before the game even kicked off. He said this should be the start of how the defense will look to play all season.
“We just wanted to be laser-focused going in. On defense, we knew we had to play our assignments perfectly. Even if we were wrong, we just wanted to play fast to make a play. We tried to fly around every time,” Mayweather said. “We really set a tone to let everyone know that we are here and we are coming.”
Not to be outdone, the Rattler’s new up-tempo offense was on full display in the contest. Redshirt junior quarterback Ryan Stanley was efficient all game until he was replaced late in the fourth with the game well in hand. Stanley finished the night 11-20 for 115 yards and two touchdowns.
“I feel like overall it was a good game. The scoreboard shows 41-7 but there are a lot of missed opportunities that you can’t have against teams like Troy,” Stanley said. “I missed a few throws to Chad [Hunter] tonight early in the first and second quarter. If you miss those opportunities, it could lose you a game. We got the win tonight, so we will enjoy it.”
FAMU (1-0) rushed for 293 yards as a team, led by redshirt sophomore running back Bishop Bonnett’s 81 yards. Redshirt sophomore receiver Azende Rey added 40 yards on one carry and redshirt junior Hans Supre had 37 yards on the ground.
Redshirt freshman receiver Xavier Smith paced the receiving corps with 2 catches for 35 yards and a touchdown. Rey hauled in three passes for 25 yards and redshirt sophomore Ricky Henrilus, in his first game lining up at wideout for the orange and green after converting from running back, caught two balls for 28 yards.
FAMU kicker Yahia Aly converted kicks of 38, 43, 24, 29, 26 and 29 yards to help give the Rattler offense a boost and set the new FAMU record for the number of field goals made in a game with six.
“As I was running out to kickoff after my fifth field goal, I heard the guy talking about the new record. I looked at the time to see if we had time left just to make sure. When I got the chance I executed and I feel very happy about it,” Aly said. “I’m also glad to have my snapper and holder. Without them, I couldn’t have done this.”
Fort Valley senior quarterback Slade Jarman completed 17-27 passes for 303 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Most of Slade’s passes connected with freshman Lorenzo Smothers. Smothers ended the day with six catches for 207 yards.
Henrilus kicked the scoring off with a one-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. Aly connected on his first two kicks in the second quarter to put the Rattlers up two scores. A lightning delay paused the game’s action with 5:05 left in the second and the Rattlers up 13-0.
Fort Valley (0-1) scored on its first possession once play resumed. Jarman found Smothers for a 92-yard touchdown pass, making the score 13-7. It would be the Wildcats only score of the game.
On the Rattlers’ next drive, Stanley found Smith for a 28-yard touchdown pass at the 2:15 mark in the second, his first of the season. FAMU took a 20-7 lead into halftime.
In the third, Stanley threw his second touchdown of the game, a nine-yard strike to redshirt junior receiver Marcus Williams. Aly added his third and fourth field goals before the end of the period.
The final period saw junior defensive back Elijah Daniels add a safety to the Rattlers dominant defensive outing and Aly connect on his fifth and, record-setting sixth field goals.
The Rattlers will travel to Troy, Ala. to take on the Troy Trojans next Saturday at 6 p.m. CST. The game will be broadcast on ESPN Plus.
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.
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.
TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) The 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.
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.
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.
TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) – The Leon Lions football team forced the Rickards Raiders into six turnovers to extend their record to 2-0 on the year with a close 22-21 win Friday night at Gene Cox Stadium.
The game was dominated early by Rickards as they went up early 7-0 behind a 40-yard touchdown by Kelvin Dean Jr. Leon would capture its first turnover on a Khamari Brown interception that was returned for 33 yards. That led to a 19-yard touchdown by junior quarterback Paxton Tomaini on the first play of the second quarter.
The second quarter was defined by turnovers as Rickards gave away another interception to junior Marvin Easley.
“Getting turnovers is something we practiced all week,” Easley said.
Again the turnover would lead to points. The Lions would kick a field goal making it 9-7 going into the half.
Rickards came out rejuvenated in the second half behind senior quarterback, Blake Goins as he led Rickards downfield culminating in a nine-yard rush to put the Raiders back on top 14-9. Tomanini and the Lions responded quickly with a nine-yard quarterback rush of their own, regaining the lead 15-14.
Rickards’ rushing game was hurt by the injury of leading rusher, Kelvin Dean Jr., on an awkward landing on a rush in the third quarter. Dean Jr. put up a staggering 145 rushing yards along with a touchdown through three quarters.
Rickards would take back the lead again with a quick strike from Goins making it 21-15 heading into the fourth quarter. However, on their next possession, Leon would get another takeaway when sophomore Jarvis Williams picked off Goins. On the following Leon punt, Rickards fumbled the return and the Lions recovered the ball on the five-yard line. Parker Williams would punch it in on the goal line making it 22-21.
Although Dean Jr. left earlier with an undisclosed injury, sophomore De’andre Francis picked up the load for the rest of the game for the Rickards running attack as he totaled 53 yards in the fourth. Once again, a fumble led to another turnover for the Raiders. Leon would run out the clock, gaining their second win of the season.
“Overall, it was just a great team win,” Tomaini said. He finished the game with 120 total yards. “Any time your defense gets six turnovers, your more than likely going to win.”
Rickards looks to bounce back from their 0-2 start next week against Chiles. As for Leon, they look to ride their 2-0 start into the rest of the season. The Lions take on Sandalwood September 7th at home.
TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) – The Lincoln High School football team went up against the Bainbridge Bearcats on a rainy Thursday night at Gene Cox Stadium. The Trojans almost posted a shutout, but a touchdown by Bainbridge in the final two minutes of the game brought the final score to 28-6.
Both team’s offenses started off slow as Bainbridge went three and out on nearly every possession in the first quarter. With 1:14 left in the first period, the Trojans scored the first touchdown of the game on a blocked punt as junior wide receiver Sage Ennis scoped it up and scored to put Lincoln up 7-0.
Ennis said it was more important for the teams to be prepared mentally for the dealing with the elements.
“On offense, we had some mental mistakes and some physical. Nothing that we can’t fix up,” Ennis said. “It was really just a mental thing. Everybody was ready to come out and the weather will get to you. The weather can affect you but it’s all about what you can do.”
In the second quarter, Bainbridge sophomore running back Rashad Broadnax took a carry up the middle for a 25-yard run, but the Bearcat offense could not do anything more and had to punt on that possession.
At the 5:15 mark in the second quarter, the Trojans were on the three-yard line in Bearcat territory before junior quarterback Christopher Beard ran 96 yards into the endzone to give the Trojans a 14-0 lead. The score would remain the same heading into halftime.
In the third quarter, the Trojans scored two more touchdowns, giving them a 28-0 lead. Bainbridge scored late in the fourth quarter but missed the extra point attempt. But, the damage was already done.
Lincoln’s stingy defense against the Bearcats earned the praises of the Trojan’s head coach, Quinn Gray. Gray said the defense has been clicking all season.
“The last two weeks, they’ve been lights out. I am really proud of them,” Gray said. “They are swarming to the ball and they are celebrating with each other when they make plays. They just got to keep it up.”
The Trojans offense posted 28 points but they also had some minor mistakes. Gray said despite the production, cutting out the mistakes will be key moving forward in the season.
“We have a pretty explosive offense and we got some pretty explosive guys on offense,” Quinn said. “Too many holding penalties, people coming free in the run game and we have to fix it. I am sure we will get it corrected.”
Lincoln’s next game will be against the Hudson Cobras on Sept. 7 at Gene Cox Stadium at 7 p.m. Bainbridge will face the Brooks County Trojans in Quitman, Ga.
Highlights of FAMU head football coach Willie Simmons, Quarterback Ryan Stanley and Middle Linebacker Jabreel Hazly talking about their week 1 matchup against Fort Valley State. Full press conference can be found on our YouTube page.
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.