The AAF is made up of eight teams across the United States, with a few rule changes compared to its NFL counterpart. One rule that drew myself in the most is the allocation of players to regions they gained their fame from. Tallahassee can find some familiar faces on the sideline of the two closest teams in the Atlanta Legends and Orlando Apollos.
Through the first two weeks, Orlando is tied at the top of the standings with the Birmingham Iron and Arizona Hotshots with a 2-0 record. Northup has been in the starting defensive lineup for the Apollos both games with eight total tackles. Bracy-Williams has returned punts for Orlando, but had a disappointing outing in week one with a dropped punt. While not in the starting lineup, Newberry is in the rotation on defense with a single tackle in the first two games. The Apollos look to continue their winning ways Saturday against the Memphis Express at 8 p.m. on NFL Network.
Atlanta has struggled, losing its first two games by a combined 46 points. Haskins has yet to get in but looks to hear his number called next Sunday as the Legends host the Birmingham Iron at 4 p.m. on the CBS Sports Network.
TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net)- The Florida State Seminoles football team beat the Wake Forest Deamon Deacons in an ACC matchup during homecoming week in front of a crowd of 67,274.
“It was good to see our guys go out there and compete and get better in some of the areas we needed to and find a way to win a ballgame,” Seminoles head coach Willie Taggart said.
The Seminoles (4-3, 2-3) looked stagnant on both offense and defense in the early moments of the game. The offense’s first two drives went for three and outs. The Demon Deacons (3-4, 0-3) offense took the ball right down the field with a 15-play drive for 61 yards and a field goal in three minutes.
“I thought we stopped substituting so much, they were running uptempo and or guys weren’t getting set and ready. Burns sack was big, he started that energy and he made that play to get us going on offense and defense,” Taggart said.
Freshman quarterback Sam Hartman found redshirt junior tight end Jack Freudenthal for a 9-yard pass for the touchdown giving the Demon Deacons a 10-0 lead with six minutes remaining in the first quarter. The Seminoles answered with 38 unanswered points after that score.
After swapping three and outs from both teams, the Seminoles passing game started to heat up. Seminoles redshirt junior quarterback Deondre Francois found redshirt freshman wide receiver Tamorrion Terry for a 23-yard gain followed up by a pass completion to senior wide receiver Nyqwan Murray for a gain of 17 yards to the 3-yard line. Sophomore running back Cam Akers ran for a 3-yard touchdown, cutting the lead down to three with 24 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
The Demon Deacons had to punt after a seven-play drive stalled. Francois found junior wide receiver Keith Gavin for a 50-yard completion ending up with a fumble to the back of the end zone recovered by Demetrius Kemp of Wake Forest.
Hartman’s pass was tipped by the Seminoles freshman cornerback Asante Samuels and intercepted by sophomore free safety Stanford Samuels. Senior running back Jacques Patrick then punched it in from two yards out. Noles take the lead 14-10 with 9:50 remaining in the first half.
“We were hoping he was going to be open like that. That was the plan with the play call. These guys ran that play before, I believe it was in the Orange Bowl and Noonie came to me with the play, and we ran it, and it worked again,” Taggart said.
After Akers run went for three yards it is fourth down and three to go. Francois finds a wide open Murray in the end zone for a 33-yard touchdown with 2:01 remaining until halftime giving the Seminoles a 21-10 lead heading into the half.
“Cam had a great week of practice, I haven’t seen him practice the way he did this week in a long time. We told him last night it was going to pay off and the Miami game helped also,” said Taggart.
The Seminoles received the ball to start the second half and only needing two plays to find the end zone. Akers takes the handoff for a 17-yard gain and takes the next handoff right up the middle for a 58-yard touchdown run. The Seminoles drive lasted 30 seconds and put them up 28-10 over the Demon Deacons with 14:30 remaining in the third quarter.
The Seminoles defense comes up with another huge stop forcing another punt from Wake Forest. Francois pas complete to Mathews for a 12-yard completion to bring up fourth down. Junior kicker Ricky Aguayo nails a 49-yard field goal to put the Seminoles up 31-10 with 11:19 remaining in the third quarter.
After a big punt return by Mathews, Francois finds freshman wide receiver Tre’shaun Harrison for the 21-yard touchdown giving the Seminoles a 38-10 lead with 9:43 remaining in the game.
For the 99th play ran by Wake Forest, Hartman finds redshirt freshman wide receiver Sage Surratt for a 9-yard touchdown. The Seminoles still lead 38-17 with 4:36 remaining.
TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net)- The Florida State Seminoles beat the Northern Illinois Huskies on parents weekend 37-19 in front of a crowd of 65,633 fans.
The Huskies won the coin toss and deferred to halftime, bringing out the Seminoles offense first.
“Good win for the Noles, we got better as a team tonight,” head coach Willie Taggart said. “When we can run the ball successfully, that’s when this offense can be what we all know this offense can be.”
On the first drive, the Seminoles marched the ball right down the field. Redshirt junior quarterback Deondre Francois’ pass was intended for junior wide receiver Keith Gavin but caught by senior running back Jacques Patrick for an opening drive touchdown.
The Seminoles defense forces a quick three and out against the Huskies offense. The Huskies first drive went for three plays, two yards and lasted 1:45. The Seminoles offense came out not skipping a beat from the first drive. Sophomore running back Cam Akers takes the hand off right for a seven yard touchdown giving the Seminoles a 14-0 lead in the first quarter.
Florida States defense was huge in the first quarter, not allowing the Huskies a first down and only allowing seven total yards.
The Huskies redshirt junior safety Trayshon Foster forced the Seminoles sophomore tight end Tre’ McKitty to fumble after an 11-yard gain. The fumble was recovered by redshirt junior Antonio Jones-Davis. The Huskies then made the Seminoles pay for that turnover when redshirt sophomore quarterback Marcus Childers connected with redshirt senior wide receiver Jauan Wesley for a 20-yard touchdown pass over the top midway into the second quarter.
The Seminoles junior kicker Ricky Aguayo then gets in on the fun by knocking in a field goal from 42-yards out to put the Seminoles up 17-7 with 3:58 remaining in the half. Seminoles defense then force another three and out and the offense moves the ball down into the red zone. Florida State then sends Agauyo out and he drills a 50-yard field goal to send the Seminoles into halftime with a 20-7 lead.
The Seminoles struggled on both sides of the ball in the third quarter. After a couple three and outs the Seminoles ran the ball five straight times out of the seven plays in the drive. Aguayo came out and kicked a 42-yard field goal to put the Seminoles up 23-7 with 4:27 remaining in the third quarter.
The following drive for the Huskies was a rough one. Childers fumbled the snap and was facing third down with 13-yards to the first down. Childers finds redshirt senior wide receiver Dale Burton down the middle for a 66-yard bomb and touchdown.
“I have to say we got better up front today, for us to execute like we did and score like we did it all starts up front, we aren’t were we need to be but are guys got better today,”Taggart said.
Francois gives the Huskies a taste of their own medicine as he finds freshman wide receiver Tamorrion Terry for a 78-yard bomb to put the Seminoles ahead 30-13.
The Seminoles defense holds up and Francois and the offense march back on the field. Francois then throws an interception right to the Huskies linebacker setting them up just outside the redzone. Junior corner back Levonta Taylor then gets called for a pass interference placing the Huskies on the 11-yard line. Childers calls his own number and puts his head down and rushes up the middle for an 11-yard touchdown run.
“Our guys are learning to get better, learning how to win and we have to continue to get better and understand those mistakes we made today we can’t make against really good football teams,” said Taggart.
The Seminoles defense comes up with a big stop on their 30-yard against the Huskies offense. Junior running back Amir Rasul is in to close out the game and gets six straight carries with the last one finding the end zone on a seven yard carry. That was Rasul’s first career touchdown. The Seminoles beat the Huskies 37-19.
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.
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.
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.
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.
TALLAHASSEE, FLA., WWW.FRANCHISESPORTSONLINE.NET – Saturday’s matchup was the Seminoles’ 68th all-time football game played on homecoming weekend. Florida State is 55-12-1 in those contests, the lone tie coming off a 14-14 decision with Wake Forest in 1956. The Seminoles are now 3-0 against Wake Forest on homecoming since joining the ACC, and have won five consecutive homecoming games overall.
TALLAHASSEE, FLA. (franchisesportsonline.net) – The Florida State Seminoles built on their momentum from last week’s big game beating Charleston Southern convincingly 52-8. Deondre Francois proved his debut against Ole Miss was no fluke by dominating the CSU Buccaneers going 25-32 for 262 yards in just three quarters.
Francois’ biggest target was Travis Rudolph; the two connected for 105 yards on seven throws. Rudolph got started early scoring his two touchdowns in the first half. The junior Rudolph accounted for nearly half of Francois’ passing yards, and these two look like the next great Florida State duo.
“We’re definitely on the same page,” Rudolph said about his freshman quarterback. “We just have so many mental reps in practice and in film – it’s like taking candy from a baby.”
TALLAHASSEE, FLA. (franchisesportsonline.net)– Florida State football coach Jimbo Fisher came out optimistic and excited for the new football season in his opening weekly presser – as he should be.
“It’s that time again, isn’t it?” Fisher said. “I’m glad it’s that time. Getting ready to kick off this season. Very excited. Looking forward to playing somebody else, our guys I think are getting tired of playing each other.”
Florida State opens the season ranked fourth in both the AP and Coaches poll. The Seminoles are kicking off their season with one of the bigger openers this year, and in the past few seasons, playing the 11th ranked Ole Miss Rebels in Orlando. The Rebels, who are 4-0 in season openers under their head coach Hugh Freeze, finished 10-3 last season in the SEC, beating LSU, Auburn, and Alabama. Ole Miss lost a lot of players to the draft but is bringing back their most important star, quarterback Chad Kelly.
Fans can celebrate the 2013 BCS Championship with the team inside Doak January 18 at 2:00 p.m.
Credit: Florida State Sports Information
Tallahassee, Fla. –The National Champion FSU football team will hold its official celebration Saturday, January 18 at 2:00 p.m. inside Doak Campbell Stadium. The event is free as is parking. Stadium gates will open at 1:00 p.m.and Seminole Village on Langford Green will be open at 11:00 a.m. Parking will be available on the south side of the stadium as well as in the parking garages next to the intramural fields and by the soccer/softball complex.
Fans are asked to enter Doak Campbell through Gates C, D, F, G or X on the south side of the stadium by the Seminole Sport Shop and Unconquered statue. The parking lots outside the Moore Athletic Center on the north side of the stadium will not be available for fan parking. The celebration is expected to last a little over an hour.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida State squeezed in a Saturday morning practice after pushing back it’s originally scheduled scrimmage to Monday. That second scrimmage of the spring will take place at 3:30 p.m. Monday inside Doak Campbell Stadium.
“It was better today, physical,” FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher said. “Defense won some. Offense won some. It was a good practice. There are still some inconsistencies that we got to get ironed out, but we’re getting there. We got to clean some things up.”