Orlando, FL- Last second losses are tough to swallow, but when it come to you in state rival it’s even more painful to bare. Florida State (1-3,1-2) , setting their sights on Duke (4-2, 1-2) , look to bounce back from last week’s 24-20 defeat to Miami.
Against a formidable defense in Miami, James Blackman and the Florida State Seminoles moved the ball to the tune of 406 total yards. Duke comes in ranked 16th nationally in total defense giving up only 88 yard per game rushing. Running backs Jacques Patrick and Cam Akers may find rushing for a combined 212 yards come Saturday more difficult, given they’ve lost their starting offensive lineman Landon Dickerson for the year to an ankle injury.
“[We]threw it, had good balance in run and pass and the things we did. We have plenty of offense; there’s no doubt.” Said coach Jimbo Fisher.
With Auden Tate, the team’s leading receiver, playing through a shoulder injury and Keith Gavin due to miss the game nursing a sprain, the team will need Nyqwan Murray and the rest of the receiving corps to step up. Murray has just 99 yards on 13 receptions this season.
Duke is led by Sophomore quarterback Daniel Jones whose dual threat ability make him a threat in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Blue Devils come in ranked 6th in the conference in total offense. Florida State’s 29th ranked defense, backed by Derwin James and Matthew Thomas, will be tasked with stuffing Senior running back Shaun Wilson and this Duke rushing attack that has rushed for over 203 yards per game, good enough for third in the conference.
“You got to be able to grind it out in practice, grind it out in everything you do.” Said Fisher. “And we got to coach them better.”
A grind it out game is what can be expected. With injuries at key positions, the Seminoles have turned to a more run based ball control offense. Defense, the strength of this ‘Noles squad will be relied upon heavy until Blackman comes into his own.
Experience will always be one of the best teachers, and Fisher knows that. “Its experience of being in there and the different looks. He gets better and better; he understands. He’s played three games, but his progress has been really good.”
One can only hope Blackman’s progress continues Saturday as the Seminoles travel to Durham to take on Duke. Kickoff is at 12pm.