TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida State’s running game had struggled for much of the season. Trey Benson changed that Saturday with a career-best performance.
The junior ran for 200 yards, with touchdown runs of 85 and 62 yards, and No. 5 Florida State pulled away in the second half to beat Virginia Tech 39-17.
Florida State (5-0, 3-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) is perfect through five games for the first time since 2015. The Seminoles opened 5-0 or better from 2012-15.
Benson ran 11 times, averaging 18.2 yards per carry, after accumulating a combined 189 yards in the first four games of the season.
“First couple games have been tough,” Benson said. “We’ve just been hearing that the running game hasn’t been working good. This game, we really emphasized the run. In the running back room, we said, ‘We got to get it going today. We’re not taking no for an answer.’”
Benson didn’t take no for an answer, giving the Seminoles their first back with a 200-yard game since Dalvin Cook did it twice in 2016 (against South Florida and Syracuse). The Seminoles ran for 282 yards, averaging 7.8 yards per carry.
While the offense had its struggles at times, there was balance overall. Jordan Travis completed 18 of 24 passes for 170 yards and two touchdowns, both to Johnny Wilson. The junior receiver caught his first two touchdown passes of 2023, although he left the game with an undisclosed injury after being sandwiched between two defenders after a reception.
Kyron Drones was 14 of 27 for 104 yards and ran 14 times for 80 yards for Virginia Tech (2-4, 1-1). Drones connected with Jaylin Lane six times for 51 yards.
Bhayshul Tuten had a 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to open the second half, cutting the deficit to 22-17 before the Seminoles scored the final 17 points.
“We talk all the time about our response,” Florida State coach Mike Norvell said. “We talk about finishing strong. Obviously, the opening kickoff to the second half did not go the way we wanted but you saw a tremendous response from our football team. Two plays later, a big (touchdown) run by Trey.”
Virginia Tech battled back but couldn’t dig itself out of a 22-point deficit after the first quarter.
“It didn’t feel like us. It didn’t look like us. And then we responded against a top-5 team. For large chunks of the game, played toe to toe with those guys. Which is encouraging. We got to be better, I got to be better in starting the game and making these guys understand that we can play with them and not have to figure it out after going down 22-0.”
Florida State will likely move up a spot after No. 3 Texas’ loss to No. 12 Oklahoma.
Florida State has scored 30 or more points in all five games this season as well as the last six games of 2022. The 11-game streak is the second-longest in the Football Bowl Subdivision.
Virginia Tech lost Jalen Stroman to a targeting call in the third quarter. The starting safety still led the Hokies with 10 tackles, but he will miss the first half of next week’s game.
Virginia Tech: The Hokies were able to threaten Florida State in the third quarter, but Virginia Tech punted three times, turned it over on downs and fumbled on five second-half possessions.
Florida State: The Seminoles surpassed the 30-point mark for an 11th straight game and the defense played well in pressure moments.
Virginia Tech: Hosts Wake Forest on Saturday.
Florida State: Hosts Syracuse on Saturday.
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