TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida State is heavily favored against Delaware State but the Seminoles know they are in no position to think anything will come easy for them.
“Every game we have won has come down to fourth quarter and last drive. You never know so we have to make sure we finish every play,” safety Derwin James said.
Florida State’s three wins have been by a combined 17 points, with two coming down to the final play. The Seminoles needed a missed field goal on Nov. 4 against Syracuse to hold on for its first home win.
The Seminoles (3-6) are hoping that the outcome of this game will not be in doubt going into the fourth quarter. They have won all eight games against Football Championship Subdivision teams during Jimbo Fisher’s tenure, averaging 55 points while holding teams to 7.3.
“We need to play one good football game and build on the positives,” Fisher said.
The Seminoles are also looking to avoid missing a bowl game for the first time since 1981, and they need a win against Delaware State to keep their postseason hopes alive.
Delaware State is 2-8 but is coming in with some momentum after rallying from a 21-point, second-quarter deficit last week to defeat Morgan State 33-30.
The Hornets are 1-8 against Football Bowl Subdivision teams. They faced West Virginia on Sept. 16 and lost 59-16.
“Who would have ever thought at this point in the season that this game would have relevance to Florida State,” Delaware State coach Kenny Carter said. “Our kids understand that and are very excited to play this.”
Here are some other things to watch in Saturday’s Delaware State-Florida State matchup:
CONFIDENCE BUILDER? Florida State’s offense, which has been plagued by injuries the entire season, needs a good game to establish some confidence down the stretch. It is averaging the second-fewest points among Power Five programs (18.1 points per game) and is fourth-worst in total yards (324.6 per game). Delaware State has one of the worst defenses in FCS, allowing 430.7 yards per game, which is 101st among 123 teams.
BALL CONTROL: Carter said he will have the same strategy in this game that he had against West Virginia — milk the clock as much as possible. The Hornets had the ball for 37 minutes, 48 seconds against the Mountaineers and are facing a Florida State defense that has been on the field 35 minutes or longer in two of its past three games. Delaware State has scored 20 or more points only three times this season.
HITTING HIS STRIDE: Nyqwan Murray is beginning to emerge as the Seminoles’ best receiver. The junior is averaging 21.6 yards per catch over the past five games (19 receptions for 411 yards) and has two touchdowns. Murray was averaging just 7.6 yards per reception in the first four games (13 for 99).
BURNS FACTOR: FSU defensive tackle Brian Burns became the first player in school history last week to have two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery in the same game. The sophomore also had 4.5 tackles for loss in a 31-14 loss at Clemson . Besides emerging on the defensive line, Burns has blocked two punts on special teams.
KEEP AN EYE ON: Delaware State quarterback Keenan Black, who has seven touchdown passes in his last two games. The sophomore has started the last four games and has led the Hornets to both of their wins.
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