The 2017 season opener started out with questions like who would replace Dalvin Cook and would Deondre Francois encounter a sophomore slump? We all know what happened to Francois and as to Cook’s replacement, the jury is still out. Today’s game has FSU on a 2 game losing streak. This is the 1st time since 1989 that FSU has opened the season 0-2. That season the Noles won 10 straight and finished the season beating Nebraska in the Fiesta Bowl and ended 10-2 and a final ranking of #3 in the nation. Also, Jimbo Fisher’s home opener record of 7-0 ended with the loss to NC State. You could put an asterisk next to this, as they were originally scheduled to play ULM in a home opener on September 9.
FSU is one of five Power 5 schools to open the season by playing a non-conference Power 5 and a division opponent in their 1st two games. The start of the game was immediate excitement as DB Derwin James apparently ran back the opening KO for a TD. The play was called back, due to an illegal block call and FSU goes 3 and out. On the ensuing series Wake is forced to punt but pins the Noles at their own 1-yard line. On the 1st play from scrimmage, Jacques Patrick ripped off a 69-yard run to get FSU out of a big hole. They could not take advantage of the 69-yard jaunt and had to settle for a 51 yard Ricky Aguayo FG.
Wake played a fast-paced, hurry up game but only ended up running 5 more plays than the Seminoles. In what was one of the most lethargic offensive displays in recent history the Nole’s somehow lead 13-12. True freshman QB James Blackman, in only his second career game, was 5-7 passing but only 7 yards total. Junior RB Jacques Patrick was the main offensive threat for FSU with 11 carries good for 111 yards in the 1st half. The 2nd half was basically a defensive battle with FSU getting a 3rd quarter 37 yard FG by Aguayo to extend their lead to 16-12. Wake scored a touchdown after a 7 play, 59-yard drive early in the 4th but FSU was able to tie the score at 19-19 with another Aguayo FG at the 6:20 mark. The Nole’s defense came to life and Wake was forced to punt from their own 8-yard line. With FSU starting at the Wake 40 James Blackman hit WR Auden Tate with a 40-yard strike for the go-ahead score at the:53 mark. Had Tate not caught the pass FSU still would have been in good shape to win the game as there was a pass interference call on Wake in the end zone. With FSU in a prevent defense Wake was able to gain some yardage, but a heave to the end zone with no time left on the clock was batted down. Somehow FSU escaped with their 1st win of the season.
Of note, true freshman RB Cam Akers had a nice showing with 14 carries for a net of 58 yards. He had 20 yards in losses and that is something that is troubling for the Seminoles. All told they gave up 5 sacks and 17 TFL’s. Had FSU lost this game and fallen to 0-3, it would have been the 1st time since 1976 that it would have occurred. Incidentally, 1976 was legendary coach Bobby Bowden’s 1st season at FSU. The Nole’s would finish that season at 5-6 and was the only non-winning season in Bowden’s illustrious career. FSU returns home next week for their 2nd home conference game against Miami. This game was originally scheduled for September 16 but was postponed due to hurricane Irma. Florida State has a perfect record against Miami in the Jimbo Fisher era but this game has the Hurricanes coming into Tallahassee as the favored team. This is a rivalry game so it will be interesting to see how it plays out!
The season has already been a crazy one, with canceled/postponed games, so let’s see what happens over the next several weeks. I’m just wondering what scenarios will take place between now and the end of the season. In his postgame comments, Jimbo basically said how important the win was and they got the monkey off of their back. He said these true and redshirt
freshmen really needed to know what it feels like to get a win. Of course, the last win by FSU was in the Orange Bowl against Michigan. That was all the way back on December 30, 2016.