By Scott Carswell Jr. , Twitter: @ScottyJ850
After a disappointing blowout loss to Virginia Tech, Florida State will face FCS opponent Samford at 7 PM on Saturday. Samford, originally Howard College, is located in Birmingham, Alabama and is where Bobby Bowden went to college.
The Samford Bulldogs defeated Shorter College 66-9 in their first game of the season on Saturday.
Last time these two teams played was in 2010 and Florida State won 59-6. This result should be a little bit closer as Florida State has yet to find its groove on offense, has just five days off and Samford is ranked 9th in the FCS. Last year the Bulldogs finished second in the Southern Conference but were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by Kennesaw State.
Florida State offense versus Samford defense
Taggart will start Francois at quarterback but if he continues his tentative play he may have to consider James Blackman. The ‘Noles offense will be going up against a 3-4 defense led by outside linebacker Ahmad Gooden. Gooden will provide a nice test for the FSU offensive line, as he is someone who could disrupt a play if left in one-on-one situations or left all alone like we saw too many times on Monday night. Hopefully the FSU offensive line can stay healthy during this game. Cole Minshew missed the Virginia Tech game due to a concussion and three other starters had to miss portions of the game due to injuries. Starting right tackle Landon Dickerson will miss this game with a high ankle sprain. Former defensive lineman Arthur Williams will replace Dickerson than the starting line up. Coach Hatcher of Samford is also excited about his safeties Sam Pettway and Koi Freeman. Overall Florida State has more speed and size than Samford on this side of the ball, which will mask most of the mistakes made by the offense as they continue to adjust to the new scheme.
Florida State defense versus Samford offense
The FSU defense was the highlight of the opening game and that should then continue into the second game. They kept the team in the game by getting stop after stop even while backed up. They really only gave up 14 points despite being on the field almost the entire second half. A lot of players played well in the first game but safety/linebacker Jaiden Woodbey really stood out as he recorded an NCAA record by a true freshman in his first game by racking up 9 tackles.
The Bulldogs boast one of the best passing tandems in the FCS with Devlin Hodges at quarterback and Kelvin McKnight and Chris Snelling at wide receiver. Hodges was a Walter Payton Award finalist last season and is Samford’s career leader in almost every passing and scoring category in the school’s history. Last year he threw for 3,983 yards and 39 touchdowns. I expect FSU’s defense to play well but the Bulldogs will challenge them through the air.
The last time Samford played an FBS team was last year when they lost 42-14 against national runner-up Georgia. The result should be similar as Florida State quarterbacks will be still learning how to run the offense, especially the run pass option portion of Taggart’s scheme while the offensive line figures out how to gel together. I’m not saying the Seminoles are near Georgia’s level but they should win by a few scores I’ll say FSU 40 Samford 13 will be the final.