This Saturday at noon the Seminoles will host the Alabama State Hornets on Fox Sports Florida.
Alabama State is 5-4 with wins over Tuskegee, Grambling State, Jackson State, Mississippi Valley State and Texas Southern and with losses against UAB, Kennesaw State, Alcorn State and Alabama A&M. Alabama State’s only game against a bowl subdivision opponent was against UAB. UAB won the game 24-19.
Even with Boston College’s 5-4 record, Florida State was still an underdog going into the game. Based on tradition, this meant that if Florida State won the game one of the captains would bring back a piece of the sod. Starting quarterback and captain James Blackman got the honor of doing just that.
Hamsah Nasirildeen earned ACC defensive back of the week for his 22-tackle performance Saturday. His 22 tackles in the game give him the third-highest total for a Seminole ever.
Tamarrion Terry received ACC wide receiver of the week honors for his career day at BC. Terry had 7 catches for 156 yards and a touchdown.
Observation from the last game
James Blackman had a great game but really turned it on in the 4th quarter. He completed 10 of his last 14 passes for 239 yards with 2 TDs.
Despite Boston College running 36 more plays than Florida State, the Seminoles outgained the Eagles 524 to 508. I know that is a lot of yards given up by FSU, but BC has one of the nation’s best offenses.
Offenses coordinator Kendal Briles was determined to add another threat to the short yardage offense. It looks like he found someone that can help with that form of Jordan Travis. Travis was able to rack up 94 yards rushing and 2 TDs on just 3 carries.
Florida State defense versus Alabama State offense
Alabama State runs its offense primarily out of the shotgun and, when in the shotgun, the Hornets will use two tight ends quite a bit. They want to run the ball more than pass in an effort to slow the game down as much as possible. It is also a good strategy because of their big offensive line and stout defense.
If the Hornets are forced into a third and long situation they have struggled at protecting their quarterback, KHA’Darris Davis, which ofetn results in sacks and turnovers. Alabama State has given up 22 sacks and has 18 giveaways on the year. Davis has most of his success when targeting big-play receiver Michael Jefferson. Jefferson has 37 catches for 633 yards and 10 TDs. The sophomore receiver’s size and explosiveness give him a chance to be drafted when he leaves ASU.
Running back Ezra Gray gets most of the carries, but backups Duran Bell and Jacory Merritt get plenty of opportunities as well.
Alabama State will be facing their toughest opponent of the season, but that will not stop them from attempting to shorten the game. With this in mind, the Seminoles will want to stop the run in the early downs so pass rushers like Amari Gainer and Janarius Robinson can put pressure on the quarterback.
Florida State offense versus Alabama State defense
Alabama State uses a 3-4 defensive alignment with junior nose guard Christian Clark over the center. Clark has 8 tackles for loss, but his biggest contribution to the defense is taking up blocks to allow linebackers Colton Adams and Devin Booker to make tackles in the hole. Adams has 43 tackles in just five games, which is fourth on the team behind Irshaad Davis, Keenan Isaac and Booker. Booker also leads the team in sacks with 4.
Alabama State has done a decent job at forcing turnovers with 11 on the year. (Florida State has 8 forced turnovers this year). The Hornets do a good job at pressuring the quarterback even without a great pass rusher. It is more of a team effort with 15 different guys having at least a half sack this year. These 15 players have a combined 23 sacks on use on the year. This means ASU averages 2.6 sacks per game, which is .1 less than FSU. (The Seminoles will have to do the same thing on defense without Marvin Wilson).
Cam Akers and Khalan Laborn well get lots of carries against the smaller defensive line of Alabama State.
Alabama State punter, Anthony Craven, has 20 punts of over 50 yards but has had two of them blocked. Hunter Hanson is 5/7 on field goals, but has had one blocked as well. Running back Ezra Gray is ASU’s return man. Backup cornerback Isaiah Bolden reeled off two long kick returns last week at BC. I expect him to get a few more opportunities this week.
The Seminoles clinch a bowl berth and improve to 4-0(dell) under interim head coach Odell Haggins. Florida State 50 Alabama State 10.