Football season is finally here! The ‘Noles kick it off against the Duquesne Dukes (Pittsburgh, PA) Saturday at 5 pm inside Doak Campbell Stadium on the ACC Network. FSU looks to win its first season opener since 2016.
QB Jordan Travis, RB Treshaun Ward, TE Cam McDonald, WR Malik McClain, Ontaria Wilson and Mycah Pittman, OT Robert Scott and Bless Harris, OG Dillan Gibbons and D’Mitri Emmanuel, C Darius Washington
DE Jared Verse and Dennis Briggs, DT Fabien Lovett and Robert Cooper, LB Tatum Bethune and Kalen DeLoach, CB Omarion Cooper, Renardo Green and Kevin Knowles, S Jammie Robinson and Akeem Dent, K Ryan Fitzgerald, P Alex Mastromanno
The offense will be led by junior quarterback Jordan Travis. Travis threw for 1,539 yards and added 530 more on the ground in 2021. Travis ended the year with 22 total touchdowns. FSU was 5-3 in his starts last season.
Coach Norvell, offensive coordinator Alex Atkins and strength coach Storms have done a tremendous job rebuilding the offensive line. The depth, experience and talent have this year’s o-line on par with the 2016 line.
The receiver room depth and talent was also lacking last season but FSU returns everyone except Andrew Parchment and added 4 transfers, Mycah Pittman, Johnny Wilson, Duece Spann and Winston Wright.
With new weapons on the outside I’m expecting a big year from tight end Cam McDonald.
The running back position lost Jashaun Corbin but returned Treshaun Ward, who averaged an ACC leading 6.36 yards per carry, and Lawrance Toafili. Transfer Trey Benson will get a huge chunk of the carries as well.
The defense lost ACC defensive player of the year, defensive end, Jermaine Johnson and his counterpart Keir Thomas but return almost everyone else.
Trying to replace them will be Jared Verse, transfer from Albany, Dennis Briggs, a converted d-tackle, and Derrick McClendon, 3.5 sacks last season. Getting a consistent pass rush from the outside is the biggest question for the defense this year.
The tackles, Fabien Lovett and Robert Cooper (10 tackles for loss combined last season), and the safeties, Jammie Robinson (85 tackles and 4 interceptions in ’21) and Akeem Dent, are the best positions groups on defense and most draft predictors are saying all 4 will be selected in the ’23 NFL draft.
The linebacker corps is thin but DeLoach, Amari Gainer and newcomer Tatum Bethune are experienced players that can make some big plays.
The corners, Knowles, Cooper and Green, took some lumps last season but showed their mettle against great receivers down the stretch.
Notable Duquesne Players
QBs Joe Mischler (2020 ALL-NEC First Team) and Darius Perrantes (17 TDs in ’21)
RB Billy Lucas (703 yards rushing 6 TDs in ’21)
DBs Jeremiah Josephs and Tim Lowery
Florida State 49 Duquesne 10. The ‘Noles lean on the new and improved o-line and the veteran defense to get out to a big lead and cruise to victory.