Coming off a tough victory in the season-opener, the top-ranked and defending national champion Florida State Seminoles begin their 2014 home slate, as they play host to the Citadel Bulldogs on Saturday at Doak Campbell Stadium.
Jimbo Fisher's Seminoles knocked off Oklahoma State, 37-31, in the Advocare Cowboys Classic in Arlington, TX to kick off the season. The victory was the 17th straight for Florida State, tying the school record (1999-2000). It also marked FSU's 500th win in school history.
The Citadel plays at the FCS level in the Southern Conference. The Bulldogs are under new leadership as Mike Houston is in his first season with the squad, after leading Lenior-Rhyne to a Division II national championship last year. His debut with the Bulldogs was disappointing last week, as the team dropped its season opener to Coastal Carolina, 31-16.
The Bulldogs were one-dimensional in the loss to the Chanticleers, as they rushed for an impressive 358 yards, but managed a mere 19 yards passing. The triple-option was in full swing, as sophomore fullback Tyler Renew and senior running back Jake Stenson both eclipsed the century mark on the ground, as Renew finished with 137 yards (6.9 ypc) and one touchdown, while Stenson netted 120 yards (12.0 ypc) on just 10 carries. Senior quarterback Aaron Miller added 49 yards on the ground, but was a mere 1-of-8 passing.
The Citadel was torched for 433 yards of total offense by Coastal Carolina, giving up 170 yards on the ground and another 263 through the air. In addition, the Bulldogs struggled to get off the field, allowing the Chanticleers to convert 8-of-13 third-down attempts (.615).
Sophomore LB Tevin Floyd and senior DB Julian Baxter were active in defeat. Floyd led the team with 12 total tackles, including 2.5 TFL and one sack. Baxter totaled 10 stops. Senior LB Carl Robinson and senior DB Walker Smith finished just under double digits with nine tackles, apiece.
The Seminoles are used to blowing opponents out, but the season opener against Oklahoma State provided a stern test for the defending champs. Florida State was still able to amass 476 yards of offense, including 370 passing.
Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston got off to a slow start, but still finished with 370 yards and one TD on 25-of-40 passing. He did throw two interceptions, but had a "Heisman" moment with a 28-yard TD run.
All-American candidate Rashad Greene got his senior season off on the right foot, hauling in 11 balls for a career-high 203 yards and one score. Tailback Karlos Williams netted just 66 yards on 23 carries to lead a rather stagnant FSU ground game. He did add five receptions, for 36 yards as well.
An unassuming star, Greene is the consummate team player.
"I work hard," Greene said. "I'm not in it for attention. I don't need attention. I just do my job and I try to help others on my team. At the end of the day, that's what I'm here for. That's what Coach Fisher gave me a scholarship to come be a receiver and catch the football. If that's me making a catch a game, or 11 catches a game, I'm going to do that job to the best of my ability."
A lot has changed in a year, as FSU's vaunted defensive unit from 2013 did not show itself in the opener. Instead, the Seminoles gave up 364 yards of total offense to Oklahoma State, including a generous 161 yards on the ground. The unit did record two turnovers, but managed just three TFL and one sack.
Junior linebacker Terrance Smith and sophomore defensive back Jalen Ramsey tied for the team-lead with 12 stops each. Junior defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. was responsible for the one sack.