Florida State now has to win out just to make a bowl game.
Yes, that’s how bad things have gotten for the Seminoles, who were trounced 35-3 by Boston College on Friday night. An FSU bunch that was a preseason top-five team is now 2-5 and has to beat Syracuse, Clemson, Delaware State and Florida to get to 6-5 and make a bowl game.
That doesn’t seem likely to happen. The Noles look like they’re on a crash course for their first losing season since 1976.
So what the heck has gone wrong for the Seminoles this year? Losing quarterback Deondre Francois is a big one, though it’s impossible to think FSU wins Friday night or every other one of its games outside of Alabama if he’s healthy. Francois was a 59 percent passer a year ago as a freshman on an offense that included running back Dalvin Cook.
Yeah, he was going to get better as a sophomore. But it’s unfair to him to pin Florida State’s struggles solely on his knee injury.
It’s fair to wonder how Francois (if healthy) would have fared behind an offensive line that’s struggled this season too. FSU entered Friday night’s game with 20 sacks given up in six games. Sure, a few of those can be attributed to true freshman James Blackman replacing Francois under center. But Blackman was repeatedly beaten up after throwing the ball Friday night.
Auden Tate has developed into a number one receiver, and Nyqwan Murray has turned into a nice complementary receiver. But Tate has caught five of Florida State’s eight passing touchdowns this year and Murray just has one. The next two leading receivers (in terms of catches) are Keith Gavin and Jacques Patrick. Each of them is averaging less than 10 yards a catch and Patrick is now sidelined for the season.
Special teams have been less than spectacular, especially Friday night. Florida State gave Boston College a first down on a punt in the third quarter thanks to a running into the kicker penalty and defensive back Tarvarus McFadden inexplicably did this while back to return a punt.
BC converted the muffed punt for its fourth touchdown of the night. Entering the game, McFadden was averaging 4.8 yards a punt return.
Oh, McFadden’s punt muff also came in the third quarter, a quarter that’s been disastrous so far for the Seminoles. Counting that BC touchdown, Florida State has been outscored 59-9 in the third quarter this season.
And last, but not least, the Seminole defense has been one of the worst in the country forcing turnovers. Florida State has forced just five turnovers. Just seven teams have a worse turnover margin. Just one of those teams below the Seminoles has a chance of going bowling. And unless FSU pulls off a miracle over the next five weeks or gets a waiver to go a bowl game at 5-6, it’s not going to a bowl game either.
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