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Willie Taggart’s first season in Tallahassee was as disappointing as it gets, with the Noles suffering their first losing season since Bobby Bowden’s first year in 1976. FSU’s 5-7 season with marred with blowout losses against powerhouses Clemson and Notre Dame, as well as ACC opponents NC State and Virginia Tech. Furthermore, the Seminoles lost to both rivals Miami and Florida in the same season for the first time since 2009.
Florida State fans had to deal with a team that was tough to watch on offense, as the Seminoles’ attack averaged a measly 21.9 points per game, which ranked 113th out of 130 FBS programs.
Its up ?? pic.twitter.com/tEUPpWR3Ga
Tamorrion Terry (@TT1Batman) April 17, 2019
Whether it’s junior James Blackman or graduate transfer Alex Hornibrook taking snaps at quarterback, there are plenty of playmakers on offense capable of lighting up the scoreboard. Headlining this group is junior running back Cam Akers who had a down year in 2018 after rushing for over 1,000 yards as a freshman in 2017. Top pass catcher Tamorrion Terry returns along with fellow receivers Keith Gavin, D.J. Matthews, and tight end Tre’ McKitty.
The offensive line, a weakness for a last few years, should improve with experienced starters Landon Dickerson and Cole Minshew returning to campus. The play of this group will play a big role in whether or not the Noles take the next step.
On the other side of the ball, FSU’s defense returns their top two tacklers at linebacker in Hamsah Nasirildeen and Dontavious Jackson. The secondary will also have a fair share of starting experience coming back, with safety Levonta Taylor and corner Stanford Samuels III leading that group. The other two spots in the backfield will be fought for by the likes of Asante Samuel Jr, Kyle Meyers, and Jaiden Lars-Woodbey.
The most notable loss for Florida State is at quarterback, as Deondre Francois was dismissed from the team in February due to off-the-field issues. The team’s sack leader in Brian Burns is also gone, as he elected to leave school early for the NFL draft, where he was selected in the first round by the Carolina Panthers. Receiver Nyqwan “Noonie” Murray is also gone, having exhausted his eligibility along with fellow seniors Demarcus Christmas and Jacques Patrick.
Just the start of it ??? #nolenation pic.twitter.com/02kpKq4pGi
AkeemDent (@DoItAllDent103) April 8, 2019
Despite missing out on a quarterback recruit for the second straight recruiting cycle, coach Taggart and his staff managed to attract several talented athletes. The biggest signings in the class of 2019 are defensive backs Akeem Dent and Brendan Gant, both of whom ranked among the top five at their positions. The Seminoles managed to add much needed depth to their offensive line with five signings at the position, headlined by Dontae Lucas from IMG Academy.
|August 31st||Boise State (Neutral site game at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, FL)|
|September 14th||@ Virginia|
|September 28th||NC State|
|October 12th||@ Clemson|
|October 19th||@ Wake Forest|
|November 9th||@ Boston College|
|November 16th||Alabama State|
|November 30th||@ Florida|
Looking at FSU’s schedule, there are plenty of unknowns with regards to their opponents. The biggest wildcard is Miami who is going into their first year with a new coach after Mark Richt’s surprising retirement. Road games at Clemson and Florida will be tough as always, while Syracuse and Virginia should present challenges given their improvement.
New Jersey residents can log on to 888Sport to make wagers on Florida State’s ACC title odds as well as their win total. With an over/under of 7.5 wins, those looking to bet the over will have four losses to work with against a schedule with plenty of questions.
Regular season only. Conference championship games do not count.
|Sportsbook||Over 7.5||Under 7.5||Link|
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Andre has been writing for WSN since February 2019, covering college basketball and college football. A graduate of Florida State and UNC-Chapel Hill, he lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. When he is not writing, he enjoys playing sports and Magic: The Gathering.
Email: [email protected]More info on Andre Viljoen
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