3 Keys to the FSU vs. Texas State Opener

Part of me has always wanted to start a sports blog. So why start one now? With a school body of over 40,000 people and a fan base extending across the state, my audience is larger than it ever could’ve been in high school. With a prestigious Florida State football team in my backyard, I have a national spotlight waiting to shine on me. And with a burning desire to bring Tallahassee the sports news it deserves, there is no better time than right now.

So for my first ever football game in Tallahassee, the Seminoles face up against the Texas State Bobcats out of the Sun Belt Conference. The Seminoles, who won 29 straight games until their embarrassing 59-20 loss to Oregon in the Rose Bowl semifinals, are 30 point favorites against a Bobcat team who finished 7-5 last season.

With a sour taste in their mouth to end to last season and so many players leaving for the NFL (including star quarterback Jameis Winston), Florida State hopes to start a new winning streak with a whole new cast of players. While most people don’t expect the Seminoles to lose this game, Texas State has the weapons and tactics to expose Florida State’s weaknesses. And with that, here are my three keys to the game today against Texas State:

  1. Run the ball early. Run the ball fast! RUN THE BALL!!!

Last season, the ‘Noles were able to rely mostly on their passing attack with Winston and get a good amount of touches to runners Karlos Williams Jr. and Dalvin Cook. Now, with Cook in his second year after a fantastic freshman campaign, head coach Jimbo Fisher needs to get off to a fast start on the ground to open things up for the 5th year transfer quarterback Everett Golson.

Texas State is known for their aggressive blitzes, so if Cook can start off hot, then it will let a turnover-prone Golson be more aggressive behind center. Bottom line: hand the ball off.

2.  Limit the turnovers.

Nothing can kill you more than points off turnovers so holding on to the rock is always a key to the game. But especially with Golson, who threw 14 interceptions last season for Notre Dame, this game will set the tone for his season. If he can capitalize on his strengths- his quick legs and strong arm- and limit his mistakes, then the Bobcats and all opposing teams better watch out.

3. Who will make the big plays?

After losing their two top receivers in tight end Nick O’Leary and wide receiver Rashad Greene (and Winston of course), some of the returning and new receivers will need to step up. Will it be wide receivers Travis Rudolph or Jesus Wilson? Or will it be newcomers Da’Vante Phillips or George Campbell? Whoever it is, someone will need to bring a spark to this offense against a stingy Bobcat defense.

I know I can’t wait to see how this new Seminoles team will look coming out of the gate. I can’t wait to see who’s going to step up and make those thrilling plays that everyone remembers for years, i.e., Rashad Greene’s 49 yard catch against Auburn in the BCS national title game. While losing so many players to the NFL last season is tough, only the best of the best come back and stay elite (see Nick Saban and Alabama).

Will the Seminoles make a second straight appearance to the college football playoff or will they crumble under the pressure? Will Golson be the quarterback he was for Notre Dame three years ago or will he resort back to committing multiple turnovers a game? All of these questions and more will be answered starting tonight at 8:00 pm ET.

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