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Game Preview: No. 8/8 FSU vs. Bethune-Cookman

Sept. 20, 2013

STUDENT-ATHLETE STATS COMPARISON

#8/8 Florida State Seminoles (2-0)
Roster | Schedule | Stats | Game Notes
Head Coach: Jimbo Fisher
Passing leader
Player Pct Avg/gm TD Int
Jameis Winston 88.9 285.0 6 1
Rushing leaders
Player Att Yds Avg/gm TD
Devonta Freeman 18 161 80.5 1
Karlos Williams 8 110 55.0 1
Receiving leaders
Player Rec Yds Avg/gm TD
Rashad Greene 11 165 82.5 2
Kelvin Benjamin 10 188 94.0 1
Defensive leaders
Player Tkls Scks TFL INT
Lamarcus Joyner 15 2 2 0
Christian Jones 13 0 0 0
 

Bethune-Cookman (2-0)
Roster | Schedule | Stats | Game Notes
Head Coach: Brian Jenkins
Passing leader
Player Pct Avg/gm TD Int
Jackie Wilson 63.2 54.5 2 0
Rushing leaders
Player Att Yds Avg/gm TD
Anthony Jordan 35 221 73.7 2
Cary White 19 128 46.0 3
Receiving leaders
Player Rec Yds Avg/gm TD
Anthony Jordan 6 31 10.3 0
Eddie Poole 5 73 24.3 0
Defensive leaders
Player Tkls Scks TFL INT
Jarkevis Fields 23 1 1 0
Nesly Marcellon 15 2 4.5 0
Brandon Mellor Brandon Mellor
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Key Players: Offense

Florida State

5 Jameis Winston

Winston enters his third game as Florida State's starting quarterback with more touchdown throws (six) than incompletions (five) and the second-best completion percentage in college football.

And while Bethune-Cookman may not get much credit nationally as an FCS school, Winston knows he has to be prepared for the Wildcats if he wants his impressive game-by-game statistics to continue before the start of ACC play next week.

"What Coach Fisher always tells us is we are not looking at our opponent, we are facing ourself," Winston said. "I believe if we go out there and do what we have to do we will be successful. They are a great team, they are fast, athletic and they have a lot to prove. But we are Florida State [and] we've got to keep playing Florida State football.

"We've got to keep grinding now matter who we play."

 
Bethune-Cookman

4 Anthony Jordan

Bethune-Cookman has racked up 1,073 yards of offense compared to their opponents' 659 and has produced 112 points while allowing just 29 in wins over Tennessee State, Virginia Union and FIU. The Wildcats' offensive explosion has had a lot to do with the production from Jordan, who is this week's MEAC Offensive Player of the Week.

In BCU's win over FIU, Jordan rushed for a career-high 150 yards with a 58-yard touchdown dash. In the big 34-13 win in Miami, Jordan accounted for 47 percent of Bethune-Cookman's total offensive output.

The Wildcats have some questions at quarterback where they have started three players in three games but there's no questioning the team's ability to run.

"They've got a great group; they're athletic," FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said. "They're running the ball very well on offense.

Key Players: Defense

Florida State

24 Terrance Smith

Christian Jones' one-game suspension for the Bethune-Cookman contest means that the redshirt sophomore Smith will get the first start of his career Saturday evening.

Smith, who has played 17 games in his career, has two tackles this season in limited action as a reserve linebacker and special teams player.

But don't let Smith's lack of production fool you; Fisher has been saying since last season that the Decatur, Ga. native is a talented player. Saturday's game will finally give him meaningful playing time to go out and show that Fisher's words have been true.

Smith entered the season as the 'Noles' utility man in the linebacker corps, where he was penciled in as the backup at both Mike (the position he starts at against Bethune-Cookman) and Will.

 
Bethune-Cookman

1 Jarkevis Fields

Fields leads BCU in total tackles through three games this season with 23 stops to his credit. He also has a sack from his linebacker position in those trio of wins.

A First-Team All-MEAC selection a year ago when he led the Wildcats in tackles, Fields leads a 2013 group of defenders that currently has BCU ranked No. 1 in total defense in the FCS.

"They went out and beat FIU 34-13 and handled them very easily," Fisher said. "Great win for them. They've been in the top of their league for the last three years. Coaches have done a tremendous job coaching them.

"... [They are] very diverse on defense and sound in the kicking game, so we'll have our hands full again and have another great opponent coming in."

Four Downs: Key questions for FSU vs. Bethune-Cookman

1. Who steps up in place of FSU's missing players?

E.J. Levenberry could get the most playing time of his young career Saturday.

Florida State is without three starters on its defense for Saturday's game and that means the opportunity is there for a host of different players to step into important roles against the Wildcats -- particularly on the defensive line.

At defensive end, Mario Edwards, Jr. is out with an injured hand so true freshman DeMarcus Walker could be back in the starting lineup after starting on the right side in the season opener against Pittsburgh. On the left side, Eddie Goldman has been suspended for a violation of team rules so redshirt senior Demonte McAllister will get the nod as starter. Dan Hicks and youngsters Ukeme Eligwe and Chris Casher are also in the mix for extra snaps as pass rushers.

At linebacker, Smith steps into Jones' vacated middle linebacker spot as the starter but true freshmen E.J. Levenberry and Matthew Thomas and sophomore Reggie Northrup will also figure heavily into the rotation.

"They've all played a lot this year," Fisher said. "We've got plenty of guys. I have great confidence. They've played a lot of ball already. That's why we keep that rotation.

2. Can the FSU defense get its first shut out of the season?

Timmy Jernigan and the FSU defense are aiming for another strong performance.

Florida State has pitched a shutout at least once every season under Fisher, so could this be the weekend that the Seminoles keep an opponent out of the endzone?

After giving up a combined 20 points in the first two games of the year, FSU comes into Saturday's game with the No. 8-ranked defense in the entire country. The Seminoles are allowing just 255.5 yards per game and have allowed opposing offensese to convert third downs just 27 percent of the time.

Through three games, Bethune-Cookman is averaging 37.3 points per game thanks to 251.7 yards rushing per contest, so something has to give.

"We've just got to stay focused and make sure we are doing what we have to do," sophomore cornerback P.J. Williams said. "We've got to stop the run. ...This is pretty much as big as any other game we play because [BCU] has got some great players. They've got a lot of great athletes that are just as fast as the other teams we have played."

3. Who will lead FSU in rushing and receiving this weekend?

Karlos Williams' addition to the backfield gives FSU yet another gamebreaker at tailback.

Take a look at the players that dot Florida State's running back and wide receiver depth charts and it's pretty difficult to predict who will be the individual statistics leader each week. The Seminoles have so many playmakers that it's impossible to predict who will be the breakout offensive skill player this game against BCU.

While Rashad Greene is the team's leading receiver and has been for the past two years, Kenny Shaw is actually acveraging more yards per game and Kelvin Benjamin has the ability to take over at any time. Whether it's Greene, Shaw, Benjamin or even Christian Green, Winston has a plethora of pass-catchers to choose from when it comes to delivering the football, making the Wildcats' job Saturday daunting because you cannot key in on one specific player.

In the backfield, Devonta Freeman leads the rushing effort statistically through two games and is part of a tailback juggernaut that also features James Wilder, Jr., the recently added Karlos Williams and potential star Ryan Green.

With capable ball carriers that are able to score every time they touch the football, FSU is always one snap away from breaking games open.

"We know there's a lot of us back there that can carry the load," Karlos Williams said. "It gives us great depth and great talent."

4. Will FSU's youngsters continue to get valuable playing time?

Freddie Stevenson moved from linebacker to fullback and he scored against Nevada.

Jalen Ramsey may be the only true freshman that has started both games to start the 2013 season, but that doesn't mean that the rest of this year's crop of rookies aren't already paying dividends up and down the roster.

In big victories over Pittsburgh and Nevada to start the season, Fisher and his staff have had the added benefit of providing the young players with valuable playing time.

"You can explain it to them a thousand ways," Fisher said, "but until they go out and make a mistake or make a play, it doesn't matter."

Ramsey has led led the charge amongst FSU's first-year players, becoming the first true freshman cornerbackat FSU to start since the great Deion Sanders. Ramsey, of course, has a long way to go before he's mentioned in the same breath for anything else with Sanders, but so far one can tell that the Smyrna, Tenn. native has a bright future.

"He came in saying [how good he is]," Fisher said. "We all said, 'OK,' but when you're around him, you see a different guy. He's a mature guy."

In addition to Ramsey, Levenberry and Thomas have already logged extensive minutes on defense and special teams and Nate Andrews has earned playing time in the defensive secondary and Walker is on the verge of starting his second game in a Seminole uniform.

On offense, Wilson Bell cracked the two-deep before sustaining an injury to his knee last weekend that may keep himout up to six weeks or potentially even longer. Isaiah Jones, Marquez White, Levonte Whitfield and Jesus Wilson have all logged snaps at wide receiver and Freddie Stevenson and Ryan Green have scored touchdowns from the backfield.

Of the 20 true freshman on the roster, FSU has been able to play 13 of them -- and perhaps that number will grow once tight end Jeremy Kerr returns to full health. If all goes well against Bethune-Cookman, the 'Noles will get the opportunity to give each of them more valuable repititions with the most important part of the 2013 schedule on the horizon.

"All those freshmen are playing good," FSU redshirt senior defensive tackle Jacobbi McDaniel said. "You can tell they are going to be great players here."

FSU injury report

Questionable game
  • Derrick Mitchell, Jr. (knee)
Out for game
Out for season

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