Florida State is playing its best football of the season behind a defense that borders on dominance.
The No. 19 (7-3) Seminoles have pulled off three straight victories by using excellent defense and a punishing fast offense.
With the Atlantic Coast Conference schedule finalized, Florida State hosts Louisiana (5-5) in a non-conference game Saturday in Tallahassee, Fla.
“If you keep believing in it and investing in the work and pouring out to each other and doing it with all your heart, it’s fun to watch,” said Seminoles coach Mike Norvell. “I think our boys are playing as well as anyone else at the moment.”
Florida State clinched a 38-3 win over Syracuse last Saturday and has won its last three games by an aggregate score of 124-22. It hasn’t conceded a touchdown in either of its last two games. The Seminoles’ last three opponents, which also include Georgia Tech and Miami, have averaged 7.3 points and 204.0 total yards per game.
“It just goes to show that the hard work we’ve put in is finally paying off,” said defender Jared Verse, one of several defenders to recently return from injury. “It’s nice to finally have everyone together. It’s nice to finally know what we’re capable of.”
The Seminoles’ offense has produced five straight 200-yard rushing games, led by Trey Benson, who eclipsed 100-yard rushing in three straight contests.
“There’s just a lot of altruism on this team,” said Benson. “That’s why we’re so explosive, because we’re altruistic. We distribute the ball.”
The Ragin’ Cajuns clinched a 36-17 win over Georgia Southern in their home final last week. This win gave Louisiana a chance to qualify for the Bowl even if it loses to Florida State. The Cajuns finish the regular season next week in Texas State.
“If you focus on what you need to focus on, you will achieve everything else,” said Andre Jones on the defensive end. “The big picture is making it to a bowl game and finishing the right way.”
The Cajuns’ streak of four straight Sun Belt West titles is over, but they can still make a bowl game for a fifth straight season and a 10th time in 12 seasons.
“Our goals at the beginning of the year are the same every year,” said first-year head coach Michael Desormeaux, who has been on the Louisiana staff since 2016.
“Once you lose a few games, you’re not in contention for it anymore. You need to refocus and get what’s left for you. It’s not one goal, there are multiple goals along the way. It is our job to refocus on what lies ahead and what we can do.
“I know they want to play in a bowl game. I want to play for them in a bowl game.”
Louisiana, like Florida state, has had a strong running game lately. Led by senior running back Chris Smith, the Cajuns have rushed for more than 200 yards in three of their last four games. – Field level media