FSU running back Trey Benson scores a touchdown against Southern Miss. PHOTO BY KEN FIELDS
By NICK CARLISLE TheOsceola
While Florida State might not have been able to completely fight off the hangover from an impressive win against No.14 LSU the previous week, the No. 4 Seminoles were able to cruise to a dominant 66-13 win over Southern Miss on Saturday night.
“I’m proud of our team coming off a short week and a very emotional game,” coach Mike Norvell said after the win. “There were some plays that we left out there - there is no question. There will be a lot of things that we are going to get to do to continue to work. Our guys came out and played with passion. They played with effort and they played with physicality.”
Redshirt juniors Deuce Spann and Darion Williamson contributed early as the Seminoles’ passing attack could not get much going in the first quarter. Williamson caught his first touchdown as a Seminole with an athletic 10-yard catch to open up the scoring. Johnny Wilson and Keon Coleman were both held without a reception for much of the first half.
While Coleman ended the night with three catches, a touchdown and an extremely athletic hurdle, Wilson ended the night without a catch despite being targeted five times.
The Seminoles’ offense found its rhythm in the second quarter, producing its second straight 31 point half en route to FSU’s eighth straight game of scoring 35 points or more. FSU’s 66 points is the most points scored in the Mike Norvell era, surpassing the 59 from a win over UMass in 2021.
All four scholarship quarterbacks made appearances, with Jordan Travis and Tate Rodemaker throwing for two touchdowns. True freshman Brock Glenn broke a 34-yard run that was enabled by a Hykeem Williams block.
Eleven receivers caught passes over the course of the game —three of them being true freshman. Hykeem Williams, Destyn Hill and Vandrevius Jacobs all caught their first pass as a Seminole. Jacobs checked off multiple firsts, as his lone reception was also his first touchdown reception.
FSU DOMINATES SOUTHERN MISS
While Trey Benson had a hat trick of touchdowns, backup running backs Caziah Holmes and Rodney Hill contributed strong, physical runs that gashed the Golden Eagles defense. Holmes earned his first touchdown as a Seminole with a 40-yard touchdown run.
“Caziah is one of my closest RB’s on the team,” Benson said. “I’m talking to him every single day. We hang out outside of football. Seeing him out there today — I almost cried for him. I know what he has been through these past few years and I’m excited to see the future for him.”
Lawrance Toafili also had an impressive run but to call him a backup feels like it would be demeaning to how explosive and valuable he continues to be for this Florida State offense.
Defensively, multiple young players saw action throughout the second half including many true freshmen. Quindarrius Jones made a pair of nice plays in coverage after letting up a touchdown late last week against LSU. Blake Nichelson ended the game with the most registered tackles, and defensive backs Edwin Joseph, Jabril Rawls and Conrad Hussey had multiple pass break ups.
“It prepares you for when your time comes,” linebacker Kalen DeLoach said. “I want all of our young guys to get reps so when it’s time, they play full speed and with no hesitation. It was a good thing for our young guys to get their feet wet, to understand the game speed and to go out and communicate. The game is faster compared high school. I thought they did a good job tonight, getting the opportunity to go out there and compete.”