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Sep 12, 2015; Tallahassee, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles running back Dalvin Cook (4) runs the ball past University of South Florida Bulls cornerback Mazzi Wilkins (23) during the second half of the game at Doak Campbell Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

CFB Preview: Florida State Travels to Tampa to Face USF

The No. 13 ranked Florida State Seminoles are looking to bounce back from a 62-20 loss against their ACC rival Louisville as they travel to Tampa, Fl to take on the South Florida Bulls.

Last Saturday’s loss for the Noles marked the largest loss under head coach Jimbo Fisher, and the second largest loss in school history. This was also the first time the Seminoles have ever allowed an opponent to score 60 points in a game. After out-passing and out-rushing their two previous opponents, Florida State had just 284 yards of total offense compared to Louisville’s 530- yards.

The University of South Florida is 3-0 on the season, with their most recent victory coming on the road against Syracuse. The Orange were able to put up over 500-yards of total offense on  South Florida, but the Bulls forced three turnovers (two interceptions and one fumble) to help cap off a 45-20 win. The Bulls are off to a great start to the 2016 season, as they are averaging nearly 520 yards of total offense per game, while limiting their opponents to about 386 yards per game.

Last year’s matchup between the two teams ended in a 34-14 victory for the Noles. South Florida managed to keep the game close through the first three quarters of last years game, but Florida State was able to open up a two touchdown lead in the fourth quarter to secure a victory for the home crowd.

Notable Statistics from the 2015 Matchup 

Sep 12, 2015; Tallahassee, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles wide receiver Travis Rudolph (15) picks up a first down against the South Florida Bulls at Doak Campbell Stadium. Florida State won 34-14. Mandatory Credit: Glenn Beil-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 12, 2015; Tallahassee, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles wide receiver Travis Rudolph (15) picks up a first down against the South Florida Bulls at Doak Campbell Stadium. Florida State won 34-14. Mandatory Credit: Glenn Beil-USA TODAY Sports
  • Dalvin Cook (FSU)- 30 carries, 266 yards, 3 TDs
  • Travis Rudolph (FSU)- 6 receptions, 55 yards
  • Quinton Flowers (USF)- 12 for 24 passing, 125 yards, 2 TDs and 1 INT
  • Marlon Mack (USF)- 18 carries, 83 yards

This year, the Bulls will have home-field advantage plus the momentum after coming off a third straight win.

Players To Watch

For FSU to win, they will need to get their running game going. Compared to last year’s numbers through Week 3 of the regular season, Dalvin Cook’s numbers have failed to compare as he has yet to hit the 100-yard mark this season.  But Cook can’t take all of the blame. The offensive line hasn’t done a great job blocking for the Miami native.

After his first two games as the starting quarterback for the Seminoles, Deondre Francois looked like a future Heisman hopeful. After throwing for nearly 700 yards and five touchdowns, he struggled against the Louisville defense. He completed seven of his 18 attempts while barely cracking 100 yards. He will need to get back on track very soon if he plans to lead FSU to victory over a much improved South Florida team.

For South Florida, look out for Junior running back Marlon Mack and Senior running back Darius Tice. Mack is coming off of a 115 yard two touchdown game against Syracuse while Tice was limited to 13-yards on just three carries. By the look of it, South Florida has yet to find a go-to-back. Perhaps they won’t have to with the success the team has had so far.

Sep 12, 2015; Tallahassee, FL, USA; South Florida Bulls quarterback Quinton Flowers (9) looks for a receiver against the Florida State Seminoles at Doak Campbell Stadium. Florida State won 34-14. Mandatory Credit: Glenn Beil-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 12, 2015; Tallahassee, FL, USA; South Florida Bulls quarterback Quinton Flowers (9) looks for a receiver against the Florida State Seminoles at Doak Campbell Stadium. Florida State won 34-14. Mandatory Credit: Glenn Beil-USA TODAY Sports

To start the 2015 season, South Florida quarterback Quinton Flowers threw for just 326 yards in his first three games. However, he is off to a much hotter start in his third year under Head Coach Willie Taggart. You can see Flowers’ stats here.

Florida State Head Coach Jimbo Fisher knows his team is in for a more difficult matchup this year. In an article from the Tampa Bay Times, Coach Fisher praised the work that Taggart has done for the South Florida this season.

Kickoff is set for this Saturday at noon and can be seen on ABC.

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