No. 5 LSU will take on No. 8 Florida State in another showdown between these two blue-blood programs.
This is a rematch of last year’s classic where Florida State blocked the potential game-tying extra-point attempt with no time left on the clock after LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels led a 99-yard touchdown drive.
On paper at this moment, Florida State will be LSU’s toughest opponent up until the Tigers faceoff against their dreaded SEC West rivals Alabama.
The Seminoles have the depth and talent to compete with the Tigers as it returns some pieces from last year’s 10-3 team along with a handful of impact transfers. Let’s dive in.
The Seminoles had one of the best offenses in all of college football as they were 10th in total offense last season (484.2 yards per game). They also were 28th in pass offense (270.2) and 13th in rushing offense (214.1 yards per game).
The heart of Florida State’s offense offense is none other than quarterback Jordan Travis. The All-ACC quarterback completed 64% of his passes and threw for 3,214 yards with 24 touchdowns and only five interceptions. Last year against LSU, Travis was one of the reasons why Florida State beat the Tigers completing 20 of his 33 pass attempts for 260 yards and two touchdowns. Travis is an extremely shifty runner as he had 417 rushing yards and seven rushing touchdowns.
The run game returns its leading rusher from last season Trey Benson. Benson averaged 6.4 yards per carry while rushing for 990 yards and nine touchdowns. Lawrence Toafili also returns from last season where he rushed for 457 yards and five touchdowns.
The two of the most dangerous players on Florida State’s offense are on its perimeter in wide receivers Johnny Wilson and Michigan State transfer Keon Coleman.
Wilson, who is listed at 6-7, 240 pounds, was named to the preseason All-ACC First-Team as a receiver, tallied 43 receptions for 897 yards and five touchdowns last season.
Coleman, who is a native of Opelousas, La., was Michigan State’s leading receiver last season as he caught 58 receptions for 798 yards and seven touchdowns while with the Spartans.
On the offensive line, the Seminoles return left tackle Robert Scott, center Maurice Smith and right guard D’Mitri Emmanuel.
Florida State had one of the best defenses in the country as well last season. The Seminoles had the 14th defense last season as it allowed just 321.8 yards per game. The pass defense was also exceptional as it allowed just 165.4 passing yards a game which was the fourth-lowest in the country.
The reason why this is the case is because of Florida State’s excellent pass rush and its lockdown secondary.
On the defensive line, the ‘Noles have one of the best pass rushers in America with All-American defensive end Jared Verse, Western Michigan transfer defensive tackle Braden Fiske and ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year Patrick Payton.
Verse recorded 49 tackles, eight tackles for a loss and nine sacks. Fiske was on LSU’s radar before he decided to transfer to Florida State. and recorded 58 tackles, six tackles for loss, six sacks and three passes deflected while he was at Western Michigan. Payton recorded 31 tackles and five sacks last season.
The Seminoles also have a solid nose tackle in Fabian Lovett who is 6-4, 330 pounds.
As mentioned before, Florida State has one of the best defensive backfields in the country. Although they lost strong safety Jammie Robinson to the NFL, they will retain cornerback Renardo Green, strong safety Akeem Dent and former Edna Karr High School standout and New Orleans native Greedy Vance who had a team-high three interceptions last season. They also brought in All-ACC cornerback Fentrell Cyprus from Virginia through the transfer portal.
The linebacker spot returns Tatum Bethune and Kalen Deloach. Bethune recorded 84 tackles (6.5 for loss), three sacks and three pass breakups. Deloach recorded 65 tackles (4.5 for loss),
Florida State returns kicker Ryan Fitzgerald, who went 12-for-20 on field goal attempts, and punter Alex Mastromanno, who averaged 41.8 yards a punt and downed 14 punts inside the 20-yard line last fall.
Trey Benson will return kickoffs, which is an area where he is highly effective as he averaged 38.4 yards per kickoff return and took one back to the house last season.