Here are 3 things FSU football must improve on in October

No. 4 Florida State football closed its first month of the season undefeated.

 

It beat LSU by 21 points in week one, followed by a 66-point outburst against Southern Miss. The Seminoles survived a road scare against Boston College, 31-29, and defeated Clemson in Death Valley for the first time since 2013 with a 31-24 overtime victory last Saturday.

 

Off Saturday, FSU coach Mike Norvell told his team the bye week is as important as any week in the season.

 

“This week, we’re going to reload,” Norvell said. “We fired some shots there in that first month of September. We’ve had some tough games, some challenging situations, but now it’s time to make sure that we take all we’ve had and go get better from it, be ready for the next opportunity when it shows up.”

 

Here are three things FSU (4-0) must improve on going into October.

 

 

On the surface, FSU’s offense is generating points and total yardage.

 

The Seminoles are averaging 43.2 points per game to rank second in the ACC behind Miami and seventh nationally. Their 427.2 total yards per game is respectable, ranking seventh among 14 teams in the ACC and 47th nationally.

 

FSU’s offense, however, has been a tad one-sided.

 

The passing game behind quarterback Jordan Travis has paced the unit while the rushing game has struggled.

 

 

FSU has 591 rushing yards and its 147.8 game average ranks 11th in the ACC in front of Pitt (135.0), Virginia Tech (108.3) and Virginia (79.3) and is tied for 75th nationally.

 

The Seminoles are averaging 4.7 yards per rush with nine rushing touchdowns.

 

Trey Benson has a team-high 189 yards on 40 attempts and four touchdowns Rodney Hill has added 103 rushing yards on 18 attempts.

 

Outside of that duo, however, FSU’s backs have struggled to get going.

 

The Seminoles had a season-low 22 rushing yards on 20 attempts for an average 1.1 yards per rush at Clemson, which ranks first in the ACC in total defense (262.8 yards per game) and second in rush defense (79 yards per game). FSU’s long rush was 12 yards by Benson.

 

The team’s only dominant rushing performance this season was 306 yards and two touchdowns against Southern Miss.

 

FSU’s receiving game is pulling a heavy load, averaging 279.5 passing yards per game to rank sixth in the ACC and 32nd nationally. Receivers Johnny Wilson and Keon Coleman have combined on 33 receptions for 559 yards and six touchdowns (all from Coleman).

 

The rushing game needs to start pulling its weight before it becomes a real issue.

 

 

 

However, in its two true road games against Boston College and Clemson, FSU has struggled.

 

Against Boston College, it built a 19-point lead before nearly losing it all in the final minute of the game. At Clemson, it trailed twice by 10 points. While it had a chance to win in regulation, the offense was held on downs.

 

FSU ended up winning both of those games, but it questioned whether or not the Seminoles are a College Football Playoff team. FSU also dropped a spot this week to No. 5 in the AP Poll and to No. 4 spot in the UL LBM Coaches Poll.

 

The Seminoles have three away games left on their schedule (Wake Forest, Pitt and No. 22 Florida) and should be heavy favorites in two. If the hiccups on the road continue, FSU could continue to drop in the polls.

 

The Seminoles don’t leave Tallahassee for nearly all of October, opening a three-game homestand against Virginia Tech Oct. 7.

 

They need to develop good habits at home, so they can dominate on the road.

 

Can FSU football play a complete game?

Clemson linebacker Barrett Carter (0) pressures Florida State University quarterback Jordan Travis (13) during the first quarter Sep 23, 2023; Clemson, South Carolina, USA; at Memorial Stadium.

We have yet to see this team play a complete game, specifically in the first half.

 

The Seminoles struggled to get going in the first half against LSU, had a slower first quarter against Southern Miss, nearly collapsed in the second half against Boston College and had an inconsistent performance overall against Clemson.

 

FSU rallied twice from a 10-point deficit at Clemson.

 

And linebacker Kalen DeLoach turned in one of the best plays in college football this season. Trailing 24-17 in the third quarter, DeLoach blitzed quarterback Cade Klubnik and forced a fumble. DeLoach recovered the fumble and returned it for a 56-yard touchdown for the game-tying score.

 

Defensively, the Seminoles are also focusing on faster starts.

 

“We really play our best football with our backs against the wall. We should always have that chip on our shoulder in the first half, but that’s something we’re gonna try to work on,” defensive lineman Patrick Payton said.

 

Payton added he feels the Seminoles play their “best football with our backs against the wall. We should always have that chip on our shoulder in the first half, but that’s something we’re gonna try to work on.”

 

While FSU is 4-0, complete games would’ve allowed this team a much easier route to an undefeated record. Seminole players and coaches have agreed that they haven’t played their best game yet.

 

If this team is able to string four quarters together, then it has a chance to finish a game fully satisfied.

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