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Story Archives: Florida St. defeats ULM 34-0 in season opener
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|Florida St. defeats ULM 34-0 in season opener|
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- The ULM defense held the nation's fifth-ranked team for as long as it could, but field position and time of possession proved to be too much as the Seminoles handed the Warhawks a 34-0 loss in the season opener for both clubs Saturday at Doak-Campbell Stadium.
Florida State (1-0) had just 45 yards of offense and six rushing yards in the opening quarter of play and went into the halftime break with just 52 yards on the ground. Florida State started three of its first five drives in ULM territory and another on its own 47-yard line, while ULM started inside its own 20-yard line on five of its first eight drives. For the game, Florida State's average starting field position was its own 43-yard line while ULM's averaging starting field position was its own 16-yard line.
The Seminoles finished the game with 372 yards against a Warhawk defense that was on the field for over 30 minutes. ULM, who has led the Sun Belt in rushing each of the past two seasons, held Florida State to just 92 yards on the ground.
The Seminoles opened the scoring late in the first quarter on a 9-yard pass from EJ Manuel to Bert Reed on a third-and-goal. Kentarius Caldwell forced the third-and-long with his first career sack one play earlier and the Warhawks chased Manuel out of the pocket on the touchdown throw.
Manuel finished the game 22-of-34 for 252 yards with a pair of touchdowns and an interception; he also rushed for 22 yards on eight carries. Rodney Smith had six receptions for 78 yards while Jarred Haggins had five catches for 28 yards.
Florida State's much heralded defense held ULM to just 191 yards in the game with 99 coming on the ground. Kolton Browning finished the game 11-for-19 for 85 yards through the air and led the Warhawks in rushing with 28 yards on 11 carries (he gained 61 yards from scrimmage, but had 33 negative yards of rushing).
In his first game on the defensive side of the ball, converted wide receiver Tim Taylor had a game-high nine tackles and a tackle for loss. Darius Prelow finished with four tackles, a sack and an interception while Caldwell had four tackles, a sack and two tackles for loss.
FSU ate up a chunk of the second-quarter clock with a 17-play, eight minute drive that resulted in a 24-yard field goal by Dustin Hopkins to increase the Seminole lead to 10-0. Florida State all but abandoned the run game during the drive until it reached the Warhawk 5-yard line as Manuel attempted a pass on 10 of the first 12 plays on the drive.
Following ULM's fourth three-and-out of the first half, Greg Reid gave the Seminoles the ball on the ULM 17-yard line with a 30-yard punt return. However, Prelow intercepted Manuel in the end zone on the first play of the drive.
Three plays quickly moved the ball 28 yards, but Browning's first-down pass was intercepted by Lamarcus Joyner at the Seminoles' 16-yard line. FSU took advantage of the turnover as Manuel found a streaking Greg Dent for a 50-yard touchdown pass on 3rd-and-9 with just over a minute to play in the half to give the Seminoles a 17-0 lead at the break.
Devonta Freeman pushed the FSU lead out to 24-0 with a 1-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter. The Seminoles converted three third downs on the drive and on all three they needed at least five yards to keep the drive going.
The Warhawks followed with their best offensive drive of the game as they marched down to the Florida State 28-yard line. Browning converted a pair of third downs to keep the drive alive; the first with his legs on a 10-yard run and the second with a 17-yard pass to Je'Ron Hamm when the Warhawks needed 15 yards. However, the Seminoles dropped Browning for a 4-yard loss on fourth and inches to end the drive.
Hopkins hit his second field goal of the game, this one from 23-yards out, and Rashad Greene threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to Clint Trickett to cap the scoring.
The Warhawks open the home portion of their schedule next Saturday when they host Grambling State at Malone Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. and the game will be broadcast live on ESPN3.
FSU - Manuel 9-yard pass to Reed (Hopkins kick), 4:16, 1st 7-0
FSU - Hopkins 24-yard FG, 6:53, 2nd 10-0
FSU - Manuel 50-yard pass to Dent (Hopkins kick), 1:09, 2nd 17-0
FSU - Freeman 1-yard run (Hopkins kick), 3:48, 3rd 24-0
FSU - Hopkins 23-yard FG, 8:35, 4th 27-0
FSU - Greene 28-yard pass to Trickett (Hopkins pass), 6:57, 4th 34-0
Report courtesy ulmwarhawks.com