Preview: Florida State at South Florida

When: 12:00 PM ET, Saturday, September 24, 2016
Where: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida

USF is off to a 3-0 start for the first time since 2011 and takes on its biggest challenge in the national spotlight Saturday when 14th-ranked Florida State pays a visit to Raymond James Stadium. The Bulls rallied to win 45-20 at Syracuse last week and could not be facing their Sunshine State rival at a worse time as Florida State arrives angry and focused after being embarrassed 63-20 at Louisville.

“I think it will be big, just from a respect (standpoint) and getting national attention,” USF coach Willie Taggart told reporters. “. … We don’t want anyone to give it to us, we want to earn it, and it’s a hell of an opportunity for us to go out and do that this weekend.” The Bulls averaged almost 50 points in the first three games and lean on running back Marlon Mack, along with quarterback Quinton Flowers and receiver Rodney Adams. The Seminoles will have to be much better defensively than last Saturday, when they allowed 314 yards rushing, if they are to avoid consecutive losses for the first time since 2011. “You know, we say ‘That’s not us, that’s not us.’ Well, that was us,” Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher told reporters. “That’s how we played and that’s how we coached. Now we have to do a better job of fixing those issues and moving on.”

TV: Noon ET, ABC. LINE: Florida State –5.5

ABOUT FLORIDA STATE (2-1): Junior running back Dalvin Cook came into the season as a Heisman Trophy candidate, but has not been as dominant as expected with 228 yards rushing in three games. Freshman quarterback Deondre Francois has thrown for 782 yards and six scores in the early going and has solid veteran receiving threats in Travis Rudolph (15 catches, 219 yards, three TDs) and Jesus “Bobo” Wilson (14, 186). The underachieving defense is without one of its top performers as safety Derwin James is lost for five to seven weeks after knee surgery.

ABOUT USF (3-0): The Bulls showed character last week by digging out of an early 17-0 hole with a big day from Adams, who ran for two scores and caught a touchdown pass. Flowers has been outstanding the last two weeks while completing 33-for-57 passes for five TDs and no interceptions, and has run for 150 yards in three games. Mack returned last week after missing a game with concussion symptoms to rush for 115 yards with a pair of touchdowns, and leads a ground attack averaging 247 yards (5.9 per attempt) with 10 total TDs from four different players.


1. The Seminoles are 2-1 all time against USF and Fisher is 14-1 versus in-state competition.

2. Mack needs 137 yards to pass Andre Hall (2,731) and become the school’s all-time leading rusher.
3. Cook needs 27 yards rushing to pass Larry Key (2,953) for fourth on Florida State’s all-time list and 73 to reach 3,000.

PREDICTION: Florida State 34, USF 28

Stats and Records

Team Comparison

  W/L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf Conf
Florida State 2-1 L1 39.0 35.0 2-0 0-1 1-0 0-0 0-1
South Florida 3-0 W3 49.7 19.0 2-0 1-0 2-0 0-0 0-0

Last Meeting

Florida State South Florida
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
9/12/15 USF 14 FSU 34 441 278 163 274 149 125

Player Stats

Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP% YDS TD INT
FSU E. Golson 53.8 163 1 0
USF Q. Flowers 50.0 125 2 1
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
FSU D. Cook 30 266 8.9 3
USF M. Mack 18 83 4.6 0
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
FSU T. Rudolph 6 55 9.2 0
USF D. Johnson 5 89 17.8 2
TDs Player TD
FSU D. Cook 3
USF D. Johnson 2
Passing Player COMP% YDS TD INT
FSU D. Francois 63.7 782 6 2
USF Q. Flowers 54.7 711 7 1
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
FSU D. Cook 50 228 4.6 2
USF M. Mack 18 173 9.6 3
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
FSU T. Rudolph 15 219 14.6 3
USF M. Valdes-Scantling 10 186 18.6 1
TDs Player TD
FSU T. Rudolph 3
USF R. Adams 6

Quickchart Matchup

Florida State Off vs  South Florida Def
434 yards
386.3 yards
4.2 yards/rush
3.3 yards/rush
7.2 yards/attempt
5.4 yards/attempt
South Florida Off vs  Florida State Def
518.7 yards
401.3 yards
5.9 yards/rush
4.8 yards/rush
8.7 yards/attempt
8.5 yards/attempt

Matchup Stats - Full Matchup

Florida State Overall South Florida
2-1-0 W/L 3-0-0
1-1-0 ATS 3-0-0
2-0-0 O/U 2-1-0
39.0 Pts For 49.7
35.0 Pts Against 19.0
Florida State A/H South Florida
0-1 W/L 2-0
0-1-0 ATS 2-0-0
1-0-0 O/U 2-0-0
20.0 Pts For 52.0
63.0 Pts Against 18.5