Number 13 ranked FSU had just come off of what was arguably the worst loss in school history after
being destroyed by Louisville 63-20. USF came into the
game riding a three game winning streak after
dismantling Syracuse 45-20 the week prior. There was a
different feeling about this game after FSU had
won the two prior meetings and USF beat FSU in their first
ever matchup in 2009. Since that 2009 game both programs went in completely different directions.
USF struggled under previous head coach Skip Holtz who was the coach from 2010 – 2012, Willie
Taggart then took over the fledgling program. FSU moved on from the legendary Bobby Bowden after
the 2009 season, and head coach in waiting Jimbo Fisher took over the program and led them to a 2013
There was a blood in the water type of feel to this game, USF had been exceeding expectations riding a
strong wave to end last season and FSU had been underwhelming after losing their bowl game the
previous season. Some USF fans spoke as if a win would catapult USF into the upper echelon of Florida’s
college football scene along with the big three of FSU, Miami, and UF.
On the first play of the game USF’s Quentin Flowers hit receiver Rodney Adams down the sideline for an
84 yard touchdown which brought the USF faithful out of their seats. The pre-game narrative was
already set and the quick touchdown did nothing to quell the excitement. That was until the very first
offensive play for FSU when RB Dalvin Cook broke free for a 75 yard touchdown
run. On the following drive USF had a strong counter punch and drove down the
field for a 72 yard touchdown drive. That would be the last touchdown that USF
would score while the game was still competitive.
From that moment on talent and coaching took over as the FSU defense
overwhelmed the USF offense and held them scoreless on 9 straight possessions. In
that same timeframe FSU scored 38 unanswered points before USF was able to stop
the bleeding by scoring a touchdown in the third quarter. The FSU running game had their way as they
were able to amass 478 yards on the ground with 267 of those yards being accounted for by Dalvin Cook.
Cook dominated on the day ending with 9.5 yards per carry average.
Some will say it was in garbage time and didn’t matter much but USF had a strong fourth quarter which
is encouraging for them going forward. They could have easily laid down but they continued fighting and
RB D’Ernest Johnson had two touchdowns in the fourth quarter as he took over as the main running
back when star tailback Marlon Mack left the game earlier with an injury.
In the end FSU won in dominating fashion, 55-35 while still showing that they had many things to clean
up. USF had some bright spots and put up 450 yards on the FSU defense. QB Flowers racked up plenty of
rushing yards, mainly in the fourth quarter ending the game with 159 yards on the ground. The game
was a nice bounce back win for FSU and although the game showed that USF is not exactly where some
thought they were they still have to be encouraged by how they finished out the game.