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No. 19 Florida State flexing dominance with Louisiana next in line

Sportsnaut
Nov 12, 2022; Syracuse, New York, USA; Florida State Seminoles quarterback Jordan Travis (13) celebrates catching a touchdown pass with wide receiver Johnny Wilson (14) in the third quarter against the Syracuse Orange at JMA Wireless Dome. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Florida State is playing its best football of the season behind a defense bordering on dominance.

The No. 19 Seminoles (7-3) have rolled to three consecutive wins by utilizing outstanding defense and a punishing rushing attack.

Having finished with its Atlantic Coast Conference schedule, Florida State hosts Louisiana (5-5) in a non-conference game Saturday in Tallahassee, Fla.

“When you continue to believe and you’re investing in the work and you pour into each other, and you’re doing it with all your heart, it’s fun to watch,” Seminoles coach Mike Norvell said. “I think our guys are playing as good as anybody right now.”

Florida State coasted to a 38-3 win over Syracuse last Saturday and has won its last three games by a combined score of 124-22. It hasn’t allowed a touchdown in either of its last two games.

The Seminoles’ last three opponents, who also include Georgia Tech and Miami, have averaged a combined 7.3 points and 204.0 total yards per game.

“It just shows that the hard work we have been putting in is finally paying off,” said defensive lineman Jared Verse, one of several defenders to return recently from injury.

“It’s nice to finally have everyone together. It’s nice to finally know what we’re capable of.”

The Seminoles’ offense has produced five consecutive 200-yard rushing games, led by Trey Benson, who eclipsed 100 yards rushing in three consecutive contests.

“It’s just a lot of unselfishness on this team,” Benson said. “That is why we are so explosive, because we are unselfish. We spread the ball around.”

The Ragin’ Cajuns are coming off a 36-17 victory against Georgia Southern in their home finale last week. That win gave Louisiana a chance to become bowl eligible even if it loses to Florida State. The Cajuns finish the regular season at Texas State next week.

“If you focus on what you need to focus on, you’ll accomplish everything else,” defensive end Andre Jones said. “The bigger picture is making it to a bowl game and finishing the right way.”

The Cajuns’ streak of four consecutive Sun Belt West titles has ended, but they can still make a bowl game for a fifth consecutive season and for the 10th time in 12 seasons.

“Our goals at the beginning of the year are the same every year,” said first-year head coach Michael Desormeaux, who has been on the Louisiana staff since 2016.

“Once you lose a couple of games, you’re out of contention for that. You’ve got to refocus and go get what’s left there for you. It’s not one goal, there are multiple goals along the way. It’s our job to get refocused on what’s in front of us and what we can do.

“I know they want to play in a bowl game. I want to play in a bowl game for them.”

Louisiana, like Florida State, has had a strong running game of late. Led by senior running back Chris Smith, the Cajuns have rushed for more than 200 yards in three of the last four games.

–Field Level Media