2011 Predictions & Game Story
Week 1 - ULM at Florida State
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Sept. 3 at Florida State 34 … ULM 0
CFN Analysis: The Florida State defense was all over the place against an overmatched ULM with the defensive front stopping everything cold. The goal was to see if E.J. Manuel could shine in his first game, and while he was decent, completing 22-of-34 passes for 252 yards and two scores and a pick, he wasn’t amazing. Next week against Charleston Southern, he’ll have to be a bit more accurate to show that he’s ready to shine against Oklahoma, but he’ll have help. As long as the defense is at the level it was at this week, the Noles will have a real shot at the upset.
The Warhawks didn’t stand a chance against the FSU defense, and while Kolton Browning completed 11-of-19 passes, he only threw for 85 yards and was awful on third downs. He didn’t get any help from the running backs with nothing happening in the ground game, but Florida State will do that to most teams. The defense did a decent job early on, but it didn’t get any help. Fortunately, Grambling State is up next and the offense should finally have a chance to show what it can do. Browning needs to have a sharper passing game for ULM to have any shot going forward, and it should start next week.
(AP) TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- EJ Manuel threw for 252 yards and two touchdowns and backup quarterback Clint Trickett threw a touchdown pass on his first college play as No. 6 Florida State beat Louisiana-Monroe 34-0 Saturday in the season opener for both teams.
Florida State's swarming defense limited ULM to 191 yards and 12 first downs.
ULM (0-1) got to Florida State's 28 -- its deepest penetration in the game -- in the opening minute of the fourth quarter before quarterback Kolton Browning was dropped for a on a fourth-and-1. The Warhawks managed to reach Seminole territory just once in the first half reaching the 44 before having to punt.
Florida State (1-0) led 17-0 at halftime and built its advantage to 27-0 before Manuel gave way to Trickett.
Manuel connected with Bert Reed on a 9-yard TD pass to get the Seminoles on the scoreboard in the opening quarter and hit Greg Dent in full stride on a 50-yard scoring play just before the half.
Manuel, who started six games during his freshman and sophomore seasons when Christian Ponder was out with injuries, was replaced by Trickett with 7:03 left and the Seminoles leading 27-0. Trickett, the youngest son of Florida State offensive coordinator Rick Trickett, fired a 28-yard touchdown pass to freshman Rashad Greene, on his first collegiate play.
Dustin Hopkins kicked a pair of short field goals and freshman Devonta Freeman added a 1-yard touchdown run in the third quarter to account for the other Florida State scoring.
Manuel completed 22 of 34 passes, favoring wideout Rodney Smith on a half dozen occasions for 78 yards.
Florida State struggled to get a running game established and finished with just 92 yards with Chris Thompson leading the way with 33 yards on a half dozen carries.
ULM struggled all day against Florida State's defense in the first meeting between the schools. The Warhawks converted on only 5 of 15 third down tries and failed on both fourth down attempts.
Browning led the Warhawks in rushing with 28 yards on 11 carries. He managed to complete 11-of-19 passes for 85 yards.
Things would have been worse for the Warhawks in the first half if not for an interception by safety Darius Prelow.
After a 30-yard punt return gave Florida State the ball at the ULM 17, Manuel threw into double coverage in the end zone where Prelow stepped in front of Reed for the interception.
ULM has been outscored 165-10 since the start of last season in losses to Arkansas, Auburn, LSU and now Florida State.
Reed's touchdown to start the scoring followed an acrobatic 17-yard catch by Kenny Shaw, who managed to keep one foot in while falling out of bounds at the ULM six.
Florida State went up 10-0 with 6:53 left in the half when Hopkins kicked a field goal from 24 yards to culminate an 87-yard, 17-yard drive that consumed eight minutes.
Dent's over-the-should catch on the dead run completed the first half scoring.
Florida State is now 9-1 over the years against teams presently in the Sun Belt Conference.
Florida State hosts Charleston Southern next Saturday and then top-ranked Oklahoma in a highly anticipated return match from a year ago when the Seminoles were clobbered 47-17 at Norman, Okla.
ULM(0-0) at Florida State (0-0) Sept. 3, 3:30, ESPNU
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Here’s The Deal … Miami is in trouble. Florida is rebuilding. Florida State is gearing up to make a long-awaited return to national championship contention. Yup, it’s a good time to be a ‘Nole. The program will begin 2011 with momentum, a slew of returning starters and heightened expectations. Just about everyone is back from a squad that won 10 games for the first time in seven years, spanking the ‘Canes and Gators along the way. The most notable departure from that squad is rookie Minnesota Vikings QB Christian Ponder, who’s about to be replaced by former blue-chip recruit E.J. Manuel. For Florida State, this is the first leg of what could be a turn-back-the-clock journey in 2011. Louisiana-Monroe will be playing with house money in its first-ever trip to Tallahassee. Since no one expects the Warhawks to win, they get a shot to make a splash while testing themselves versus one of the nation’s top teams. After coming within a win of .500 in head coach Todd Berry’s, the school is seeking bowl eligibility and a higher rung on the Sun Belt ladder.
Why Louisiana-Monroe Might Win: The Warhawks plan to ride the offense, specifically the passing game, as far as it’ll take the school this fall. The coaching staff is gushing about the future of versatile lefty Kolton Browning, who accounted for 22 touchdowns as a rookie in 2010. He’ll be reconnecting with all of last year’s top receivers, including elusive playmaker Luther Ambrose and speedy sophomore Tavarese Maye. While chock full of talent, the aggressive Florida State secondary can bite at times and get burned over the top. Browning and his experienced set of hands will look to take advantage on play-action and pump fakes.
Why Florida State Might Win: Obviously, the ‘Noles have a significant talent edge in the opener, but it’ll be most evident when they have the ball. Florida State will be able to manhandle its visitors, which will be painfully light in the front seven. Andrew Datko, Zebrie Sanders and the rest of the line will have their way with the Warhawks, opening gaping holes for Chris Thompson and his talented reserves. UL-Monroe’s general lack of size and star power will provide Manuel the right opponent to start fast and spread the ball around to his myriad playmakers.
What To Watch Out For: Browning is an up-and-comer in the Sun Belt, but he’ll face all kinds of unique hurdles in Doak Campbell Stadium. Solving the Seminoles D requires escaping the incessant pressure of DE Brandon Jenkins, and avoiding ball-hawk defensive backs Xavier Rhodes and Greg Reid. The Warhawks will be forced to put the ball in the air at least 40 times during catch-up mode, which will create numerous opportunities for sacks and picks.
What Will Happen: ULM was tested by three SEC schools last fall, losing by an average of 44-3. Expect similar results this week in Tallahassee. The opener of a season, the debut of a new starting quarterback and the revival of national championship talk will create more than the usual buzz for a Sun Belt visitor. The Seminoles will not disappoint, operating at mid-season form on both sides of the ball. The offense will get a multitude of backs and receivers involved, while the D will suffocate the Warhawks with a flurry of sacks and takeaways.
CFN Prediction: Florida State 48 … ULM 9
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