By: Fletcher Keel | WCTV Eyewitness Sports
September 7, 2019
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Florida State running back Cam Akers set a program record for rushes in a single game and scored the game-winning touchdown in overtime as the Seminoles outlasted the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks, 45-44, in overtime.
For the second straight game to open 2019, Florida State was held scoreless in the third quarter and saw Louisiana-Monroe convert a pair of FSU turnovers into touchdowns.
After fumbling the ball away while trying to pick up yards after a big pass play, the Warhawks got the ball right back after Corey Straughter picked off FSU quarterback James Blackman, and took it to the house to make it a 24-14 game.
The very next defensive series, the Warhawks forced a fumble against Keith Gavin and Caleb Evans did the rest on offense, taking the ball to the endzone from 10-yards out and brining the Warhawks within three at 24-21.
For a full breakdown of scoring plays from both the Warhawks and the Seminoles, click here.
From there, the two sides traded blows: Blackman found DJ Matthews from seven-yards out to make it a 10-point game, but ULM answered with a 60-yard drive of their own.
The Warhawks took their first lead of the game with 7:44 to play in regulation on a two-yard touchdown rush from Josh Johnson, which was set up by a 16-yard pass from Evans to Jonathan Hodoh, who thought he scored but it was overturned on replay after seeing his foot step out at the half-yard line.
The Warhawks score erased a 21-point FSU lead.
Akers took matters into his own hands on the next FSU drive, taking a dump off pass 44-yards to the house, outrunning every Warhawk defender in the process to re-give the Noles a lead at 38-35.
With 90 seconds left, ULM tied the game on a field goal, and neither team was able to break through before regulation ended.
FSU scored to open overtime on an Akers four-yard rush to give the Noles a lead, but the Warhawks answered right back in just three plays, capped off by a 10-yard touchdown rush from Evans.
However, instead of going for two, the Warhawks opted to play for a second overtime, but missed the extra point to give FSU their first win of the season.
It was just the Noles' sixth all-time overtime contest, and they're now 3-0 in OT at home all time.
Just like in the Noles' first game against Boise State, the offense was firing on all cylinders as FSU scored touchdowns in each of their first three drives of the game to jump out to a quick 21-0 lead.
Unlike their early scoring drives against the Broncos, the Seminoles were able to put together methodical, sustained drives, scoring quickly, but not too quickly. Cam Akers opened the scoring to cap off a 70-yard drive in the Noles' first series of the game while Blackman accounted for the next two; a 19-yard pass to Tre'Shaun Harrison to make it 14-0 and a 10-yard run on his own to make it 21-0.
ULM put their first points on the board in the closing minutes of the second quarter. After failing to convert on fourth and goal in the previous possession, the Warhawks scored their first touchdown on a 33-yard touchdown pass from Evans to Josh Pederson, bringing ULM within 21-7.
FSU added a 36-yard field goal as time expired in the first half to take a 24-7 lead into the locker room.
Akers finished his record-setting day with 36 carries, 193 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winning score.
His counterpart, ULM's Johnson, had a strong day as well, carrying the ball 26 times for 126 yards and a touchdown.
Blackman started the game hot, 11-for-12, and stayed hot, completing 30 of his 40 pass attempts for 282 yards and three touchdowns despite his two interceptions.
Evans started the game cold, going 0-for-8 (thanks to some bad drops from his receivers), but turned it on in the second half, totaling 241 yards on 23-of-38 passing and two touchdowns.
In total, FSU outgained ULM, 501-419.