Seminole offense finds early success, FSU beats NIU, 37-19

By: Fletcher Keel | WCTV Eyewitness Sports
September 22, 2018

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Deondre Francois threw for 352 yards and two touchdowns and Cam Akers rushed for 64 yards and logged a rushing score as the Florida State Seminoles were able to find their offensive groove early and oftern to outlast Northern Illinois, 37-19, on Saturday afternoon at Doak Campbell Stadium.

The Seminoles opened the scoring on the first drive of the game, driving 75 yards in 13 methodical plays that ended in a circus catch by Jacques Patrick after a Deondre Francois-thrown ball bounced off a couple of players in the end zone before Patrcik snagged it.

FSU scored again on the next drive, this time going 70 yards and for a 14-0 lead. Francois found Nyquan Murray for a couple of big gains, including a 30-yard reception, and Cam Akers took the ball to the house from seven yards out to go up two scores.

After the first two scoring drives, however, the offense became less efficient, and was unable to put the ball in the end zone for the rest of the half. In the second quarter, the Seminoles fumbled the ball twice, both on what would have been first down conversions, and punted once.

One of those fumbles led to Huskies points, after a ball was punched out of the hands of Tre McKitty, leading to a 20-yard touchdown pass from Marcus Childers to Jauan Wesley to bring the Huskies within 14-7.

A pair of Ricky Aguayo field goals in the final stretch of the first half made for a 20-7 FSU lead at halftime.

Aguayo hit another field goal, this one from 42-yards, to give the Noles a 23-7 advantage in the third quarter before Childers connected with D.J. Brown on a 66-yard touchdown pass to pull the Huskies within 23-13 after NIU unsuccessful went for two points.

In the fourth quarter, NIU forced a fumble from Francois to set them up inside the FSU 40, but a miss field goal turned into a long touchdown pass from Francois to Tamorrion Terry for 78 yards to all but seal the victory for the Seminoles, making it 30-13.

NIU didn't go away quietly, as Childers added an 11-yard touchdown scramble with eight minutes to play, cutting the FSU lead to 30-19, but an Amir Rasul touchdown from seven yards out put the final nail in the Huskies' coffin, making for a 37-19 final score.

The Noles offense looked far more potent than we have seen really at any point in the season. Especially in the first two offensive series, the FSU offensive line was able to withstand the Husky pass rush and allow Francois time to make throws in the pocket.

Early on, the Noles also employed a strong running game from Akers, who allowed the passing game to develop.

FSU, in total, outgained NIU, 473-221, and held the Huskies to six yards on the ground.

The Seminoles seemingly did this in spite of self-inflicted wounds, committing nine penalties for 60 yards.

FSU held the ball for longer (37:27-22:33) and were 4-for-4 in the red zone. For complete stats, click here.

The Noles will look to get above .500 for the first time this season next week as they'll head to Louisville to take on the Cardinals. Kickoff is slated for 3:30 p.m.

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