Bethune-Cookman-Florida St. Preview
Florida State demonstrated it has a lot more offense than just
freshman quarterback Jameis Winston.
The Seminoles have an impressive running game featuring a trio
of backs: Devonta Freeman, James Wilder, Jr. and Karlos
Eighth-ranked Florida State racked up 377 rushing yards in a
62-7 victory against Nevada on Saturday. The Seminoles (2-0)
surpassed the 300-yard mark on the ground once in 2012 with 385
against Wake Forest on Sept. 15.
Seminoles safety Tyler Hunter said Monday that the backs just
wore down Nevada.
“First it was Wilder and Devonta,” Hunter said. “Wilder would
just wear them down and you’d put Freeman in and he’d just break a
big one. Now you have two big backs and you’ve still got Freeman.
Karlos may be faster than all of them. … It’s really a big
”I know it has to stress the defense. Then they can play-action
and we’ve still got great receivers. So we can go deep anytime just
off the play-action.”
If the trio can continue to be that productive, that will make
life easier for Winston as the Seminoles get set to face FCS
opponent Bethune-Cookman (3-0) on Saturday night.
The quarterback has quickly become the focal point of opponents
after completing 40 of 45 passes for 570 yards with six touchdowns
and one interception. He has more touchdowns than incomplete passes
through eight quarters.
The 6-foot-1, 223-pound Williams was the unexpected treat last
The one-time safety moved to running back for the first time
during his collegiate career after the season-opening win against
Pittsburgh. The junior previously resisted coach Jimbo Fisher’s
suggestion to move to the offensive side of the ball. Wilder and
Freeman were preseason Doak Walker Award candidates. Their
abilities were well-known.
No one predicted Williams would take a toss sweep in the third
quarter and sprint around the right end for a 65-yard touchdown on
his first career carry.
“I believe it causes a lot of issues” for a defense, Williams
said. “Even Ryan Green is a very shifty guy. … We call ourselves
the four-headed monster. There’s a lot of talent in that
“Our quarterbacks are young, so we really do have to take care
of them. We have to make sure we’re making the right calls and
running the right lanes and making sure we’re taking care of the
Freeman finished with 109 rushing yards and a touchdown.
Williams added 110 yards and one score. Wilder had 45 yards and a
Fisher joked about his fortune-telling prowess after the game
and expounded on Williams during his press conference Monday.
“I’ve wanted to do it for a long time,” Fisher said about the
position switch. “I think it’s his most natural position. It wasn’t
motivation. I just think it’s his best position, always have. I
just think he’s more natural at that position than at any other
“He’s very dynamic with the ball in his hands. This has nothing
to do with: We need a running back. I think he was doing well on
defense. I just think it’s the most natural position for him. I
really do. I’ve always thought that.”
The offense gives defenses another look when the 6-2, 229-pound
Wilder and Freeman, 5-9, 203 pounds, share the backfield. Wilder
has nicknamed the formation ”Wild & Free” when he and Freeman
line up behind Winston.
Wilder threw the key block during Freeman’s 60-yard run on the
first snap of the second half. The duo is on the verge of becoming
FSU’s first pair of career 1,000-yard rushers on the same roster
“You can do a lot of things. Run it both ways, they can catch
it. Lot of experience. Lot of size,” Fisher said.
Wilder said the goal is for every back to average 6.5 yards per
carry, which was easily accomplished after the trio broke off runs
of 60 yards, 65 yards and 24 yards in Florida State’s first five
offensive snaps of the second half.
The Seminoles are 18th in the nation among FBS schools,
averaging 266.5 yards rushing. That is likely to rise against
“We don’t have certain backs for certain plays. We can do
everything,” Wilder said. “That makes it harder for defenses. …
We have an open playbook for every situation. It keeps us with
fresh legs. Around the third quarter, the defense is tired and
The Wildcats, though, have allowed 220.0 yards and 9.7 points
per game during their unbeaten start. They defeated Florida
International 34-13 last week for their first-ever win over an FBS
opponent, rushing for 311 yards and four touchdowns.
Bethune-Cookman is averaging 244.0 yards on the ground – among
the most in the FCS. Anthony Jordan ran for 150 yards and a TD on
21 carries to earn Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference player of the
“They are running the ball very well on offense, very diverse on
defense … so we’ll have our hands full again and have another
great opponent coming in,” Fisher said.
Florida State suspended two starters – linebacker Christian
Jones and defensive end Eddie Goldman – for this game due to a
violation of team rules.
Fisher did not go into details of the violations, but said,
“It’s all correctable …. We have to abide by a certain set of
These teams will be meeting for the first time.