After a week of speculation culminated in their head coach deserting them for another job — and a history-making contract — Florida State still had a game to left play that would determine whether their nation’s longest bowl streak would continue. And, to the credit of the players and the remainder of the coaching staff, they proved to be up to what was a very challenging situation.
Playing in front of a very sparse crowd at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee…
… FSU jumped on Louisiana-Monroe (4-8) early and never looked back, cruising to a convincing 42-10 win over the Sun Belt school. This game had originally been scheduled for Week 2 but was canceled because of Hurricane Irma; because of its importance to FSU’s postseason, the contest was subsequently rescheduled.
With the win, the Seminoles moved to 6-6 on the season and became bowl-eligible. Had they lost this game, or any of their last three games for that matter, FSU would’ve gone bowl-less for the first time since the 1981 season. Instead, they’ll extend their bowl streak to 36 in a row, the best such streak in the country.
A significant portion of the credit for the win would have to go to Odell Haggins, the longtime defensive line coach who was named interim head coach when Jimbo Fisher left for the Texas A&M job Friday. The players could’ve just gone through the motions Saturday afternoon, especially in front of such a sparse crowd; Haggins and the other assistants from Fisher’s staff didn’t allow it as the offense put up 504 yards of offense while the defense limited the Warhawks to just 1.7 yards per carry.
Of the Seminoles’ 302 yards rushing — they averaged nearly 7.0 yards per carry — Jacques Patrick accounted for 155 of them on just 19 attempts. Cam Akers chipped in another 117 and a pair of rushing touchdowns to match Patrick’s two. All told, the ‘Noles had five touchdowns on the ground.