Going into Saturday’s game against North Carolina State, the concern for Florida State was true freshman quarterback James Blackman would either be unable to move the offense, or commit a couple of key turnovers or two, or both. In the end, the Seminoles’ frustrating 27-21 loss to the Wolfpack, which dropped them to 0-2 for the first time in 28 years, could not be laid solely at the feet of Blackman.
Blackman did fumble deep in NC State territory after being hit in the first half, but the freshman did a respectable job in his first start as a collegian. He completed 22 of 38 passes for 278 yards and a touchdown and zero interceptions. He at least met, if not exceeded, basic expectations of him.
“For the first game going out there and playing, (he) hit some nice big plays,” FSU Coach Jimbo Fisher said in post-game remarks. “(He) put his team in position, made one real nice touchdown throw on the first one.”
Falling short was the FSU defense, who gave up a number of big plays that either produced scores or allowed the Wolfpack to keep possession.
The biggest was the 71-yard catch-and-run by Jakobi Meyers that put his team ahead 10-0. Meyers put a move on Derwin James that left FSU’s All-America candidate whiffing on his attempt to bring the runaway receiver.
The final dagger was the 15-yard scamper by Nyheim Hines late in the game on third-and-seven that allowed NC State to retain possession and run out the clock.
Here are five takeaways from this game.
o Blackman showed he has the arm Fisher said he had. While he missed some throws he could have completed, he showed poise that will serve him and the Seminoles well down the road.
o NC State showed they have an imaginative offense. When they execute as they did on Saturday, they can be difficult to beat. Facing a team in FSU that had not played in three weeks was fortunate for them as well.
o Special teams were much better on Saturday than against Alabama. Brian Burns’ late-game block of a punt gave FSU one last bit of hope, but could only generate a field goal.
o Freshman Cam Akers provided a glimpse of how good he can become. He ran for 56 yards on 12 carries, but drew Fisher’s ire early in the game when he failed to plow forward and convert a third-and-one in the red zone. Ricky Aguayo then missed a 30-yard field goal that would have tied the game.
o The Seminoles must clean up the penalties. They were flagged 11 times for 93 yards on Saturday.
Game 2 of the Blackman era is next Saturday in Winston-Salem, North Carolina when Florida State takes on Wake Forest.