Say this for Florida State, they re-added a makeup game with UL-Monroe in hopes of winning a sixth game and going to a bowl. And on Wednesday, it all proved worthwhile as they wiped out Southern Mississippi in the Independence Bowl 42-13.
Noles QB James Blackman threw and Independence Bowl record four TD passes (three in the first half), as FSU asserted it’s dominance over it’s C-USA foe. WR Auden Tate (above) caught three of those TDs, as Florida State led 23-6 at halftime and never was threatened in the second half.
— ACC Digital Network (@theACCDN) December 27, 2017
With the victory, FSU finishes 7-6 in a tumultuous season, that saw former head coach Jimbo Fisher leave the team prior to that December 2nd game with ULM, and take the Texas A&M head coaching job. The Noles hired Willie Taggart from Oregon and formerly USF, the following week and went about trying to salvage their recruiting class prior to the December signing period.
Defensive line coach Odell Haggins was the interim coach for the bowl game and obviously his efforts to hold what was left of the coaching staff together with the players readying for game proved beneficial. Haggins will remain at Florida State next season, and was promoted by new coach Willie Taggart Tuesday to Assistant Head Coach.
After FSU fell behind 6-0 to the Golden Eagles in the first quarter, they scored on eight of their next nine possessions going into the fourth quarter to pull away.
The victory ensured 41st consecutive winning season for the Seminoles, going back to Bobby Bowden’s first year, 1976. The Noles won four of their final five games in 2017, including beating rival Florida for the fifth straight year back in November.
Clearly, they have work to do to get back to being the FSU that we all expect, but with Taggart overseeing the transition and hiring coaches, this performance will only help their momentum for 2018.
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