Florida State could easily be 0-2 to start the 2019 season.
The Seminoles somehow escaped a potential defeat to Louisiana-Monroe — yes, Louisiana-Monroe — on Saturday night when ULM kicker Jacob Meeks’ extra-point attempt sailed wide right in overtime to give the Seminoles a 45-44 win.
Florida State struggled mightily in the second half as the Warhawks even took a 35-31 lead in the fourth quarter. FSU took the lead back, but ULM tied it with a field goal and some awful FSU play calling helped the game go to overtime.
RB Cam Akers scored what turned out to be the winning touchdown for Florida State to start OT. ULM QB Caleb Evans scored a TD on the second play of the Warhawks’ possession but then Meeks’ PAT was off.
While Meeks was 5-of-5 on PATs ahead of OT, it’s fun to wonder if ULM should have gone for two and the win. Yes, ULM was the better team over the final parts of Saturday’s game. But it entered as a 23-point underdog. Trying to extend the game on the road isn’t always a good idea.
Akers set a Florida State record with 36 rushing attempts. He had 193 rushing yards and scored two touchdowns on the ground and also had a receiving touchdown. Without him, it’s scary to think what Florida State’s offense would look like. Akers had 41 touches. No other FSU skill position player had more than nine.
The pressure is on Willie Taggart
Florida State had a 31-13 halftime lead against Boise State in Week 1 before losing 36-31 to a team with a true freshman quarterback. Saturday night, the Seminoles had a 24-7 lead with 11 minutes left to go in the third quarter.
The game turned when Corey Straughter returned a pass from FSU QB James Blackman 57 yards for a pick six. That cut Florida State’s deficit to 10 and the Seminoles were on skates the rest of the way.
In the days after the Boise State loss, Taggart wondered if his team could hydrate better heading into Week 2. It’s fair to say there are more issues than hydration in Tallahassee. ULM’s offense ran 79 plays for 419 yards and somehow held onto the ball for over 40 minutes. If fatigue was an issue against a Boise State team that ran 108 plays in Week 1, the FSU defense didn’t get much of a break in Week 2.
The ULM escape is also reminiscent of Florida State’s Week 2 game in 2018. The Seminoles got a serious scare from FCS Samford before winning 36-26.
The Samford game could be excused. It was Taggart’s second game in his first season. The ULM game, not so much. The progress Florida State should be showing in 2019 has been nonexistent so far. If it doesn’t arrive quickly, Taggart could be in trouble.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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