FSU set to host UMass, hoping to make it 3 straight wins for the first time since 2017

·3 min read

After an 0-4 start, Florida State has bounced back with back-to-back wins over Syracuse and North Carolina.

Fresh off a bye week, the Seminoles return to action against UMass on Saturday with a chance to earn their first three-game winning streak since 2017.

Where: Doak Campbell Stadium

When: Noon

TV: ACC Network

Radio: Seminole Sports Network/Sirius XM Ch. 137/193/955

Weather: 84 degrees, 5% percent rain chance

Favorite: FSU by 35 points

Coaches: Mike Norvell, second season, 5-10 (43-26 overall); Walt Bell, third season, 2-20.

Quick slant: Bell spent one season as FSU’s offensive coordinator under Willie Taggart in 2018 before leaving to take the job with the Minutemen. This is the third game against an ACC opponent for UMass, which previously lost to Pitt (51-7) and Boston College (45-28).

About Florida State (2-4, 2-2 ACC): Jordan Travis has settled into the starting quarterback role after battling injuries early on. The redshirt sophomore became the first FSU quarterback with 3 passing and 2 rushing touchdowns in a game in the Seminoles’ win over North Carolina on Oct. 9. ... Defensive tackle Jermaine Johnson II is one of 12 finalists for the Lombardi Award, given to the top defensive player in the country. The redshirt senior leads FSU in tackles for loss (8.5) and sacks (7) and is second in tackles (44). ... Defensive back Jarrian Jones recorded his first career interception against North Carolina.

About UMass (1-5): UMass snapped a 16-game losing streak against UConn on Oct. 9. The Minutemen rank in the bottom half of Football Bowl Subdivision teams in offense and defense. ... Running back Ellis Merriweather set career highs in carries (39), rushing yards (171) and touchdowns (2) in the Minutemen’s win over UConn. The redshirt junior has eclipsed 100 rushing yards twice and is the leading rusher (415 yards). ... Quarterback Brady Olson leads UMass in total offense (849 yards) with the true freshman getting yards passing, rushing and receiving. He had a 25-yard reception in a loss to Eastern Michigan. ... Linebacker Da’Shon Ross is the leading tackler (56), including a career-high 13 tackles against Toledo.

3 things to watch

1. Apply pressure: Florida State has done a much better job pressuring opposing quarterbacks during its win streak. The Seminoles pressured Syracuse’s Garrett Shrader and North Carolina’s Sam Howell a combined 37 times, according to Pro Football Focus, coming away with 4 sacks and 28 hurries. UMass ranks among the best in the nation in defending against pressure, allowing 10 sacks and 30 tackles for loss.

2. Eliminate the mistakes: Norvell credits FSU’s recent success to being more disciplined. The Seminoles had consistently been one of the worst teams in the country in penalties, flagged 31 times through the first four games. Those numbers decreased considerably with 8 combined penalties against Syracuse and North Carolina. FSU also has cut down turnovers. After losing the ball 11 times in the first four losses, the Seminoles turned the ball over twice in the two wins, including none against North Carolina.

3. Amp up the ground game: FSU is the second-best rushing team in the ACC, averaging 207 yards per game. Running back Jashaun Corbin is the top rusher with 556 yards and 4 touchdowns while averaging 7.41 yards per rush while teammate Treshaun Ward is second with 362 yards while averaging 7.39 yards per rush. Travis has put together back-to-back 100-yard rushing performances.

This article first appeared on OrlandoSentinel.com. Email Matt Murschel at mmurschel@orlandosentinel.com or follow him on Twitter at @osmattmurschel

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting