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Charleston Southern Buccaneers vs. Florida State Seminoles Preview and Prediction

DeMarcus Walker

DeMarcus Walker

Florida State will take on a top-15 team for the second straight week on Saturday, but this time, that team comes from the NCAA’s Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) in Charleston Southern. The third-ranked Seminoles are coming off the biggest comeback win in school history on Monday, overcoming a 22-point deficit to down Ole Miss, 45-34. Charleston Southern is coming off a 57-7 win over Kentucky State after losing a heartbreaker in overtime to five-time defending FCS champion North Dakota State to open its season. A handful of Charleston Southern players however, took to social media on Thursday night to announce that more than 30 players could be suspended for the contest after unknowingly violating an NCAA rule that prohibits using excess textbook money to buy other supplies. 

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Under head coach Jimbo Fisher, the Seminoles will look to run their home winning streak to 22 — the nation’s longest. The Seminoles are 7-0 against FCS schools under Fisher, most recently beating Chattanooga 52-13 last season. Charleston Southern won the Big South Conference last year and advanced to the quarterfinals in the program’s first-ever FCS playoff appearance. The Seminoles beat the Buccaneers 62-10 in the only other meeting back in 2011.

Charleston Southern at Florida State

Kickoff: Saturday, Sept. 10 at 12:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Raycom Sports Network

Spread: N/A

Three Things to Watch

​1. Running Backs

Saturday’s contest in Tallahassee will feature two exciting tailbacks, most notably Florida State junior Dalvin Cook. Though he was held below four yards per carry on Monday night, Cook finished with a career-high 101 yards receiving and 192 yards from scrimmage. Cook is a complete back with big-play ability and is seen by many as a legitimate Heisman Trophy contender.

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For Charleston Southern, Mike Holloway is the guy to watch in head coach Jamey Chadwell’s triple-option offense. In two games, Holloway has 194 yards on the ground and leads the FCS with four rushing touchdowns. Darius Hammond also is an explosive back for the Buccaneers with his ability to make plays as a ball carrier, receiver and in the return game. The status of those two players however, is unknown following the announcement of suspensions.

2. How FSU Starts
The Seminoles will be facing Charleston Southern on very short rest and how FSU starts will be something to watch. Florida State fell behind early against Ole Miss, spent a lot of energy coming back and with little practice time, could be a bit on the sluggish side early.

On short rest following Labor Day showdowns in prime time, FSU has a history of struggling with inferior opponents. With the Buccaneers’ option offense and propensity to move the clock, it seemed possible that this one could be interesting for at least a half. The loss of more than 30 scholarships players however, could make it much more difficult for Charleston Southern to be remotely competitive.

​3. FSU’s Depth
If Florida State can avoid showing any ill signs of a short turnaround, Saturday should provide an opportunity for the FSU reserves to make an impact. Two big areas where Florida State needs to develop depth are along the defensive line and at linebacker. Young players like Janarius Robinson, Brian Burns and Wally Aime could see their first real action up front as could young linebackers such as Dontavious Jackson and Josh Brown.

On the offensive side, the Seminoles have a number of young receivers they’re looking to break in. FSU could also benefit from finding some rest for redshirt freshman quarterback Deondre Francois, who took a lot of shots during his 419-yard passing performance against Ole Miss. Spelling Cook also should be a priority for FSU after the junior had 30 touches for just the third time in his career on Monday.

Related: College Football's Top 20 Quarterback Debuts of 2016

Final Analysis

With a huge talent gap, it’s hard to imagine that Florida State will lose its home opener for the first time under Jimbo Fisher, but with a quick turnaround, don’t be surprised if the Seminoles are a bit sluggish early. With a Charleston Southern roster that could have its scholarship players however, this one looks to be a snoozer, even if the Seminoles bring something other than their "A game". Ultimately, the goal for FSU in this one will be to put it away as soon as possible and be a healthy team to start ACC play.

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Prediction: Florida State 52, Charleston Southern 6

— Written by Mike Ferguson, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and the editor of The Daily Nole. Like The Daily Nole on Facebook and follow Mike on Twitter @MikeWFerguson.