Florda State speeds past Racers 69-3

By Alexis Schulman

Everything feels a little bit new during a season opener. Fans seem to cheer more loudly, uniforms seem brighter and players run out of the tunnel wanting to prove themselves, either for the first time or all over again. This stood true for Florida State on Saturday evening as Seminoles across the field were doing just that.

The No. 7 Seminoles ran onto Bobby Bowden Field fresh and determined to begin a conquest of Murray State that mercifully ended with the ’Noles outscoring the Racers 69-3.

Rashad Greene set the tone for the match when 89 seconds into the game, the sophomore returned his first punt of the season for a 47-yard touchdown. The ’Noles went up 7-0 and didn’t look back.

“[The punt return team] set it up for me to be able to score and I did my job,” Greene said of the punt return. “They did their jobs for me. It’s a team thing.”

If Greene ignited the offense, than the running backs kept the fire burning, as Florida State scored seven running touchdowns. Lonnie Pryor ran three balls into the endzone and fellow back Debrale Smiley scored twice.

Sophomore James Wilder Jr. ran for 106 yards and two touchdowns. Wilder, who saw minimal playing time last season, sat with the game football wedged in the crux of his arm during post-game interviews. He seemed poised to make a cut down the field, cradling the ball like only a running back can, almost unconsciously continuing to work on his technique, his play and his ability.

“He’s strong now,” Fisher said about Wilder. “He’s a man and he brings a different dimension and it’s good to see him get in that groove more and more…we’re going to keep feeding it to him, we’re going to keep pounding, he’s got to become a weapon in what we’re doing now.”

Fisher noted that the spread of running backs each bring something unique to the table, but that all got a little bit of help during the 285 yards they scooped up, courtesy of FSU’s offensive line. The O-Line was porous last season, especially in short yardage situations, and Florida State continually found itself unable to get much going on the ground.

That was not the case on Saturday. The O-Line did not allow a single sack, nor a negative yardage play.

“The offensive line from last year to this year, it’s a big difference,” Lonnie Pryor said. “Everybody’s on the same page, everybody’s clicking. The offensive line did a great job tonight and I’m pretty sure they’ll keep protecting and doing the same thing.”

Murray State finished the first half with less than 100 total offensive yards and ended the game with just 156 total yards.

The overpowering FSU defense, responsible for keeping the Racers to so few yards and out of the endzone, was led by its defensive ends, who totaled six sacks. The defensive end rotation – made up primarily of starters Brandon Jenkins and Bjoern Werner, as well as Tank Carradine off the bench – absorbed Murray State’s running game and could never really get it going.

Werner led the attack on Murray State’s offense and set his sights on quarterback Casey Brockman, who he sacked four times. To go along with those sacks, the junior made five tackles for loss, which tied the school record for a single game. His five tackles for loss added up to 30 yards lost for the Racers.

“I thought he was very average,” Fisher joked of Werner’s playing, chuckling. “All that guy does when he gets between the white lines and the lights come on on that scoreboard, he just can play the game. He can rush, stop, jump, bats balls. He’s just an instinctive – he’s a heck of a football player and he has a great motor.”

Brandon Jenkins left the game in the second quarter with what the team reports as a left foot contusion. He was wearing a protective boot after the game. In addition, Fisher said five-star recruit Mario Edwards Jr. will redshirt this season.

Fisher is looking for more consistency out of his team and will pinpoint in the coming days areas where his team must improve before facing tougher challenges further into the schedule.

His team showed on Saturday, in front of a crowd of just over 70,000, that they have made leaps and bounds from where they were last year. They will continue to work together to improve.

Like the makings of Rashad Greene’s punt return touchdown, it’s a team thing.

Read more here: http://www.fsunews.com/article/20120902/FSVIEW02/120902003
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