FSU Wins Walk-On’s Independence Bowl

The Seminoles score 32 unanswered points as they extend their run to 41 straight winning seasons

The Seminoles were sluggish in the first few minutes but James Blackman tossed a season-high four touchdown passes — three of them to Auden Tate — as FSU scored 32 unanswered points to rout Southern Miss 42-13 on Wednesday afternoon in Shreveport, La.

Cam Akers ran for 94 yards, breaking Dalvin Cook’s freshman rushing record of 1,008 yards in 2014. Akers finishes his season with 1,024 yards. James Blackman also had one of his best days to cap his true freshman season, completing 18 of 26 passes for 233 yards and no interceptions.

FSU (7-6) played in a bowl game for a 36th straight season and also continued its streak of winning seasons to 41 — each season since Bobby Bowden’s second year at FSU in 1977. The Seminoles finish 2017 with four straight wins by a combined score of 199-51, giving Odell Haggins a 2-0 record as interim head coach.

While the offense was clicking, FSU’s defense was stingy after giving up a game-opening touchdown drive and held the Golden Eagles to just 265 offensive yards. USM (8-5) punted three times and fumbled once to finish the first half as FSU took a 23-6 lead. The Golden Eagles were fumbled once and were forced to punt four times. USM had to try a trick play on a punt in the third quarter, which only extended a drive by three plays, and an onside kick late in the quarter was recovered quickly by the Seminoles.

FSU’s offense, meanwhile, found it relatively easy to march down the field, get into the red zone and score touchdowns. Blackman completed touchdown passes to Tate (from 20, 10 and 17 yards) and Akers (14 yards).

Jacques Patrick also had a 2-yard touchdown run as FSU accumulated 214 rushing yards as the Seminoles averaged 4.8 yards per carry.

USM scored on the opening drive, extending the series after Janarius Robinson ran into the punter, and found the end zone on Kwadra Griggs’ 5-yard TD run. But the Seminoles quickly responded with Blackman’s 20-yard TD pass to Tate and poured it on.

FSU’s 42 points was the most scored in a bowl game since the Champs Sports Bowl win over Wisconsin in 2008, when the Seminoles also scored 42 points. The FSU record for most points in a bowl game was 46 against Virginia Tech in the 2000 Sugar Bowl that wrapped up the national title.

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