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Florida State football vs. Northern Illinois: Time, TV schedule, game preview, score

Seminoles battle Huskies

Deondre Francois #12 of the Florida State Seminoles throws a pass in the first quarter of the game against the Virginia Tech Hokies at Doak Campbell Stadium on September 3, 2018 in Tallahassee, Florida. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Deondre Francois #12 of the Florida State Seminoles throws a pass in the first quarter of the game against the Virginia Tech Hokies at Doak Campbell Stadium on September 3, 2018 in Tallahassee, Florida. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The disappointment with its listless start to the season will hit a new level if Florida State doesn’t take care of visiting Northern Illinois on Saturday. The Seminoles are off to an uninspiring start under first-year coach Willie Taggart, whose team was routed 30-7 at Syracuse last week to drop to 0-2 in ACC play.

TV: 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU. LINE: Florida State -10

 

Florida State has totaled only 10 points in its two games against FBS opponents, and its only win was a 36-26 victory over FCS Samford in which it had to rally in the fourth quarter. "Our fans have every right to have high expectations of our program, and I can assure you that no one has higher expectations than I do," Taggart said during Monday’s press conference. "Our fans, students, alumni, former players, deserve a team that plays better than what we have so far this season." The Huskies are playing their third Power Five opponent in their first four games after starting the season with losses at Iowa (33-7) and at home to Utah (17-6). Northern Illinois, which lost 31-10 to Florida State in the 2013 Orange Bowl in their only previous meeting, rebounded with a 24-16 victory at Central Michigan to open Mid-American Conference play last week.

ABOUT NORTHERN ILLINOIS (1-2)

The Huskies possess a solid defense led by star end Sutton Smith, who has registered 6.5 tackles for loss and three sacks thus far. The offense has been less impressive, as Northern Illinois has yet to top 300 total yards this season. Tre Harbison (228 yards) posted the first 100-yard rushing performance of his career with 124 on 13 carries in last week’s win over Central Michigan, but the team has not scored a touchdown on the ground and quarterback Marcus Childers (325 yards, four touchdowns) has put up pedestrian numbers.

ABOUT FLORIDA STATE (1-2)

Taggart’s Gulf Coast Offense has been a flop thus far, as Florida State ranks 111th in total offense and is averaging less than 100 rushing yards. Leading rusher Cam Akers (210 yards) has yet to score a touchdown and Deondre Francois (731 yards) has thrown more interceptions (four) than TD passes (three). Things haven’t been much better on the other side of the ball, as the Seminoles have surrendered more than 300 yards per game through the air and rank 96th in the nation in total defense.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Florida State has won 14 consecutive non-conference home games.

2. The Seminoles have not allowed a kickoff-return touchdown in 185 consecutive contests dating to 2004, the longest active streak in the nation.

3. Northern Illinois has blocked two punts and one field-goal attempt this season, recording one block in each of its first three games.

PREDICTION: Florida State 23, Northern Illinois 20

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