Florida State runs over Duquesne in opener

Alicia Devine/Tallahassee Democrat / USA TODAY NETWORK
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida State showed its offensive identity – running the ball at will – and dominated an FCS program.

Treshaun Ward, Trey Benson and Lawrance Toafili surpassed 100 rushing yards and Florida State dominated Duquesne 47-7 in a lightning-delayed game. The Seminoles ran for 406 yards and opened the season with a victory for the first time since 2016.

“This was the first glimpse of the 2022 Florida State football team and I’m proud of our players,” Florida State coach Mike Norvell said. “It definitely wasn’t a perfect game. A lot of guys played, got opportunities. There was some good, some bad things that we’re going to have to continue to grow upon. But the experience and the approach is what I’m really pleased about. I thought we showed as a fast and physical football team.”

Florida State had shown it could be a run-oriented offense in Norvell’s first two seasons. But the Seminoles had three 100-yard rushers in a single game for the first time in school history, albeit in a game against an overmatched Duquesne.

Ward (14 carries, 127 yards), Benson (11 carries, 105 yards) and Toafili (13 carries, 101 yards) led the ground attack, which featured six touchdowns. Ward had two TD runs, and Benson had a 41-yard TD as the Oregon transfer frequently racked up yards after contact. True freshman Rodney Hill also had 55 rushing yards and a touchdown.

“Before the game, this morning, we broke off on 500, because that’s what we wanted to get,” Ward said. “Just to see everyone get 100 yards makes me proud. And seeing Rodney score too made me proud as well. Seeing everybody get their burn and seeing everybody get their touches, it makes us proud. Nobody is selfish in this room. We want to see everybody eat and get to the next level. So it’s something in our room that no one else has.”

Florida State scored on eight of its first nine drives. Jordan Travis, Toafili and Ward had TD runs as Florida State led 20-0 after the first quarter.

Travis completed 11 of 15 passes for 207 yards. Kentron Poitier had four receptions for 84 yards. Mycah Pittman also had four catches for 44 yards. Johnny Wilson hauled in a 51-yard grab that set up a touchdown.

Joe Mischler completed a 22-yard touchdown pass to Abdul Janneh in the third quarter for Duquesne. The Dukes capitalized off a short field after Ryan Webb intercepted a pass from Florida State backup Tate Rodemaker.

Florida State’s defense forced eight punts. The Seminoles had five pass break-ups, including two by safety Jammie Robinson.

IMPACT TRANSFERS

Three of Florida State’s top receivers – Pittman, Wilson and Deuce Spann – were transfers. Spann added three receptions for 40 yards. Linebacker Tatum Bethune, who played at UCF, had four tackles and a pass breakup. Jared Verse, who played at Albany, had four tackles and recorded a sack.

A FIRST BUT WORK TO DO

Florida State had not won a season opener under Norvell. The Seminoles have started slow in his first two seasons and are a combined 0-6 in September in the Norvell Era.

TAKEAWAYS

Florida State: The Seminoles last surpassed 400 rushing yards in a game in 2016, when Dalvin Cook and Jacques Patrick led the team to 478 yards at South Florida.

Duquesne: The Dukes managed just 164 yards (3.5 yards per play).

UP NEXT

Duquesne plays at Youngstown State on Saturday

Florida State plays LSU at New Orleans on Sunday, Sept. 4.

WVU RB Donaldson in concussion protocol, out for Baylor game

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) West Virginia running back CJ Donaldson is in concussion protocol and will miss next week’s home game with Baylor after he was injured in a loss to Texas, coach Neal Brown said Tuesday.

Donaldson remained on the ground after he was tackled on a short gain in the third quarter of Saturday’s 38-20 loss to the Longhorns. His helmet and shoulder pads were removed and he was carted off the field on a stretcher. After the game he was cleared to travel home with the team.

“He’s recovering,” Brown said. “There is a strict return-to-play (policy) that we have to follow here and I’m zero involved in it. All I do is ask the question. They don’t even start the return-to-play until they’re symptom free.”

Donaldson, a 240-pound freshman, leads the Mountaineers with 389 rushing yards and six touchdowns, with an average of 6.9 yards per carry.

West Virginia (2-3, 0-2 Big 12 Conference) is idle this week and hosts Baylor (3-2, 1-1) next Thursday, Oct. 13.

Taulia Tagovailoa says he visited brother, Tua, over weekend

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COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Maryland quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa was able to visit his brother, Tua, last weekend after the Terrapins’ game against Michigan State, he said Tuesday in his first comments to reporters since Tua left the Miami Dolphins’ game against Cincinnati last Thursday with a frightening head injury.

Taulia played in Maryland’s win over Michigan State on Saturday but was not made available to the media afterward. He said Tuesday he was able to go to Florida and spend some time with his brother, who suffered a concussion four days after taking a hit in another game but was cleared to return.

“He’s doing good, everything’s fine,” he said. “My biggest thing was just seeing him and spending as much time as I can with him. I came back Sunday night.”

Tagovailoa said he appreciates the support for his brother.

“My brother’s my heart. He’s someone I look up to, someone I talk to every day,” he said. “It was just a hard scene for me to see that.”

Tagovailoa said he was in constant contact with his mother about his brother’s situation, and he was finally able to talk to Tua on Friday night.

“I really just wanted to go there and just spend time with my family, hug them and stuff like that,” Taulia Tagovailoa said. “But he told me he’s a big fan of us, and he’d rather watch me play on Saturday. … After that phone call, I was happy and getting back to my normal routine.”

Tagovailoa indicated that his brother’s injury didn’t make him too nervous about his own health when he took the field again.

“I guess when that happens to someone like my brother, or when anything happens to one of my family members, I don’t really think of how it will be able to affect me,” he said. “I just think of: `Is he OK? How’s he doing?”‘

Although it was a short visit to Florida, he said he and Tua made the most of their chance to be together.

“I just wanted to make sure he’s healthy and stuff, which he is,” Taulia Tagovailoa said.