Florida State is coming off back-to-back victories following an 0-4 start to head coach Mike Norvell’s second season.
However, Norvell assured anyone listening that the 2-4 Seminoles, who will face rivals such as Clemson, Miami and Florida down the stretch, are not looking past their next opponent.
Florida State will host UMass (1-5) on Saturday afternoon in Tallahassee with both teams coming off bye weeks.
The Minutemen, who snapped a 16-game losing streak two weeks ago, are coached by former Seminoles offensive coordinator Walt Bell.
“I can promise you we’re not going to look past anybody,” Norvell said with his team favored by 35 points over the Minutemen early in the week. “My focus is 100 percent on our football team, where we are and this week.”
The Seminoles are coming off an impressive 35-25 victory at North Carolina on Oct. 9. Florida State quarterback Jordan Travis accounted for all five touchdowns (three passing, two rushing) and combined for 266 yards from scrimmage. The Seminoles’ running game has amassed more than 200 yards in five of the first six games.
Bell, who has gone 2-20 during his tenure with UMass, spent one season (2018) at Florida State under then-Seminoles head coach Willie Taggart.
UMass already has lost two games to Atlantic Coast Conference opponents this season, Pitt and Boston College. The Minutemen enter the game averaging only 16.7 points per game while allowing the third-most points per game (41.5) among the 130 FBS schools.
UMass also ranks 127th in rushing yards allowed (226.67 per game) and 122nd in opponents’ passer rating (162.1). The Minutemen, however, ran for 247 yards and three touchdowns in their 27-13 win over UConn on Oct. 9, led by running back Ellis Merriweather’s 171 yards and two touchdowns on 39 carries.
“I’m continuing to work the same way that I do,” Merriweather said, according to the Daily Hampshire Gazette of Northampton, Mass. “My coaches aren’t treating me special because I had a good game. It’s right back to business. I really forgot about it, honestly. It’s on to the next one. I try to go harder every day. It’s a constant motion.”
Thanks in part to their run-heavy offense, UMass has allowed only 10 sacks this season, which is tied for 35th overall. The Minutemen will face a stout Florida State defensive front led by Jermaine Johnson, whose total of seven sacks is tied for sixth in the nation.
–Field Level Media