NIU puts up a fight
Carey: Huskies ‘were swinging, just didn’t land some punches’
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Deondre Francois threw for a seasonhigh 352 yards and two touchdowns, and Florida State used an efficient first-half offense en route to a 37-19 victory over Northern Illinois on Saturday.
Francois, a junior, had his seventh career 300-yard day, completing 23 of 31 passes, including a 78-yard touchdown to Tamorrion Terry and an 8-yard score to Jacques Patrick.
Marcus Childers tossed a pair of touchdown passes, including a 66-yard catch-and-run to D.J. Brown. Childers completed 20 of 41 passes for 215 yards and had an 11-yard touchdown run for NIU (1-3), which was forced to punt eight times and couldn’t convert a pair of fourth-down conversions.
“We were in a fight, we were swinging and just didn’t land some of our punches,” Huskies coach Rod Carey said. “We didn’t do enough offensively.”
Florida State (2-2) held NIU to 6 rushing yards on 20 carries, the lowest total allowed by the Seminoles since 2008.
The Huskies were ranked 128th out of 130 FBS teams in scoring offense coming in and needed 19 minutes to earn a first down. NIU scored its first-half touchdown with the benefit of a short field, starting at the Florida State 23 after recovering a fumble. That set up Childers’ TD pass to Jauan Wesley.
The Seminoles held a playersonly meeting early in the week, and coach Willie Taggart saw a re-energized performance in practice that carried over to the game.
“A lot of that had to do with just our players, their commitment to getting better,” Taggart said. “It started this week. They decided they were going to get better. They decided they were going to practice better and hold each other accountable.”
Despite using a fourth offensive line combination, the Seminoles generated a season-high 473 yards against the Huskies. Florida State was at its best in the first half, generating four scoring drives for a 20-7 lead.
It was Taggart’s first victory of the season over an FBS opponent. Florida State’s other win came Sept. 8 against Samford.
Keith Gavin set career highs for catches (six) and receiving yards (93) in the first half for the Seminoles, who won their 15th consecutive nonconference home game.
Florida State’s Cam Akers avoids a tackle attempt by Northern Illinois’ Antonio Jones-Davis on Saturday.