Without Fisher, Seminoles become bowl eligible


What distractions?

Cam Akers and Jacques Patrick each ran for 100 yards and two touchdowns as Florida State won its third consecutive game to secure a bowl bid with a 42-10 rout of Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday.

It’s the first time this season FSU had two 100-yard rushers in the same game and helped overcome the distractions of the week after coach Jimbo Fisher bolted for Texas A&M and defensive line coach Odell Haggins was named interim coach.

Patrick ran for 155 yards and Akers added 117 yards, both with 19 carries, as the Seminoles (6-6) accumulated 305 rushing yards.

“All of the credit goes to our football players,” said Haggins, who is in his 24th season at FSU. “It’s not about me being named the interim football coach. It’s about those kids. They didn’t quit.”

Haggins played at FSU from 1986-89 and was an All-American defensive tackle as a senior. The 50-year-old Haggins was promoted to interim head coach Friday when Fisher bolted for College Station, Texas.

“When people say he really bleeds garnet and gold, he really bleeds garnet and gold,” safety Derwin James said. “He’s always about the team. He recruited me in the ninth grade. He’s always been there.”

Haggins is FSU’s first black head football coach, and he picks up his first career win as a college head coach. He was initially surprised when Athletic Director Stan Wilcox called to ask him to take over in the interim.

“I’m very honored,” Haggins said. “Being here for 24 years, I never thought I would be in this situation.”

FSU is now bowl-eligible after picking up a win over ULM in a game that was postponed from Sept. 9 because of Hurricane Irma. The Seminoles have extended their streak of consecutive bowl appearances to 36 seasons.

Former Glades Central star James Blackman completed 14 of 22 passes for 197 yards, including a 14-yard TD pass to D.J. Matthews. Blackman also threw two interceptions.

Caleb Evans completed 26 of 43 passes, including a 6-yard TD pass to RJ Turner, for ULM (4-8). Marcus Green had eight receptions for 106 yards.

But FSU stuffed the Warhawks’ run, holding ULM to just 38 yards on 22 carries.

“We actually moved it a little bit in the first half, couldn’t run the ball, but we moved it a little bit and had a couple of chances,” ULM coach Matt Viator said. “They did a good job of holding us.”

THE TAKEAWAY

FSU: The Seminoles were desperate for a win to extend the bowl streak. The Seminoles led 14-0 at the half and wore out ULM on the ground in the second half. FSU racked up a season-high 504 offensive yards.

ULM: The Warhawks had scored 50 or more points four times this season but were shut out in the first half. ULM was held to just 155 first-half yards and finished with 300 yards (262 passing, 38 rushing).

FINISH WITH A FLOURISH

FSU has scored 157 points in its final three wins (over Delaware State, Florida and ULM). The Seminoles scored 163 points in their first nine games.

This was also the third consecutive game that FSU surpassed 38 points in a game, something the program hasn’t done since 2014.

NO DECISION

James is considered one of the top-10 prospects in the 2018 NFL draft if he were to leave FSU early. The redshirt sophomore safety had a team-leading 12 tackles on Saturday and finished the season with 84 tackles. He has not made a decision about his future.

“I’m still talking it over with my family and some of my teammates,” James said. “It’s coming soon.”



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