TAMPA — As much as USF suffered through hard losses last season, taking three on the final play and a fourth with 12 seconds left, the Bulls' opening opponent, Chattanooga, might have had a tougher year in going 5-6.
The Mocs lost five Division I-AA games by a combined 12 points, including three by the same score, 28-27. Late heartbreaks? Chattanooga lost 14-12 to Appalachian State on a missed two-point conversion in the fourth quarter, lost 28-27 to Georgia Southern on a missed two-point conversion with 1:44 left, and led by 13 points with nine minutes to play against the Citadel and Wofford, only to lose late. Wofford won on a touchdown with 37 seconds left, and Furman was down 7-6 until it scored a touchdown with 2:06 to play.
FSU: Beware the screen
TALLAHASSEE — Florida State's defense might be tested by Division I-AA Murray State.
"This is going to be difficult," CB Xavier Rhodes said, dismissing the idea of an FSU shutout.
Last year as a junior, Racers QB Casey Brockman passed for 3,276 yards and 25 touchdowns. Against Tennessee State, he threw for 600 yards and seven TDs.
"They'll throw a lot of gadget stuff," FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said. "And what I mean is they'll throw screens and quick pops and things to just get it out (of his hand)."
Racers coach Chris Hatcher calls just about any screen play imaginable.
"We always depend on each other being in the right place at the right time, and against these guys, they love to nickel-and-dime downfield against bigger teams and more physical teams," S Karlos Williams said.
Miami: Curious new wave
CORAL GABLES — Anthony Chickillo is just a sophomore at Miami. A year ago the defensive end out of Alonso High had never stepped foot on a college football field. Everything was new to him.
Now he is among the few starters returning, and he is fielding questions from the next wave of freshmen. As many as 14 or 15 could play, coach Al Golden said.
"I just told them it's another game, just a bigger stage," Chickillo said.
So what are the youngsters asking?
"They just ask us what the fans are like," Chickillo said. "I just tell them you're going to see signs. People are going to be screaming stuff at you, but when you're playing, you're not really paying attention to that. You just go on with your game."
South Florida Sun Sentinel