TALLAHASSEE — Playing on short rest, Florida State wasn’t just looking to avoid a letdown. The Seminoles didn’t let up, not even with second-team players.
Trey Benson had three touchdown runs and No. 4 Florida State routed Southern Miss 66-13 in its home opener Saturday night for the most points under coach Mike Norvell.
“It’s scary because we still haven’t had our best game yet,” Benson said. “We still left a lot of points out on the field.”
The Seminoles (2-0) have scored 35 or more points in eight straight games, the longest active streak in the nation. On Saturday, they did it in the third quarter — and before Southern Miss (1-1) found the end zone.
Florida State cruised in its home opener, moving the ball with efficiency on the ground and in the air as they accumulated 554 offensive yards and averaged 8 yards per play.
“Offensively, they’re so dynamic,” Southern Miss coach Will Hall said. “This team has a legitimate chance to win a national title.”
Jordan Travis threw for 175 yards and two touchdowns, and backup Tate Rodemaker added a pair of touchdown passes in the third quarter. Travis’ first touchdown, a 10-yard pass to Darion Williamson, gave him 50 career TD passes.
Caziah Holmes added a 40-yard touchdown run as the Seminoles ran for 306 yards on 37 carries — averaging 8.3 yards. Florida State was able to move the ball at will even without starting offensive linemen Maurice Smith and Robert Scott.
Florida State’s first-team defense also kept Southern Miss from scoring in the first half, forcing four three-and-outs and Jarrian Jones returned an interception 40 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter.
“I like our guys’ mindset,” Florida State coach Mike Norvell said. “This was a really good week of work for what they invested. Ultimately you have to go do it. I thought they did a great job tonight, some great plays on both sides of the ball.”
Rodrigues Clark had 67 yards on 12 carries, including a 12-yard touchdown in the third quarter for Southern Miss.
Billy Wiles completed just 11 of 34 passes for 154 yards in his second college start for the Golden Eagles.
Florida State will likely move to No. 3 in the AP Top 25 with No. 3 Alabama’s loss at home to Texas.
Travis’ first touchdown, a 10-yard pass to Darion Williamson, gave him 50 career TD passes.
Florida State scored 31 points in three straight halves for the second time in school history. The only other time it happened was in 1988. Florida State’s 66 points were the most since the Seminoles scored 77 in a victory over Delaware State in 2017, in Jimbo Fisher’s last season in Tallahassee.
Junior offensive linemen Maurice Smith and Robert Scott did not play in Saturday’s game. Scott has started 31 career games, while Smith has started 30 career games.
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Despite the losses of Smith and Scott, FSU’s showed off its depth on the line and started five linemen who have are at least in their fourth year of college. The Seminoles’ starters were, from left: Bless Harris, Casey Roddick, Washington, D’Mitri Emmanuel and Jeremiah Byers..
Southern Miss: The Golden Eagles had 70 yards of offense and 68 yards in penalties in the first half, falling behind 31-3.
Florida State: The Seminoles scored four touchdowns and a field goal on seven first-half drives.
Southern Miss: Hosts Tulane on Saturday.
Florida State: At Boston College on Saturday in ACC opener.
By BOB FERRANTE Associated Press
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