The last time Everett Golson played at Doak Campbell Stadium he nearly led Notre Dame to an upset of then top-ranked Florida State. Nearly 11 months later, Golson returns as the Seminoles’ starting quarterback as 10th-ranked Florida State opens against Texas State.
Golson has one year of eligibility remaining after earning his bachelor’s degree in management entrepreneurship from Notre Dame in May. He arrived here a month later and started working out with receivers and the other quarterbacks.
When asked what stood out about Golson coming in and winning job, coach Jimbo Fisher said it was relating to the players very well and quickly.
“That part is always the toughest. How you fit in with the success of what was going on here and coming from the outside, I think shows to his character and what kind of young man he is,” Fisher added.
In two seasons at Notre Dame, Golson was 17-6 and threw for 5,850 yards with 41 touchdowns and 20 interceptions in 25 games. His biggest advantage though might be his legs and his ability to extend plays. Golson rushed for 14 touchdowns at Notre Dame and the receivers have been practicing scramble drills more.
“He’s a good scrambling quarterback once he tucks the ball and gets ready to run. I’ve seen him put a lot of moves on a lot of people out there in practice,” running back Mario Pender said.
With an offense that is returning only four starters and is light on experience at most skill positions, Golson’s playing experience should come in handy early. The offensive line has only one returning starter in sophomore left tackle Roderick Johnson.
Florida State is opening at home for the first time since 2012 as Fisher begins his sixth season as head coach. He has 58 wins, which is tied with Alabama’s Nick Saban for the most in FBS since 2010.
Texas State is beginning its fifth season under Dennis Franchione. The Bobcats went 7-5 last season and are looking for consecutive winning seasons for the first time since 1984.
“We’re not quite playing the New England Patriots but sometimes it feels like it. This will definitely be the biggest, fastest football team that we’ve ever played against,” Franchione said. “We’ve got a lot of juniors and seniors so hopefully that will help us in not getting caught up in the hype.’
Some things to watch when Florida State hosts Texas State:
COOK IS READY: Sophomore Dalvin Cook is expected to see plenty of carries despite not practicing until Aug. 25. Cook, who has rushed for over 100 yards in his past three games, missed most of camp after being accused of misdemeanor battery following an incident at a downtown Tallahassee bar in June. Cook rushed for 1,008 yards and scored eight touchdowns last season.
EXPERIENCED DEFENSE: The Seminoles return their top four tacklers from last season, which is the first time that has happened since 2003. Reggie Northrup, who led the team in tackles with 122 last year, and Terrance Smith lead an experienced linebacker group.
GETTING PRESSURE: Florida State’s biggest concern defensively is upgrading its pass rush. The Seminoles had only 17 sacks last season, which was the fourth-lowest among teams from a power five conference. Texas State runs a spread offense, which should provide a good opening test as far as trying to get to the quarterback early.
SKILLED EXPERIERNCE: The Bobcats are just one of eight FBS schools to return a 2,600-yard passer (Tyler Jones) and 1,000-yard rusher (Robert Lowe). Jones has thrown a touchdown pass in 16 straight games, which is third-longest current streak in FBS.
BOBCAT TO WATCH: CB David Mims is the Sun Belt Conference’s preseason defensive player of the year after having five interceptions last season.