Florida State quarterback Deondre Francois continues to impress with this play despite taken plenty of hard hits.
Francois has completed 63 percent of his passes and thrown nine touchdowns heading into the 14th-ranked Seminoles Atlantic Coast Conference matchup with Wake Forest on Saturday in Tallahassee. What makes coach Jimbo Fisher even happier is that Francois has only two interceptions and has not had a turnover in the past three games.
Besides being able to be efficient with the ball, Fisher has been pleased with Francois’ toughness.
Even though he had to be checked out twice by the training staff for a possible shoulder injury, Francois was able to rally FSU to a 20-19 win at No. 16 Miami. During the third quarter he was 10 of 11 for 144 yards and threw a pair of second-half touchdowns as the Seminoles (4-2, 1-2) came back from a 13-point deficit.
“It’s not about if the guy doesn’t have the ability to run it. It’s do they have the little intangibles to be able to stand there and take that toughness,” Fisher said. “That’s exactly why he’s playing. He has that innate ability for a young guy to process that and do it.”
Francois has also been able to show off more of his ability as a dual-threat quarterback as the season has progressed. He is averaging 42.7 rushing yards over the past three games and has two touchdowns.
Running back Dalvin Cook said Francois is playing like a veteran and not a freshman.
“You can see he’s going through his progressions more, smoother,” Cook added. “His confidence level was through the roof since from the beginning of the season, but he’s a little more comfortable back there in the pocket.”
Fisher and the Seminoles are hoping they can continue to sustain momentum from the Miami win. Wake Forest is also coming in with confidence. It is 5-1 for the first time since winning the Atlantic Coast Conference title in 2006.
The Demon Deacons, who are 2-1 in conference, played the Seminoles tough last season. They had a chance to tie late before a fourth-quarter interception helped preserve a 24-16 FSU win.
Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson has also been impressed with what he has seen from Francois on tape.
“He just makes throws beyond his years. He anticipates windows. Some of the tight spaces he throws the ball into is incredible,” Clawson said. “He throws the ball well on the run and he’s also a versatile athlete.”
Here are some other things to watch as the Seminoles host the Demon Deacons:
PICKING THEM OFF: Florida State cornerback Tarvarus McFadden leads the nation in interceptions with four. The Seminoles had eight interceptions all of last season but already have seven in the first six games. They have also forced a turnover in seven straight games dating back to last season.
MOVING UP: Dalvin Cook needs 16 yards to become the third Florida State player to rush for 3,500 yards or more in his career. Cook leads Power 5 conference backs in rushing (785 yards) and is averaging 185.7 yards in his past three games.
SACK MASTERS: Defensive ends Duke Ejofor (Wake Forest) and DeMarcus Walker (Florida State) are tied for second in the conference with 6.5 sacks. Walker also blocked an extra point last week to help the Seminoles preserve their win over the Hurricanes.
GROUND GAME: Wake’s rushing offense is ranked 23rd nationally, averaging 118.7 yards per game. Freshman running back Cade Carney has two straight 100-yard games and quarterback John Wolford is the team’s second-leading rusher with 276 yards after having minus-84 his first two seasons.
KEEP AN EYE ON: Florida State wide receiver Travis Rudolph. The junior caught 13 passes, including four touchdowns, in the first two games but has just six receptions in the past four. Fisher said that Rudolph has blocked well on downfield runs and continues to play well as they try to find more ways to get him more involved again in the passing game.
Online: The AP’s college football page: http://collegfootball.ap.org