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Florida State 54, Bethune-Cookman 6

The SportsXchange

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida State got a pick-6 and a safety from its defense and 112 yards rushing and a touchdown from Devonta Freeman in a 54-6 rout Saturday of Bethune-Cookman -- an FCS program that came into the game riding the momentum of an upset win against FBS school Florida International last weekend.

Instead, it was back to the norm for NCAA Division I programs, which had already been stunned a record nine times this year by FCS teams.

Florida State (3-0), which improved to 20-0 against FCS programs, was not about to become the latest victim -- and that became apparent early.

The Wildcats' opening drive ended with a 68-yard interception return by senior linebacker Telvin Smith, who scored his first career touchdown after timing his break perfectly and stepping in front of Quentin Williams' pass, galloping untouched into the end zone. Williams, who was Bethune-Cookman's third starter at quarterback in the first four games, was benched one series later and did not return, giving way to senior Jackie Wilson for the remainder of the contest.

It didn't matter.

The opening defensive score set the stage for a long night for the Wildcats (3-1), who saw their 10-game winning streak dating back to last season snapped. The Wildcats surrendered 492 yards of offense to the Seminoles, who have now started 3-0 for the third consecutive season.

After Bethune-Cookman had the ball on offense for the first 10:53 of the first quarter, freshman quarterback Jameis Winston and the Seminoles' offense finally took the field and wasted no time tacking on 24 unanswered points before halftime. The onslaught began with a 45-yard field goal from Roberto Aguayo on FSU's opening drive and ended with a 1-yard touchdown run by Freeman just before intermission.

In between, the FSU defense also forced a safety early in the second quarter and got rushing scores from James Wilder Jr. and a highlight-reel passing touchdown from Winston to Kelvin Benjamin.

Winston faced a third down in the Wildcats' red zone and found himself under heavy pressure. The former No. 1 QB recruit in the nation broke two tackles -- using a 360-degree spin move to avoid the second -- and threw an 11-yard dart while heading out of bounds to a leaping Benjamin, who -- at 6 feet 5 -- is the tallest wideout on the team.

Winston, who entered the game as the nation's second-most efficient passer, will drop in the rankings after this outing as he finished 10-for-19 passing for 148 yards and two scores -- a far cry from his first two games when he went a combined 40-for-45 with 570 yards and six passing touchdowns. It didn't help that Winston's receiving corps, which didn't have a drop through two games, let three slip through hands in the first half. FSU was led for the second straight game by senior Kenny Shaw, who finished with four catches for 89 yards.

Florida State opened the second half with a four-play, 69-yard drive that took just over a minute and ended in a 19-yard TD pass to Rashad Greene. Winston played only the one series in the third quarter before being rested in favor of backup Jacob Coker.

B-C answered right after FSU's score, finally finding the end zone midway through the third quarter. Wilson and the B-C offense gashed the Seminoles for 12 plays and 75 yards, capped by a 7-yard TD run by the senior signal caller to cut the deficit to 40-6 after B-C missed the extra point.

Wilson finished the game 5-for-10 passing for 37 yards to go along with 41 yards rushing and a touchdown. Bethune-Cookman leading receiver Eddie Poole was held to just three catches for 46 yards, although his first grab in the opening quarter extended his streak to 39 straight games with a reception.

The Seminoles, who sent in a host of backups on their second offensive possession of the third quarter, set the pace to cruise control from there and ended the third quarter with two more TDs -- both short runs by safety-turned-running back Karlos Williams -- to push the final margin to 54-6. Williams, who took his first career carry 65 yards to the house last weekend against Nevada, finished with 83 yards on nine carries.

NOTES: Bethune-Cookman WR Eddie Poole extended his streak to 39 straight games with a reception, while FSU's Rashad Greene extended his team-leading streak to 18 games. ... Florida State's defense suffered a big blow in the first quarter when star DB Tyler Hunter was injured during kickoff coverage and taken to the locker room with his left shoulder heavily wrapped. He did not return. ... The Wildcats, who beat Florida International 34-13 last week, came into the game with FCS's 10th-ranked rushing attack (251.7 yards a game).
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