No. 6 Florida St defeats ULM 34-0 in season opener

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — EJ Manuel threw for 252 yards and two touchdowns and backup quarterback Clint Trickett threw a touchdown pass on his first college play as No. 6 Florida State beat Louisiana-Monroe 34-0 Saturday in the season opener for both teams.

Florida State’s swarming defense limited ULM to 191 yards and 12 first downs.

ULM (0-1) got to Florida State’s 28 — its deepest penetration in the game — in the opening minute of the fourth quarter before quarterback Kolton Browning was dropped for a on a fourth-and-1. The Warhawks managed to reach Seminole territory just once in the first half reaching the 44 before having to punt.

Florida State (1-0) led 17-0 at halftime and built its advantage to 27-0 before Manuel gave way to Trickett.

Manuel connected with Bert Reed on a 9-yard TD pass to get the Seminoles on the scoreboard in the opening quarter and hit Greg Dent in full stride on a 50-yard scoring play just before the half.

Manuel, who started six games during his freshman and sophomore seasons when Christian Ponder was out with injuries, was replaced by Trickett with 7:03 left and the Seminoles leading 27-0. Trickett, the youngest son of Florida State offensive coordinator Rick Trickett, fired a 28-yard touchdown pass to freshman Rashad Greene, on his first collegiate play.

Dustin Hopkins kicked a pair of short field goals and freshman Devonta Freeman added a 1-yard touchdown run in the third quarter to account for the other Florida State scoring.

Manuel completed 22 of 34 passes, favoring wideout Rodney Smith on a half dozen occasions for 78 yards.

Florida State struggled to get a running game established and finished with just 92 yards with Chris Thompson leading the way with 33 yards on a half dozen carries.

ULM struggled all day against Florida State’s defense in the first meeting between the schools. The Warhawks converted on only 5 of 15 third down tries and failed on both fourth down attempts.

Browning led the Warhawks in rushing with 28 yards on 11 carries. He managed to complete 11-of-19 passes for 85 yards.

Things would have been worse for the Warhawks in the first half if not for an interception by safety Darius Prelow.

After a 30-yard punt return gave Florida State the ball at the ULM 17, Manuel threw into double coverage in the end zone where Prelow stepped in front of Reed for the interception.

ULM has been outscored 165-10 since the start of last season in losses to Arkansas, Auburn, LSU and now Florida State.

Reed’s touchdown to start the scoring followed an acrobatic 17-yard catch by Kenny Shaw, who managed to keep one foot in while falling out of bounds at the ULM six.

Florida State went up 10-0 with 6:53 left in the half when Hopkins kicked a field goal from 24 yards to culminate an 87-yard, 17-yard drive that consumed eight minutes.

Dent’s over-the-should catch on the dead run completed the first half scoring.

Florida State is now 9-1 over the years against teams presently in the Sun Belt Conference.

Florida State hosts Charleston Southern next Saturday and then top-ranked Oklahoma in a highly anticipated return match from a year ago when the Seminoles were clobbered 47-17 at Norman, Okla.

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