Tampa Bay Sports Day

Bonts: Taggart Records First Victory as FSU Head Coach

TALLAHASSEE — The Seminoles scored 15 fourth quarter points in a span of 1:40 to rally for a 36-26 win over Samford Saturday night in Tallahasee.

Willie Taggart recorded his first victory as the FSU head coach. Levonta Taylor’s 63-yard interception return for a TD with 2:23 remaining sealed the victory.

But it wasn’t easy. After yielding 341 yards and 23 points in the first half, FSU’s defense limited Samford to 134 yards and 3 points in the second half.

QB Deondre Francois eclipsed 300 passing yards for the sixth time in his career against Samford. He was 31 of 46 for 320 yards and three TDs.

“It meant a lot to get our first win as a team – our first win for Coach Taggart – and now we have some momentum going into week 3. Any win is a good win, no matter who we’re playing,” Francois said.

Tamorrion Terry collected the first two TD receptions of his career in the first half, reeling in Francois’ strikes of 27 and 17 yards. Tre’ McKitty’s 5-yard TD reception with 4:03 remaining gave the Noles their first lead. A 2-point conversion pass to Nyqwan Murray to give the hosts a 29-26 lead.

“There was pressure everywhere. I knew we had to get it together, which we did. We spoke to each other on the sideline and finished it out,” noted Terry.

Cam Akers led FSU in rushing with 76 yards on 14 carries and also had a team-high seven receptions. Murray was the receiving yardage leader with 63 yards on six catches.

Hamsah Nasirildeen led the Noles with a career-high 12 tackles and Stanford Samuels III set a career-high with 8.

GAME NOTES: The game started an over and hour late due to a weather delay…Francois’ 8-yard TD run in the first half was his first since a 3-yard run against Michigan in the 2016 Orange Bowl….A.J. Westbrook recorded his first interception….Cyrus Fagan recovered his first fumble….Samford’s 26 points were the most by an FCS opponent against the Seminoles since 1981…Kyle Meyers snared a pair of second half interceptions, the most in a game by a Seminole since Taylor had two against Florida last season….FSU is on the road Saturday at Syracuse.