Deondre Francois passed for 352 yards and two touchdowns as Florida State earned its first win of the season against an FBS school Saturday when it defeated visiting Northern Illinois 37-19 at Doak Campbell Stadium.
Florida State’s lone victory before Saturday came against FCS school Samford, and it blew a 10-point game wide open in the fourth quarter when Francois hit receiver Tamorrion Terry for a 78-yard touchdown pass to put the Seminoles (2-2) ahead 30-13.
The touchdown pass came two plays after the Huskies (1-3) appeared to trim the lead 23-19 on a receiving score of their own that was overturned on third down. Replay review showed the receiver went out of bounds, negating the touchdown, then Northern Illinois kicker Andrew Gantz missed a 33-yarder wide right that would’ve made it a one-score game at 23-16.
Francois finished 23-of-31 passing with his other score going to running back Jacques Patrick in the first quarter. The Seminoles’ receiving attack was led by wideout Keith Gavin with six catches for 93 yards, while running back Cam Akers led Florida State on the ground with 22 carries for 64 yards and a touchdown.
Seminoles backup running back Amir Rasul also scored, rushing in from 7 yards out with 12 seconds left in the fourth quarter after the game was already in hand.
Northern Illinois quarterback Marcus Childers was 20-of-41 passing for 215 yards. He threw for two touchdowns and ran for another. Huskies receiver D.J. Brown had seven catches for 117 yards and a score.
The Seminoles’ defense was led by defensive back Kyle Meyers, who had two sacks.
The Northern Illinois defense was paced by linebacker Lance Deveaux with 10 tackles and a sack. Huskies defensive back Cortez Hogan recorded an interception.
Florida State took a 20-7 lead into halftime.
The Seminoles scored on their first two possessions of the game — an 8-yard touchdown pass from Francois to Patrick and a 7-yard scoring run by Akers. Then Florida State turned the ball over twice and Northern Illinois converted the second of those cough-ups into points when Childers found receiver Jauan Wesley for a 20-yard score with 6:01 left in the second quarter to cut the lead to 14-7.
Florida State kicker Ricky Aguayo added field goals of 42 and 50 yards, and he nailed another 42-yarder in the second half to make it 23-7.
Saturday marked just the second-ever meeting between the two schools, with the Seminoles now having won both matchups. Their only other game was a 31-10 Florida State victory in the 2013 Orange Bowl.
—Field Level Media