In all likelihood, the outcome of Florida State’s home opener against The Citadel won’t ever be in doubt.
The Seminoles have beaten Football Championship Subdivision teams by an average of 55 points in coach Jimbo Fisher’s tenure.
And the Bulldogs are 7-46 all-time against higher-division opponents.
So Fisher will measure his team’s progress in ways that aren’t reflected in the boxscore.
“How well we play, how consistent we play, how hard we play,” Fisher said. “The execution, the consistent execution we need.”
Consistent execution was a sore spot in last week’s 37-31 victory over Oklahoma State.
Top-ranked FSU jumped out to an early lead and seemed destined for another blowout victory before a surprising run of miscues and sloppiness led to a tense second half.
The Citadel, a 31-16 loser to Coastal Carolina last week, will at least present the Seminoles with plenty of opportunities to refine their technique against live competition.
That’s especially true for FSU’s new-look front seven. The Seminoles’ defensive line and linebackers will be front and center against the Bulldogs’ run-heavy, triple-option offense.
They will be tasked with the challenge of staying disciplined against an attack that thrives on misdirection.
“You can’t get greedy in this one,” Fisher said. “You have to plug my gap, my responsibility, but then you have to chase down the football at the same time.”
Saturday’s game should also present FSU’s offense with an opportunity to iron out the kinks that plagued last week’s effort.
In particular, the Seminoles will continue auditions for a receiver who can take some heat off of senior Rashad Greene.
That could come in the form of sophomore Jesus Wilson. The former Miami Columbus High standout will make his debut after serving a one-game suspension for his role in a stolen scooter incident.
Highly regarded freshmen Travis Rudolph and Ermon Lane are expected to get their feet wet as well.
“We are going to get [the other receivers] incorporated pretty soon because we need them,” quarterback Jameis Winston said.
“That is one thing I have to keep telling them because we need those guys. When they know their role and they know when it’s time to play, they have to play.
“They are going to come up big for us.”
FSU’s offensive line could also have a get-right game after an uneven performance against Oklahoma State.
The Citadel’s defensive line averages an undersized 258 pounds, so the Seminoles might not be able to read much into what happens.
But there should at least be plenty of wide lanes for running backs Karlos Williams and Mario Pender to run through.
Former Miami Central star Dalvin Cook will likely see his first collegiate action.
“The mistakes that were made [against Oklahoma State], they’re not mistakes like, ‘Oh my gosh, what are we going to do?’ ” senior guard Tre’ Jackson said. “It’s things that we can come out in practice and fix, and it will take off from there.”
Redshirt freshman linebacker Matthew Thomas was suspended indefinitely for a violation of team rules. Thomas, a former standout at Booker T. Washington High, has missed the past month of practice. Fisher has said that Thomas’ absence was because of an ankle injury.