Casey Brockman had thrown for 3,276 yards and 25 touchdowns a year ago. He was a senior quarterback guiding a spread offense.
So despite the fact that Murray State was a Football Championship Series team, the Racers’ passing game would give an early test to Florida State’s secondary that is a mix of established, veteran starters and freshmen and sophomores still learning on the job.
Brockman completed 19 of 36 passes, but they were mostly for short gains. Murray State had just 117 passing yards, an average of less than 10 yards per completion, and Brockman’s longest pass went for just 16 yards.
“We played with a lot of confidence,” Rhodes said. “We went out there and we knew what we had to do. We were on point.”
Rhodes also grabbed an interception, halting Murray State’s second drive of the game when he ran under a long Brockman pass on third-and-13. The result was essentially a 38-yard punt. But for an FSU defense that had trouble forcing turnovers in 2011, it was the first of three turnovers created by the Seminoles.
Darby entered the game midway through the first quarter and was tested immediately. He quickly closed in on a slant pattern and broke up a pass intended for Walter Powell, nearly creating another interception. It was the first of two passes broken up by Darby.
And Williams also knocked down a pass in the end zone that was intended for Dontel Watkins. FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said he thought Williams could have grabbed the interception but overall was pleased with how Williams played.
“For the most part pretty good,” Fisher said. “Tackled well, graded very well.”
FSU will see more passing attacks in September that are far more talented than Murray State’s. So a performance like Saturday’s against the Racers should help the younger players prepare for what they will see in the next few weeks against 3,000-yard passers like Wake Forest’s Tanner Price and Clemson’s Tajh Boyd.
“We’re going up against other teams like Clemson, another team with a spread offense,” Rhodes said. “(The Murray State game) gives us a good look at what we need to work on and what we need to critique.”