TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- No. 7 Florida State opened the season with a 69-3 victory over Murray State on Saturday behind three touchdowns from fullback Lonnie Pryor and a standout defensive performance by defensive end Bjoern Werner.
It was over when: James Wilder Jr. wrapped up Florida State's first drive of the second half with a 9-yard touchdown, putting the Seminoles up 35-3. The Racers managed to hold their own in the first half despite the score, but Wilder's run capped a dominant five-play, 72-yard drive in which FSU fully exerted itself.
Game ball goes to: Werner. With fellow defensive end Brandon Jenkins out with a foot injury for the majority of the game, Werner had a field day against the overmatched Murray State offensive line. The junior defensive end racked up four sacks, five tackles for loss and forced a fumble on the Murray State 2-yard line that set up a touchdown.
Stat of the game: 7. That's the number of rushing touchdowns for Florida State's offense Saturday, the most in any game for the Seminoles since 1992. Pryor scored three times and Wilder and Debrale Smiley each chipped in with two. Florida State averaged nearly 7 yards per carry, with a total of 285 rushing yards.
Turning point: EJ Manuel hit Kenny Shaw for a 6-yard touchdown just before the end of the first half. Murray State had hung tough early, and Shaw's bobble of what appeared to be an easy catch earlier in the half that turned into an interception was the most glaring of several FSU mental gaffes. But that last drive of the half, a five-play, 58-yard march, ended with Shaw gaining some retribution and the Seminoles reasserting themselves against an inferior opponent.
Unsung hero: Pryor. Well, it's not that Pryor flew under the radar Saturday. He scored three touchdowns, topping his total for the 2011 season. But Pryor, a senior, has spent his career blocking out of the backfield and doing FSU's dirty work on offense, so the moment in the sun -- all three of them -- was a nice way to start his final season with the Seminoles.
What it means: Odds are the thumping of an FCS opponent won't tell us much about Florida State's ability to meet the immense preseason expectations, but Jimbo Fisher should be pleased that his offensive line delivered an impressive push, the running game was able to move the ball well and the defense looked every bit as stout as the preseason hype touted. Things won't get much tougher next week against Savannah State, but thus far FSU looks the part of a contender, even if the test wasn't overly tough.