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Florida State beats Southern Miss 42-13 in Independence Bowl

The Golden Eagles finish the season 8-5.

Posted: Dec 27, 2017 9:46 PM

SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) - Freshman James Blackman was throwing the touchdown passes. Another freshman, Cam Akers, was gaining big chunks of yards on the ground.

Florida State might still be a little melancholy after a season that started with national championship hopes ended on Wednesday with an Independence Bowl win. But the performances from young players like Blackman and Akers in the 42-13 victory over Southern Mississippi are a solid hint that the Seminoles could be a powerhouse again in a hurry.

Blackman threw for 233 yards and an Independence Bowl-record four touchdowns, including three to junior receiver Auden Tate. Akers led the Seminoles with 94 yards rushing and also caught a 14-yard touchdown pass.

Blackman started the season's final 12 games after sophomore starting quarterback Deondre Francois suffered a season-ending knee injury in the opener. He's had some ups and downs since the promotion, but saved the best for last against Southern Miss.

"It's pretty impressive, he had to grow up really fast," Florida State interim coach Odell Haggins. "He had to take the diapers off and go to work."

Florida State (7-6) ended the season on a four-game winning streak and avoided its first losing season since 1976. Now new coach Willie Taggart takes over and appears to have plenty of talent on the roster to work with going forward.

Southern Miss took a 6-0 lead in the first quarter after a 63-yard touchdown drive that was aided by two 15-yard Florida State penalties, one for unsportsmanlike conduct and the other for roughing the kicker.

But the Golden Eagles couldn't keep the momentum, mainly because of their own mistakes, including four defensive offside penalties on Florida State's opening drive.

"If you can get a little momentum going, you've got a chance to get this thing into the third quarter or the fourth quarter and we'll see what happens," Southern Miss coach Jay Hopson said. "But give (Florida State) credit, they deserved to win. They made plays, but I thought we fought hard. Just a tough loss today."

Blackman matched an Independence Bowl record with three touchdown passes in the first half to help Florida State take a 23-6 lead.

The Seminoles pushed the advantage to 33-6 late in the third quarter before Southern Miss finally responded with a touchdown. By then, the game was essentially out of reach.

Southern Miss (8-5) was led by Ito Smith, who ran for 92 yards. Kwadra Griggs completed 13 of 25 passes for just 86 yards and a touchdown.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 343505

Reported Deaths: 7543
CountyCasesDeaths
Hinds23932444
DeSoto23229283
Harrison20527329
Rankin15411291
Jackson15232252
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Lee10719179
Jones9047169
Forrest8723159
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Washington5595139
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Marshall4701106
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Neshoba4281181
Hancock428088
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Pike3667113
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Tate353388
Alcorn350974
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Scott341176
Adams340988
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Simpson322891
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Tippah306568
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Leake285475
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Holmes200174
Clay197654
Clarke186880
Tallahatchie183742
Calhoun181332
Smith179235
Yalobusha171540
Walthall145748
Lawrence142826
Greene140134
Amite137543
Noxubee135235
Perry133538
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Carroll126431
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Jefferson Davis116734
Tunica114227
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Humphreys100133
Franklin87923
Quitman84719
Choctaw82619
Wilkinson78032
Jefferson71328
Sharkey51618
Issaquena1736
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 577463

Reported Deaths: 11510
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson841981589
Mobile47171860
Madison37047533
Tuscaloosa26915465
Shelby26873256
Montgomery25918625
Baldwin24499328
Lee16949181
Calhoun15252332
Morgan15017290
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Houston11774292
Elmore10761217
St. Clair10617252
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Cullman10363205
Lauderdale10083254
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Talladega8836188
Walker7681287
Autauga7479114
Jackson7317117
Blount7266139
Colbert6635142
Coffee6163132
Dale5453117
Russell470642
Chilton4682117
Covington4649125
Franklin450081
Tallapoosa4440156
Escambia427882
Chambers3898125
Dallas3717163
Clarke367763
Marion3427106
Pike327879
Lawrence3225101
Winston294973
Bibb284565
Geneva276383
Marengo259967
Barbour246261
Pickens240062
Butler238272
Hale232778
Fayette225264
Henry209245
Monroe197241
Randolph196744
Cherokee196348
Washington180139
Macon168752
Crenshaw165558
Clay163759
Cleburne160245
Lamar149938
Lowndes144854
Wilcox130531
Bullock126142
Conecuh119630
Coosa116929
Perry109928
Sumter109032
Greene98736
Choctaw64325
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Very hot and very humid conditions linger in our area for our Saturday. However, the heat and humidity start to dwindle a bit as we go into our Sunday and beyond. As a matter of fact below normal high temperatures for this time of year.
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