Francois helps Florida State escape with win over Samford

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Deondre Francois threw for 320 yards and three touchdowns, including the go-ahead score to Tre’ McKitty with 4:03 to go, as Florida State held off Samford 36-26 on Saturday.

Trailing 26-21, Francois led the Seminoles (1-1) on an 11-play, 82-yard drive that put them ahead for the first time this season. Francois connected with McKitty for the 5-yard touchdown, and he then found Nyqwan Murray for the 2-point conversion as Florida State took a 29-26 lead.

The win was the first at Florida State for coach Willie Taggart, who opened with a 24-3 loss to Virginia Tech on Monday.

Samford’s Devlin Hodges completed 39 of 60 passes for 475 yards and a pair of touchdowns to Kelvin McKnight, but the senior tossed four interceptions. Levonta Taylor returned the last one 63 yards for a touchdown with 2:23 to go.

Francois completed 31 of 46 passes and threw two touchdown passes to redshirt freshman Tamorrion Terry. The junior quarterback also had an 8-yard touchdown run.

McKnight caught 14 passes for 215 yards for the Bulldogs.

Samford last defeated an FBS team in 2013, when the Bulldogs won at Georgia State. Florida State has never lost to an FCS program.

FSU’s Ricky Aguayo missed a pair of field-goal attempts, including a 42-yarder with 9:59 left that hit the right upright.

The start of the game was delayed one hour, 25 minutes due to weather.

The Seminoles played without right tackle Landon Dickerson (ankle). Another lineman, Abdul Bello, also missed the game. Arthur Williams, who converted from defensive tackle in August, got the start at left guard.

THE TAKEAWAY

Florida State: The Seminoles are 24-0 against FCS teams since 1978.

Samford: The Bulldogs pushed Florida State to the limit and led most of the game.

UP NEXT

Florida State: The Seminoles will play at Syracuse on Saturday.

Samford: The Bulldogs will play host to Mercer on Saturday.

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