Top-10 Showdown Between No. 8 Florida State Seminoles, No. 5 LSU Tigers Set for Sunday Night Matchup in Orlando

By  //  September 3, 2023

KICKOFF SET FOR 7:44 P.M. ET

The college football world is primed, ready, and set to go off with a bang as the ball flies through the air on Sunday night when the No. 8 Florida State Seminoles and the No. 5 LSU Tigers settle their “home and home” series in Orlando, Florida. (on3.com image)

ORLANDO, FLORIDA – LSU and Florida State will kick off the 2023 season Sunday night as the Tigers and Seminoles travel to Orlando for Week 1 football action at Camping World Stadium.

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Kickoff is set for 7:44 p.m. ET.

Head coach Brian Kelly is encouraged with the progress his team has made this offseason, highlighted by several key returners on both sides of the ball. At practice, it’s been less explaining, and more doing, allowing this group to be way ahead in their development than they were at this point a year ago.

“We’re a smarter football team,” said Kelly. “We understand the systems, the process, the things necessary to become more consistent in everything we do to be a championship football team. That comes right down to the smallest of details.”

Returning a fifth-year senior at quarterback is a big reason why as Jayden Daniels is primed for a monster season after throwing for 2,913 yards and 17 touchdowns in 2022, while also rushing for 885 as well. A second year in Mike Denbrock‘s system has the California native feeling as comfortable and confident as he’s ever been.

“Year 2 allows him to have a comfort level from a knowledge standpoint and a personnel standpoint where he feels he can let it rip a little,” Kelly said. “We encourage him to more and more.”

On offense, Daniels will have no shortage of weapons to choose from, beginning with a star-studded receiver room led by Malik Nabers, Kyren Lacy, Brian Thomas and Aaron Anderson. The running backs return familiar faces, and added some new ones, too, as Josh Williams, Logan Diggs and Noah Cain are set to assume a bulk of the carries on Sunday night.

Head coach Brian Kelly is encouraged with the progress his team has made this offseason, highlighted by several key returners on both sides of the ball. At practice, it’s been less explaining, and more doing, allowing this group to be way ahead in their development than they were at this point a year ago.

“We’re a smarter football team,” said Kelly. “We understand the systems, the process, the things necessary to become more consistent in everything we do to be a championship football team. That comes right down to the smallest of details.”

Returning a fifth-year senior at quarterback is a big reason why as Jayden Daniels is primed for a monster season after throwing for 2,913 yards and 17 touchdowns in 2022, while also rushing for 885 as well. A second year in Mike Denbrock‘s system has the California native feeling as comfortable and confident as he’s ever been.

“Year 2 allows him to have a comfort level from a knowledge standpoint and a personnel standpoint where he feels he can let it rip a little,” Kelly said. “We encourage him to more and more.”

On offense, Daniels will have no shortage of weapons to choose from, beginning with a star-studded receiver room led by Malik Nabers, Kyren Lacy, Brian Thomas and Aaron Anderson. The running backs return familiar faces, and added some new ones, too, as Josh Williams, Logan Diggs and Noah Cain are set to assume a bulk of the carries on Sunday night.

For the Seminoles, Florida State enters year four under Mike Norvell ranked No. 8 in the preseason polls, the program’s highest preseason rank since 2017, after doubling its win total from the previous year and finishing 10-3 in 2022.

» FSU is playing in a top-10 season opener for the fourth time in program history and first time since 2017 when No. 3 Florida State faced No. 1 Alabama in the first collegiate game inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. This season’s game is the fifth top-10 season opener nationally in the last 10 seasons, and Florida State is the only program to beinvolved in two of those contests.

» Florida State is 10-0-2 all-time in Orlando and has won nine straight contests in Orlando since a 17-17 tie with Georgia in the 1984 Citrus Bowl. The Seminoles are 2-0 in season openers played in Orlando, defeating No. 11 Ole Miss 45-34 in 2016 and beating Duke 70-26 in 1995.

» FSU scored at least 35 points in its final six games of 2022, the longest active streak in the nation entering 2023 and the program’s longest 35-point stretch points since the 2013 national championship season.

» The Seminoles return 77 players from the 2022 squad, including 11 all-conference selections and the ACC’s Defensive Rookie of the Year. Those players combined to account for 89.2 percent of FSU’s total offense, including 99.5 percent of passing yards and 76.4 percent of rushing yards, and 68.7 percent of its defensive production, including 80.0 percent of tackles for loss, last season.

» FSU also added a top-20 high school recruiting class, with seven true freshmen included on the opening week’s depth chart, and a top-5 group of transfers, including the nation’s highest-rated tight end, offensive tackle, cornerback and defensive lineman in the portal as well as top-five additions at defensive end and wide receiver.

Space Coast Daily’s Zach Clark and Juan Rodriguez will provide pregame and postgame coverage from Orlando.

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