By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2017 All Rights Reserved
SHREVEPORT, LOUISIANA (December 26, 2017) The 42nd edition of the Walk-On's Independence Bowl pits two teams with a historic presence in post-season college football. The Florida State Seminoles (6-6, 3-5 ACC) will face off against the Southern Miss Golden Eagles (8-4, 6-2 C-USA) at Independence Stadium in Shreveport, Louisiana on Wednesday, December 27, 2017. Florida State is making their 36th consecutive bowl appearance, a streak that began with the 1982 Gator Bowl. The Golden Eagles are playing in their third consecutive bowl game and their 25th overall, posting an 11-13 all-time record in post-season contests.
The Seminoles will be led by freshman running back Cam Akers (181 carries for 930 yards and seven touchdowns) , freshman quarterback James Blackman (155-of-271 for 1,997 yards and 15 touchdowns) and junior wide receiver Nyqwan Murray (40 catches for 604 yards and four touchdowns). The Golden Eagles will counter with senior running back Ito Smith (232 carries for 1,323 yards and 13 touchdowns), red shirt junior quarterback Kwadra Griggs (1135-of-240 for 1.793 yards and 15 touchdowns) and red shirt junior wide receiver Korey Robertson (72 carches for 1,070 yards and 11 touchdowns. Defensively, Southern Miss is paced by senior free safety Tarvarius Moore, with 73 tackles, 2 tackles for a loss, and three interceptions. Florida State red shirt senior linebacker Matthew Thomas has 85 tackles for the season with 10 tackles for a loss and two sacks.
Florida State and Southern Miss have met 22 times in program history, with the Seminoles holding a 18-8-1 advantage. Their last meeting was in 1996, when the Seminoles downed the Golden Eagles by the score of 54-14. The two teams meet ten times in the 1970s and 1980s with the 2017 Independence Bowl being the first time thay have played in a bowl game.