Cam Akers runs into history book as Florida State downs USM in WalkOns Independence Bowl
On December 27, 2016 in front of family, friends, and coaches, while being broadcast live online, Cam Akers picked up the Florida State Seminoles cap signifying that the number one rated running back in the nation, would be attending Florida State University. Exactly one year later, in Shreveport, Louisiana, in front of family, friends, several Clinton Arrows classmates and supporters, Akers broke the Florida State rushing record for freshman. The record was previously held by Dalvin Cook. Cook was taken in the first round in the NFL draft this past April by the Minnesota Vikings. If Akers continues this trend, he will be getting drafted in the NFL in 2 to 3 years.
Florida State started the season ranked as the number 3 ranked football team in the nation in Atlanta battling against number 1 ranked Alabama. Late in the game, Florida State’s redshirt sophomore quarterback, Deondre Francois, was injured. Initial diagnosis or hope, was for a high ankle sprain. The next morning, Florida State’s greatest fear came true, Francois, tore his Patella tendon and would miss the rest of the season. True freshman, James Blackman would have to carry the team the rest of the season. Not an easy task. Florida State had a tough year. The team finished with a 6-6 record. Well below their national championship aspirations. To make matters worse, their head coach, Jimbo Fisher left the team on December 4, 2017 to take the head coaching job at Texas A&M, leaving them without a head coach right before their bowl game. Apparently, Coach Fisher left without addressing the team. Injured quarterback Deondre Francois tweeted, “No call, no text, You could of said something.”
Despite a tumultuous season for his team, Cam Akers shined. Bursting on to the scene as a dominant force in college football. Akers ran for 121 yards against the Miami hurricanes and lowered the boom on a would be Miami defender. At the time, it was Cam Akers career high rushing. On November 4, 2017, Cam Akers ran for 199 yards on 22 carries scoring 2 touchdowns breaking his previous career high of 121. Florida State played Syracuse that day in Tallahassee. Over 71,000 fans witnessed Akers record breaking day. He also caught 3 passes for 18 yards. His efforts earned him ACC Offensive Back and Rookie of the week honors. Akers entered the record books that day also for being only the second Seminole in history to have two touchdowns over 50 yards in the same game. Needless to say, Akers was adjusting fairly well to college football.
Florida State was announced to play the University of Southern Mississippi in the WalkOns Independence Bowl. USM had a record of 8 & 4 heading into the bowl game. USM welcomed the opportunity to play one of the best teams in the country despite their 6 & 6 record. The game started out well for the Golden Eagles. In fact, they scored first. Because of the missed extra point, USM lead 6 to 0. Florida State was poised however. Some Seminole fans worried that the team might suffer a letdown and not take USM seriously. Interim Head Coach, Odell Haggins, leaned on his former college roommate to bring inspiration to the team. Who was his college roommate? Deion Sanders. Mr. Primetime himself flew to Shreveport to talk with the team. He also came out to the sideline during the game, much to the delight of the Seminoles fans. Sanders is also very supportive of Florida State’s newest hire at head coach. Willie Taggart, who left Oregon to come home to Tallahassee. Rumor has it, he’s trying to convince Deion to join his coaching staff.
After USM scored first, Florida State reeled off over 30 unanswered points. Quarterback James Blackmon would toss 4 touchdown passes, one of them went to Cam Akers. Speaking of Akers, early in the 3rd quarter, he would make a 17 yard run putting him into the record books yet again. He surpassed the mark of 1008 set by Dalvin Cook. Because the game was a blowout, Akers would only touch the ball once or twice more. He finished the game with 94 yards on 13 carries and 1 reception for 14 yards and a touchdown. Akers set the rushing mark at 1018. Best in Seminoles history for a freshman. Florida State would go on to win 42 to 13. Quarterback James Blackmon was the game’s MVP for his 4 touchdown passes. Good way to end his freshman year.
At the press conference, Akers was asked about setting the record so close to home. He responded, “To be able to do it in front of a lot of my family, a lot of people I went to school with, just the home crowd…I loved it. What better time to do it than now?”