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Blackman Finds a Way for FSU

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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On a day where Wake Forest set a new school record with 18 tackles for loss, one perfect throw from James Blackman proved to be the difference.

At halftime at Wake Forest, Florida State quarterback James Blackman had seven yards passing. Making just his second-ever college start, the true freshman, harassed unrelentingly by the Demon Deacon defense, did not appear comfortable and the offense was completely out of rhythm. When it mattered most, however, the 18-year old was mature, poised and, most of all, clutch.

On a day where Wake Forest set a new school record with 18 tackles for loss, one perfect throw from Blackman proved to be the difference. With the contest tied 19-19 with less than one minute remaining, he found go-to receiver Auden Tate on a perfect game-winning 40-yard touchdown strike. Earlier in the fourth, on Florida State's game-tying offensive drive, Blackman connected with Keith Gavin on a key 43-yard connection. There were significant offensive struggles for the Seminoles, but Blackman, in his first road game, made the throws he had to make.

It's been a dramatic shift into the spotlight for Blackman following the season-ending injury to star Deondre Francois. Listed at 6'5'', 169 pounds, the south Florida-native has stepped into an offense where injuries have significantly impacted the entire unit. Many times, Blackman has stood alongside another freshman at running back and behind a few more up front. The first three defenses he lined up against, Alabama, NC State and Wake Forest, ranked first, 22nd and 12th in sacks a year ago. The tought start has come amidst championship expectations and against quality competition.

Blackman has plenty of moxie and toughness, traits that are helping him along in his current transition. A high-profile rivalry showdown with hometown Miami awaits next for Blackman, but for now, the talented true freshman has something else to go along with all of his talents: his first career win.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: bj@espncoastal.com / Twitter: @BJBennettSports