SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) - James Blackman threw three of his Independence Bowl-record four touchdown passes to Auden Tate and Florida State beat Southern Mississippi 42-13 on Wednesday.
Florida State (7-6) avoided its first losing season since 1976.
Southern Miss took a 6-0 lead in the first quarter after a 63-yard touchdown drive that was aided by two 15-yard Florida State penalties, one for unsportsmanlike conduct and the other for roughing the kicker.
Blackman matched an Independence Bowl record with three touchdown passes in the first half to help Florida State take a 23-6 lead.
The Seminoles pushed the advantage to 33-6 late in the third quarter. Cam Akers led Florida State with 94 yards rushing, and Jacques Patrick added 61 yards. Blackman completed 18 of 26 passes for 233 yards.
Southern Miss (8-5) was led by Ito Smith, who ran for 92 yards. Kwadra Griggs completed 13 of 25 passes for just 86 yards and a touchdown.
Florida State: The Seminoles earned a good ending to an otherwise dreary season. Florida State was simply more talented than Southern Miss at just about every position and it showed.
Southern Miss: The Golden Eagles were able to grab an early lead, but couldn't keep the momentum. Southern Miss is a program that relishes its opportunities against Power Five opponents, but the talent gap was too much for the Golden Eagles to overcome on Wednesday.
Florida State: The Seminoles get a fresh start with new coach Willie Taggart. Florida State still has a talented roster and there's ample reason to believe it could be a quick turnaround for the storied program.
Southern Miss: The Golden Eagles should be in pretty good shape next season, though they'll have to replace star running back Ito Smith and the entire starting secondary.