UF @ FSU is a 3:30 game.
This is your recap. I try to combine your thoughts into one massive Tomahawk Nation reaction. Consider this the pulse of our website, edited by me.
This was a convincing beatdown. The defense stepped up and the offense did what it needed to do as well. Everyone is impressed with the resiliency this squad displays on a consistent basis.
Let's hear it. What did you like tonight? What still worries you? What do you want me to look for on film?
Once again, the 2008 Noles bounced back from a loss with a convincing victory. This Noles team is averging a 22 point victory in games following a loss. The Noles won this game by dominating the line of scrimmage; both offensively and defensively. They were well coached and both units looked prepared. I don't think we will see any damaging quotes out of either side following this game. FSU needed to win this game in the worst way. Some progress is being made. No jeff Bowden era team ever beat a ranked team by this much-- and certainly not on the road. In fact, this is the largest win over a ranked team since Mark Richt.
Before we get to breakdowns, let's talk awards for a moment. Everette Brown is the best defensive end I have ever seen at FSU. Many disagree, but I'll have more on that later. Todd McShay rated him as the best available pass rusher for this draft. He leads the ACC in sacks. He had 3.5 more sacks tonight and forced the crucial fumble that turned the game on its head. He needs to be a 1st team All American. Grahan Gano is by far the best kicker in the nation and he continued to show why, tonight, hitting 2 field goals in frigid conditions. Last but definitely not least, Rick Trickett needs to with the Broyles Award, given to the best assistant in the nation. What he has done with the youngest offensive line in America is nothing short of remarkable. This offense leads the conference in points and that is an absolute testament to Trickett.
Let's first look at the offense.
- I predicted 188 yards on 47 rushes and 22 passes for 160 yards. We finished with 42 rushes for 175 yards and 26 passes for...wait for it... 160 yards. Nailed it ;)
- I predicted that we'd run 69 plays-- we ran 68.
- I said that we would hold the ball for more than 33 minutes (we held it for just under 36).
- I said that we'd have long drives-- we had a seven and an eight minute drive
- I said we'd have 4.9 yards per play-- we had EXACTLY 4.9 yards per play.
Despite nailing those, I picked us to win by only 3 points. What happened? First, the defense really came to play. Second, we were sloppy at times. 335 total yards isn't worthy of 30 offensive points. We were set up in great field position all night-- starting at our own 38 yard line, on average. The Noles came in with a plan; run the ball, control the clock, and stay ahead of the chains. The result? The Seminoles faced only one 3rd down of five or more yards in the first half. The Noles won the line of scrimmage and seemed to gain at least 3 yards on every play. They picked their spots in the passing game. Maryland's front 7 never got a chance to pin their ears back and tee off. Fisher called a great game.
Maybe the 2 biggest changes in the offense tonight were the return to the run game and the return of the wideouts. The wideouts spread the field and the run game kept the defense fresh and the MD offnse out of rythm.
The bad? 3 fumbles and none lost is luck. It's not skill. It is luck. Ponder and D'Vo were cloppy handling the snap and it could have been disasterous. Further, the Noles were poor in the Red Zone, scoring TD's only three of 5 opportunities. A lack of execution also led to two three and outs. Ponder was 19-24, with a TD and no turnovers, posting his highest QB rating of the season against an ACC opponent. He mixed a few excellent throws with some off target tosses. This offense has the potential to become a lot better. he also did a great job with his legs; running for 80 yards and 5 first downs. I thought the game was done midway through the 2nd quarter. Still, I do not think this offense is maxed out. Hopefully that is a good thing. We will need 5 or 6 offensive scored to beat UF, and Jimbo cannot afford to settle for any field goals. I was pleased with tonight's offensive performance, but I tend to think it was 24 point good-- not 30.
After a week of ripping Mickey Andrews and company for blowing the BC game, I was extremely happy to see him come up with an excellent gameplan. Our corners played press coverage all night and we stayed in 2 deep for a good portion of the game. This is what we've been begging for. The defensive line wrecked havoc all night. I have no idea why Maryland didn't attempt to follow the gameplan set out by NC State, VT pre-injury, or Boston College. They tried to pass protect with 5 or 6, and paid dearly.
The defense came to hit. They played assignment football. Andrews turned them loose and didn't ask them to do things they couldn't do. What did he do? He played 2- deep coverage and at times I thought I was watching a Miami defense from the early part of this decade. Florida State defended the middle of the field first while forcing a college QB to make difficult throws to the outside. We played a lot of man coverage, but it wasn't this blitz 6, cover with 5, all or nothing type scheme we had seen in the past. That's not to say we didn't blitz at all. Andrews blitzed, but he picked his spots. He waited to see whether the DLine could get pressure without blitzing (check). When he brought the blitz, our guys didn't try to time the snap count, rather they relied on their speed to come from a farther distance. The startegy worked. Applaud Mickey Andrews for putting his players in the best possible position to succeed.
Patrick Robinson turned in a simply amazing performance-- holding surefire first round wide receiver Darius Heyward-Bey to 22 yards on 3 catches. He pressed the living you know what out of Bey and made several NF- quality plays. Andrews moved Everette Brown around, frequently using the 3 defensive end and Kendrick Stewart alignment in passing downs. The defense produced 5 sacks and 4 turnovers. How much of that was Maryland being incredibly stubborn, and how much was Andrews-- I do not know. I do know that Andrews dominated the offense that Maryland put on the field.
Still, just as I don't think the offense was good enough to produce 30 points, I don't think this defensive performance was as good as the final score indicated. It was darn close, however. We forced MD into difficult plays, but at times they did hit them. They works against average teams. Against elite teams we will need to mix the looks even more. The tackling angles from the linebackers were often poor. That's mostly on Amato-- who I still think will be gone one way or another after this year; whather Mickey gets the axe or not. Their offense had 4 drives of 7 plays and 40+ yards. That must be fixed.
Florida State needed this. Mickey Andrews needed this. Credit Mickey Andrews for getting through to a group of immensly talented guys. Maryland had averaged 23 points at home. They scored 3 against the Noles. They had averaged 5.4 per play at home in ACC competition-- the Nole D held them to 4.2, almost 30% under their season average.
Finally, I'll end with this: over half of Maryland's 250 yards came when they were down by 24 or more!
We had over 500 posts in our 2 game threads. A special thanks to everyone who participated and contributed. I am not going to name 65 commenters here, but you know who you are. The commenters and not myself are what really make this site.
Remember that coin flipping exercise? Grab it one more time. I wrote: We need
BC to beat Wake, FSU to beat Maryland, and for Maryland to beat BC.
We are 1 step away from Tampa. Chris Crane broke his collarbone for BC today. Their other QB is basically a running back. The game is in Chestnutt Hill. Maryland is very capable of winning.
Oh yeah, and it's UF week. Get ready for more analysis tomorrow.