Great field position cures most ills. The 'Noles offense played really poorly in the 1st half. The defense allowed over 6 yards per carry. The offensive line couldn't block anyone and I coined the term "McMahonHandled", as our center got rocked into the backfield. Our running backs combined for 9 yards on 9 carries. Ponder had no time to throw and clearly had trust issues as he was getting absolutely rocked.
Luckyily, Graham Gano pinned Wisconsin inside their own 3 yard line three times. Wisconsin mounted long drives, but those drives started at their own three and eventually stalled. FSU used its speed to score on a poorly thrown lateral pass by Wisconsin that went 70+ yards for a fumble recovery. Right before half the Noles scored as Carr made a great catch in the corner of the end zone. Despite leading 14-3, we had been thoroughly outplayed on offense and defense. Usually, special teams don;t matter unless they are elite or terrible. The Noles special teams were elite.
Wisconsin HC Brett Beliemia said that they were running the ball down the Noles throat and that he would continue to do so. He was right on the first count. Wisconsin ran it down the Noles throats to cut the lead to 14-6. After that drive, Wisconsin would enter FSU territory only once until garbage time.
The Nole offense began blocking people, and scored three second half TD's. Ponder had a little more time and it helped a ton, as he went from 9/18 116 1TD/ 0INT in the first half, and 9/12, 89 yards 1TD/ 0 int in the second half. The backs who had 9 yards on 9 1st half carries had 94 on 17 second half carries. Bobby Bowden correctly diagnosed the problem as "we're not blocking them." at half. The game quickly got out of hand as FSU was the much more talented team. Over time, talent usually shows up. Everette Brown did a strip job on the Wisky QB as the Badgers abandoned the run too early after going down 21-6. Wisconsin's passing game was laughably bad and we repeatedly destroyed them.
I am more satisfied with the result than the process, but I'll take it. FSU played about a "B" game, while Wisconsin played a "D." The Noles will be ranked in the final poll for the first time since 2005 (# 23, at 8-5). The next step for the 'Noles is the recruiting season.
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