After a poor performance against Oklahoma on both sides of the ball, Florida State got back to basics against BYU. Florida State rushed for 278 yards on 44 attempts. Redshirt freshman Henry Orelus started for Andrew Datko who was out with a shoulder injury. Orelus did a decent job as the Noles managed to run for 6.3 yards a carry. The ground game got a strong effort from Ty Jones (15 carries/95 yards) and Christian Ponder (13 carries/50 yards), with Chris Thompson (9 carries/123 yards) showing why he was rated as one of the biggest home run threats in the country during his senior high school season. The bulk of Thompson's rushing yards came on two carries, an 83 yard burst sprung by a great block from fullback Lonnie Pyror, and a 31 yard scamper (with a personal foul tacking on an additional 15 yards to that play).
The real story was the defense, which managed to hold BYU to only 191 total yards (sack yards lost, -61). BYU abandoned the two quarterback platoon system fairly early in the game, going exclusively with Freshman Jake Heaps. Heaps was unable to get much going in the air, and the FSU defense appeared to show the benefits of the improved off-season strength and conditioning program, especially in the second half, where they consistently applied pressure. FSU's defense was able to leverage the down and distance, with BYU converting on just 4 of 15 third downs. Frankly, BYU's line looked slow, fat, and out of shape, and had the officials not decided to swallow their whistles, BYU's offense might have looked even worse, as they consistently held the Florida State front four in an effort to protect their young quarterback. Even with the many called and uncalled infractions, FSU recorded 8 sacks against BYU, a team that had yet to give up one sack coming into the game.
Despite a fumble by Bert Reed inside the red zone, Florida State won the turnover battle 2-1. The FSU defensive line forced and recovered a fumble, and Xaiver Rhodes picked off a pass after a nice play by JuCo transfer Mike Harris to tip the ball.
This was a solid win over a quality opponent, but don't expect Jimbo Fisher and the Noles to be satisfied. The passing game struggled for the most part, and despite adequate protection, Ponder was mostly unable to fine anyone open down the field.