Florida State's new defensive staff and veterans working together for quick in-game adjustments

Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

After allowing two first half touchdowns, the Seminoles defense shut out the Hurricanes in the second half.

In a battle of top 10 teams, the Florida State Seminoles dispatched the Miami Hurricanes 41-14 on the strength of a dominant second half. Once the third quarter kicked off, the Noles dominated on both sides of the ball as they outscored Miami 20-0.

The first half was close when looking at the box score, but in reality FSU outplayed Miami all night.

Stephen Morris connected with Austin Hurns on two first half touchdown strikes, but such success proved to be unsustainable against Florida State's ferocious defense. Both of Morris' touchdown passes were NFL caliber tosses, and the senior quarterback outplayed Jameis Winston in the first half. Despite two first turnovers, Miami was unable to head into the locker room with a lead.

Jimbo Fisher spoke about the defensive staff being quick to make adjustments with the run fits, and of the team taking the physicality to another level.

As it turned out, the Hurricanes never scored again as the Noles' defense began to play their assignments better in the second half. Most notably was the improvement of the secondary, as they limited Morris to just 75 passing yards after the half. Miami also converted on just one of their four second half third-downs in the second half.

Senior superstar defensive back Lamarcus Joyner spoke about his leadership at halftime.

"They punched us in the mouth and we were still up by seven points," Joyner said. "Coach Fisher was calm and told us that he told us it would not be easy."

"I had to embrace the leadership role," Joyner said. "We let the emotions get the best of us, and you have to be a grown man. I had to let the young guys know we have to go out here and play grown man football, intelligent football."

Junior defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan echoed those thoughts.

"Just keep playing. [Fisher] told us before the game started that it wouldn't be easy," Jernigan said of the discussion at halftime. "When we all come out and execute and play together of one accord, people can't really play with us."

FSU's coaching staff has been excellent at making the proper halftime adjustments all season, and the contest versus Miami was no different. In the second half, FSU held the Hurricanes to just over nine minutes of possession time.

The Noles forced Miami to turn the ball over on downs twice in the second half, which marked the seventh and eighth on the season that the Seminoles defense. Considering that the opposition has elected to attempt 15 fourth-downs thus far this season, a stop rate of over 50 percent is more than acceptable.

Impressively, the FSU defense has surrendered just one second half touchdown versus a ranked opponent this season, even if it came at the very end of the Seminoles domination of the Clemson Tigers in Death Valley. This staff seems to be working together quite well, and the players are buying in.

True seniors have undefeated career v. Hurricanes

"That's special to me. I get to tell my kids about this," Joyner said of having never lost to Miami. "I'll come back here with the Derrick Brooks, the Snoop Minnis, and come back and brag. It's all about bragging rights. For me to be able to say that for the rest of my life, there is no better feeling."

"I got to call my mom, and check on my son and my neighborhood friends, and brag about it," said the Miami native.

"I believe you could go 2-10 as long as you beat Miami and Florida," Joyner said of the importance of the rivalry.

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