1980 FSU defense

Haven't made a "fan post" before, but somebody was talking about great FSU defenses and listed 1993 as the clear "winner" of that contest.

I beg to differ. The 1980 FSU defense was, imo, the best ever at Florida State and certainly the greatest defense in the Bowden era.

I believe this is borne out by statistics and anecdotal evidence.

I went to to refresh my memory on some of the stats, although so many of the games are still so clear in my mind.

First off -- to amass great defensive stats that year was something else considering the schedule -- at Nebraska (Turner Gill, et al); Pitt at home (Marino, Hugh Green et al) at Miami, at LSU, Florida at home and Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl.

Here is a look, game-by-game, then some overall season stats.

Game 1 -- at LSU. 16-0 FSU

I don't know how often LSU has been shutout in Death Valley, but I'm sure it hasn't happened very often. LSU could muster only 239 yards of total offense and 8 first downs in the game.

Game 2 -- Lousville. 52-0 FSU

The Cardinals had minus 5 yards rushing and 61 yards passing for 56 TOTAL YARDS off 5 first downs.

Game 3 -- E. Carolina. FSU 63-7

Before you say "they finally were scored on," know that the Pirates TD came off a kickoff return for a touchdown. ECU hadt 4 first downs, 7 yards passing and 102 total yards.

Game 4 -- at Miami. Miami 10-9.

This was the only loss of the regular season for FSU and it was hardly the fault of the defense. The Noles held the Canes to 291 yards on 69 plays, this despite FSU's offense punting 10 times and doing little take the pressure off the D.

Game 5 -- at Nebraska, FSU 18-14

The Huskers put up the second largest yardage total of the year on FSU -- 368 yards. Nebraska rushed 49 times for 201 yards -- a 4.0 average which was surely one of their lowest per rush averages of the era. Rhon Stark averaged over 48 yards per punt on SEVEN kicks to keep the hosts pinned deep. This was the most important victory in the history of FSU football, imo.

Game 6 -- Pitt. FSU 36-22

This may have been the greatest team FSU has ever beaten. It was Pitt's only loss of the season and this team was flat out loaded with Marino at the helm and Hugh Green on defense. But the Noles held the Panthers to 386 total yards, only 86 of that on the ground. The FSU D picked off Marino 3 times. Bill Capece kicked 5 FG in the FIRST HALF and the Noles went on to beat the No. 2 ranked team in the nation for the second week in a row.

Game 7 - Boston College. FSU 41-7.

This is another defensive shutout as BC's only score came on an INT return. The Eagles were held to 105 yards total offense -- 27 rushing, 78 passing -- and only 7 first downs.

Game 8 - at Memphis St. FSU 24-3

The Tigers racked up 183 yards of total offense -- a big output by FSU defense standards -- but couldn't get into the endzone.

Game 9  - Tulsa. FSU 45-2.

Another shutout for the D as Tulsa scored a safety sacking Stockstill in the endzone. Tulsa had only 160 yards of offense, rushing 40 times for 80 yards.

Game 10 - Va. Tech. FSU 31-7

The Hokies actually found the end zone -- the first team in three weeks to do so -- on a first quarter TD pass. There are no team stats listed for this game.

Game 11 - Florida. FSU 17-13

The Gators were held to 267 total yards as Ricky Williams and Hardis Johnson led FSU back from a 13-3 halftime deficit (I was at this game -- tense times at the break!).

Orange Bowl

Oklahoma 18, FSU 17

The Noles held JC Watts and company UNDER 300 yards, but it wasn't enough as a late drive gave OU the win.


Here is where the stats are truly amazing.

FSU gave up 85 total points -- an anemic 7.7 points per game

The Noles gave up 2 rushing touchdown the ENTIRE SEASON

Opponents only attempted 11 field goals, making a total of 4.

Opponents made a total of 129 first downs, around 11 per game.

Opponents averaged 2.4 -- TWO POINT FOUR -- yards per rush and averaged 89.5 rushing yards per game.

Opponents completed only 44 percent of their passes and had a season quarterback rating of 82.78

Total offense per game was 208.2, an anemic 3.5 yards per play

FSU had a turnover margin of plus 23, forcing 22 fumbles and intercepting 18 passes.

Opponents were 55 of 163 on third down a 33 percent success rate.






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