FSU gave up 370 yards on Saturday to NC State, but only 13 points.
FSU only gave up one touchdown an opponent since 2017 (ULM) as well as to an ACC foe (Duke) and held an ACC opponent without a touchdown through three quarters for the first time since 2016 (Boston College). It allowed 4.6 yards per play, the lowest average of the season.
It was a defensive effort markedly different from the first two games of the season, and an improvement even on the progress seen since the Seminoles’ loss against Virginia. As the offense struggled to find a consistent groove FSU’s defense held strong, barely bending and never really breaking, providing a cushion for the eventual offensive production
Junior Cyrus Fagan had an impressive performance, hawking down passes and leading the team in tackles and recovering a fumble. Redshirt freshman Amari Gainer, stepping in for the injured Jaiden Lars-Woodbey, also stood out, registering two sacks, 2.5 tackles for loss and a forced fumble. (Dennis Briggs Jr. and Emmett Rice also had a forced fumble and fumble recovery, respectively.)
Florida State did a good job of keeping NC State quarterback Bailey Hockman, who transferred from FSU last year, in check, though Gainer’s two sacks were the only ones registered the whole day.
NC State fielded an offensive significantly less capable than the ones that Florida State have gone up against and have yet to see, but one of the first major signs of progress is taking care of business when the odds are in your favor.
With a huge challenge looming in a road game vs. No. 1 Clemson, the turnaround couldn’t have come at a better time.