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Florida State, Virginia Tech halftime observations

Virginia Tech leads at the half

NCAA Football: Virginia Tech at Florida State Tallahasse Democrat-USA TODAY NETWORK

FSU is down 17-3 at the half, despite outgaining Virginia Tech 5.9 to 5.2/play. Special teams are the main culprit for the deficit for the Seminoles, while the offense and defense have both had ups and downs.

The crowd was ready to erupt. Through a day of wet tailgating, and with the threat of more rain, a packed house came and was ready to explode. But Virginia Tech took them out of the game by jumping out to an early lead.

Virginia Tech picked on FSU’s linebackers early on with the run game, and on FSU’s safeties with the screen game. FSU’s linebackers have been the expected weakness of the team to date, and through a half, they have done nothing to prove otherwise. Virginia Tech’s receivers blocked well to spring their teammates on screens, and the Hokies have done very little dropback passing.

What droback passing they did do has consisted of back shoulder fades and jump balls, of which the Hokies won a few, even against Levonta Taylor, who had an excellent camp from all accounts.

The defense settled down some after the early struggles.

On the offensive side, FSU had some excellent plays, but was inconsistent.

Receiver Nyqwan Murray had a costly fumble, several missed blocks, and was called for lining up illegally, negating a nice play.

Other receivers missed blocks as well, and the screen game was ineffective early.

With Virginia Tech loading up to take away the run, FSU took to the air and found some success with multiple long completions and surprisingly good pass protection. Passes of 24 and 21 were strikes from Deondre Francois, while Khalan Laborn took a screen for 37. Tamorrion Terry had a nice leaping grab for 32 yards.

Keith Gavin had two nice gains, but dropped a touchdown on third and long. He was also the intended target on a ball that was intercepted. It was somewhat overthrown, but Gavin also failed to fight for the ball.

The offensive line had a really up-and-down half, and lost guard Derrick Kelly to an injury early in the second quarter.

Running back Jacques Patrick ran well in the first half, with 43 yards on five carries, and five receiving yards on two catches.

But Florida State is a running team, and it needs to be more consistent on early downs, gaining just a few yards to stay out of long down and distance.

Special teams were poor

FSU stalled out in the red zone twice, and Ricky Aguayo missed a field goal of 32 yards. And Logan Tyler had a punt blocked for a touchdown.