Florida State’s defense line figured to be the strength of the Seminoles’ D entering the 2019 season. But befitting defensive linemen, the unit didn’t exactly sprint off the line.
However, the entire defense has improved over FSU’s last two games, and its players’ performance in the trenches has been a big part of that. To wit: they’ve never loomed larger than they did against Louisville in Saturday’s ’Nole victory over the Cardinals.
A week after largely shutting down the running threat posed by Virginia quarterback Bryce Perkins, the Florida State DL again stepped up, as several players equalled or established career bests against UL and their running-quarterback Malik Cunningham, who was a non-factor on the ground in this game.
Defensive tackle Marvin Wilson led the way, with a team-high 10 tackles. How good is that? Wilson, who entered the 2019 season as a preseason All-American, had never made more than six tackles in any one game while at FSU. But Wilson’s job really entails eating up blocks and causing havoc. While the first of those is tough to quantify, rest assured, he definitely did so, as Florida State’s front seven again improved its play.
As far as disrupting the Cards’ offense goes, Wilson was beyond exemplary, amassing 3.5 tackles for loss (a career high) and a pair of sacks (tying a career best). And fittingly, he recovered the Louisville fumble that ended the game. You should be rather surprised if he doesn’t garner ACC — if not national — defensive lineman of the week honors. This guy just keeps getting better.
Wilson knows as much, and wants others to see it, too:
But Wilson wasn’t alone. Edge defender Janarius Robinson stepped up in the absence of Joshua Kaindoh, as he played the best game of his FSU career, totaling 2.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks, both career bests. He also forced the fumble that ended the game and was recovered by Wilson. J-Rob showed a lot of discipline setting the edge; that doesn’t always play on the stats sheet, but it means volumes on the field.
Not to be forgotten: DT Cory Durden. Durden went all kinds of Edward Norton Fight Club on UL, registering a QB hurry, a pass breakup, and a sack for a TFL. His motor is really impressive, and he, along with the rest of the Seminole defensive line, are rounding into shape as FSU hits the heart of its schedule.