College Football Recap: Florida State at BYU

Well, I was close on the score, but I picked the wrong winner.  Florida State made a huge statement in Provo last night, although the Miami Hurricanes helped make that point a few days ago.  What is that point, you ask?  Florida State and Miami are going to make some waves this year, and if they keep this momentum, college football fans may be in for a rematch of the nail-biting roller coaster rematch from the Labor Day showdown they had a couple weeks ago.

Christian Ponder continues to impress in his 2009 campaign.  (google images)

Christian Ponder continues to impress in his 2009 campaign. (google images)

Let’s look at some of the keys to Florida State’s victory over #7 BYU last weekend.  One of the issues mentioned in my prediction last week was FSU’s weakness against the pass versus Max Hall and the potent BYU passing offense.

First off, Jacory Harris and the plethora of wideouts for the Miami Hurricanes may have had a lot to do with Florida State’s poor statistics against the pass.

All Harris did in last Thursday’s match up against Georgia Tech was a 20-25 performance for 270 yards and 3 touchdowns.  It looks like Harris and Miami are much, much better than many gave them credit for at the beginning of the season.

Despite the fact that the ‘Canes are much better than anticipated, Florida State still had their issues against the pass.  The good thing for FSU is that the coaching staff recognized that.  They mixed things up much better against a very smart, very disciplined BYU offense on Saturday.

The FSU coaching staff also realized after the first game against Miami that they needed to put some of their talented underclassmen into the game, especially on defense.  True freshman, Jacobbi McDaniel has gotten more reps at DT, redshirt freshman, Nick Moody, has gotten considerable playing time at SS, and true freshman sensation, Greg Reid, once again made his presence felt at CB, grabbing another interception against BYU, but he brought this one back to the house for a Seminole touchdown.  When the dust settled, the ‘Noles picked off three passes on BYU’s talented quarterback.

The second issue facing the Seminoles was the lack of a running game on offense.  Last season, despite having the youngest offensive line in the nation and limited depth at running back, the ‘Noles tallied the ACC’s second best running attack.  Going into the BYU game, there was not even a shadow of those results.

FSU exploded for 313 yards rushing to go along with Christian Ponder’s 195 yards passing.  Ty Jones led the rushing attack with 108 yards, and Ponder added 77 yards of his own. 

Finally, Ponder’s poise and maturation as a quarterback has continued to drive Florida State.  Bronco Mendenhall’s defense is one that is very smart, mature and disciplined.  The complex schemes they run from their 3-4 base defense were enough to limit the Oklahoma Sooners to 13 points in their opener a couple weeks ago.

Ponder performed noticeably better than current Heisman Trophy winner, Sam Bradford, who completed 10 or 14 pass attempts, but was limited to just 96 yards before getting knocked out of the game at the end of the first half.  Ponder has gotten a little bit of credit, but the college football world should take notice of what he has done. 

If the last few days have shown us anything, it is that despite the youth of each program, FSU and Miami may very well be back.  And after this weekend, don’t be surprised if we don’t get a rematch between the two storied programs in the ACC Championship.


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