Maryland finished with just 33 yards rushing against the Seminoles on Saturday. (AP Photo/Steve Cannon)
Rumors of Florida State’s demise defensively are greatly exaggerated
Coming off of a dismal defensive effort against Boston College, many were left to wonder if Saturday’s date with 25th-ranked Maryland would serve as a major stumbling block for Florida State. The Seminoles had given up nearly 400 yards of total offense and 200 on the ground the previous week against Boston College and Maryland arrived at Doak Campbell Stadium clicking on all cylinders averaging nearly 500 yards of total offense and 227 yards on the ground.
With a dual-threat senior quarterback in C.J. Brown and one of the nation’s most dynamic playmakers in Stefon Diggs, the Terrapins certainly looked to have the firepower to put up points on Florida State’s seemingly vulnerable defense. But despite first-year defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt implementing a new 3-4 look this season, the Seminoles gave Maryland an old school Florida State beatdown on Saturday to the tune of 63-0.
Maryland was held to 234 yards for the entire afternoon and just 33 on the ground for a 1.3 yards-per-carry average. On 13 possessions, Florida State forced Maryland to go three plays and out five times. Florida State held Maryland to a dismal 2-for-15 effort on third down conversions and the Seminoles won the time of possession battle for the first time since the season-opener against Pittsburgh. While Chris Casher collected the only sack of the game for the Seminoles, FSU had seven tackles for loss in the victory as well.
Despite just the one sack, the Florida State pass rush was stellar for most of the day. The Seminoles even knocked Brown, who finished just 6-for-14 passing, out of the game in the second quarter. As a team, Maryland completed less than half (15) of its 32 pass attempts and averaged just over four yards-per-play for the entire game. To add insult to injury, the lone turnover of the game, a fumble by Nigel King on the final play of the third quarter, gave Florida State the football after the Terrapins had converted just their third 3rd down of the day.
With two weeks to prepare for Clemson, Florida State now finds itself ranked sixth in the country and suddenly playing with a lot of confidence defensively. The Seminoles now rank third in the country in fewest points allowed per-game and with the 63-0 victory, have now pitched at least one shutout in four straight seasons. One week after being pushed around by Boston College, the Seminoles have dramatically turned things around defensively and with the third-ranked Tigers upcoming, the turnaround could not have come at a better time. When all is said and done, Florida State’s defensive effort against Boston College just over a week ago could serve as a huge blessing in disguise.
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