« November 6, 2012 | Main | November 9, 2012 »

4 posts from November 8, 2012

11/08/2012

Rapid Reaction: FSU 28 Virginia Tech 22

Photos-10

Florida State snuck out of Blacksburg with a win after the Hokies gave the Seminoles a serious scare on Thursday night. It took a Rashad Greene touchdown reception on the definitive drive of the game after Virginia Tech went ahead on a safety and a field goal to settle the game for Florida State. 

Things never really got rolling for the Seminole offense, who looked much like last year's squad as it struggled to control the line of scrimmage and establish the run. The 'Noles finished with -15 yards rushing tonight and gave up five sacks. Devonta Freeman also made a mistake trying to pitch a ball out of the endzone that cost FSU a safety and set up a dramatic final six minutes.

Once again FSU struggled on the road, they had issues during all four quarters and were saved by a defense that eventually wore down in the fourth quarter.

But it wasn't all bad, the defensive line– Tank Carradine in particular– was dominant for Florida State. Tyler Hunter had two interceptions including the game-sealing pick with less than a minute left. And despite some of his more questionable decisions EJ Manuel stepped up on the final drive. 

FSU got the ball back with 2:19 left down 22-20 after a safety and a field goal erased their three-point fourth quarter lead. Manuel quickly lead the Seminoles down the field in 8 plays, going 68 yards in 1:39 and culminating with a 39-yard touchdown pass to Rashad Greene. The pass was more Greene being speedy after the catch than anything else, but it was the big play Florida State needed to silence the crowd at Lane Stadium and help the Seminoles escape with the win.

There was a symbolic moment on the drive where on 4th-and-1 James Wilder ripped off a fearsome run, converting on second effort as he brutalized several Virginia Tech defenders. A Hokie left the field hurt and the Seminoles offense seemed energized afterwards. A few plays later they iced it.

Credit the Hokies for playing a great game defensively and giving FSU its best shot. 

I'll have a lot more later on tonight and tomorrow morning, keep posted...

Statistical Leaders:

Passing: EJ Manuel (25-42, 326 3 TD INT)

Rushing: JC Coleman (16-41)

Receiving: Rashad Greene (6-125 2TD)

Halftime: FSU 13 Virginia Tech 10

Photos

It's halftime at Lane Stadium and Florida State's offense may have finally just shown up for the last drive of the first half. Through the first 30 minutes they'd managed to muster just 161 yards, but a 70-yard drive to close out the 2nd quarter gave the Seminoles the late lead at the half.

The defense has been alright, the touchdown they gave up was more a product of being on the field too much than of any major deficiency on their part. The story of this one so far as just been the issues on the offensive end.

For starters, the VT defensive line has controlled the trenches so far and Florida State cannot run the ball. They have tried draws, pro-forms and option and nothing has worked so far, they are at -8 yards for the first half. The pass rush has also been good enough to keep EJ Manuel out of rhythm and keep the Seminole offense from gaining any kind of momentum.

Up until the last drive all the Seminoles had managed was two field goals and 90 yards, but a late TD-drive gave them the 13-10 lead heading into the half. The Seminole offense needs to get settled down and stay calm in the second half though- starting with EJ Manuel. He was 4-4 for 76 yards and the TD to Rashad Greene on the last drive but will need to sustatin that for Florida State to avoid an upset situation.

A lot of football still left to play, but there's some reason for concern amongst Seminoles fans. FSU also struggled with fumbles again in the first half, losing a muffed punt and getting back a fumble at the end of first quarter reception. If the Seminoles want to make it out of Blacksburg 9-1, they'll need to clean it up in the second half.

Statistical Leaders:

Passing: EJ Manuel (10-18, 169, TD, INT)

Rushing: Logan Thomas (3-17)

Receiving: Rashad Greene (4-76, TD)

Pregame: FSU at Virginia Tech

M_lane-stadium
Just about an hour and a half from kickoff between Florida State and Virginia Tech at Lane Stadium. This game is going to be about jumping up early and neutralizing the crowd for the Seminoles. On paper, FSU wins this game, but on a Thursday night in Blacksburg anything is possible and the Hokies could make their entire season with a win like this.

A loss could be equally devestating to them, Virginia Tech is 4-5 and would like to avoid a .500 (or worse season). They will definitely bring their best shot tonight. Florida State on the other hand has not had their A-game for four quarters on the road all year. They'll need it tonight because regardless of the Hokies' record they can pull off the upset.

That's why it will be key for FSU to jump up early and try to knock the crowd out and the Hokies down. If this thing is close late, it could get messy. 

I'll be back with updates and rapid reactions...

Game Capsule:

Seminoles Wary of Virginia Tech's Challenge (Print)

Three Things to Watch For: FSU at VT

Florida State Injury List: Week 10

Time: 7:30

TV: ESPN

Announcers: Rece Davis (Play-by-play), Jesse Palmer (Color), David Pollack (Color), Samantha Steele (Sideline)

Weather: Low 40s-Mid 30's, Clear

Three Things to Watch For: FSU at Virginia Tech

107564258

Florida State is up in Blacksburg tonight for an ACC game against Virginia Tech. Lane Stadium on a Thursday night is daunting, this year's Virginia Tech team has not been.

While Jimbo Fisher and his team are quick to point out what Virginia Tech is capable of– and are right to respect them for it. The facts remain that the Hokies have rarely lived up to that hype this season. QB Logan Thomas has not had the Heisman campaign that many hoped for and the defense is not the swarming force that it is most years.

Florida State hasn't been its typical self on the road this year either though. While the 'Noles have beat teams down at home, they've scraped by on the road, where they are just 2-1 thus far. Lane Stadium is legendary at night, especially on Thursdays. The Hokes rarely lose a game there on Thursday nights, and the way this Seminole team has played on the road they could be primed for an upset.

But that's only if this Hokie team has it in them

Here are three things to watch for...

1.) Logan Thomas' Second Effort

Logan Thomas is bigger than EJ Manuel. All season defenders have bounced off the 'Noles big-bodied QB, his own team has commented how hard he is to bring down and commentators have raved over his size. Well Thomas is bigger. He has good mobility too (as he proved on his long run against the Hurricanes last Thursday) and he can make a team pay on his second effort both with his arm and legs.

It's going to be especially important for the secondary not to give up on the receivers when Thomas scrambles, he can easily throw over their heads if he's not brought down by the pursuit which means the coverage needs to stick. He's a lot like a bigger BJ Daniels and he'll hurt the defense if they don't stay disciplined.

2.) Where's Wilder?

It's going to be cold tonight, it'll start in the 40's and dip into the 30's by the end of the game. This is a good game to get a back going and ride him through the second half and given the frigid conditions and his brutal running style, I think James Wilder should see a good number of carries down the stretch of this one. I expect Lonnie Pryor will be heavily involved too, but Wilder's power and strength should wear down a Hokie unit that can be gashed a little. 

Whether or not the cold affects other phases of the offense remains to be seen. Fact remains the Seminoles receiving corps is comprised of mostly Florida guys with little experience in the cold, it could be a non-factor or the cold could cause some drops and timing issues. Less can go wrong with the run game and down the stretch in hostile conditions having the run game there will be crucial. I think the night sets up well for Wilder.

3.) CanFlorida State Get Some Distance in the first Three Quarters?

If this thing is close in the 4th quarter, watch out. That's when the crowd comes alive, the underdog starts to believe, Jimbo Fisher gets conservative and the Noles have had trouble lately. It would best suit the Seminoles to head into the 4th quarter up by at least two scores, anything closer and the Hokies are within striking distance of an upset.

It sounds obvious, but frankly it's the biggest key to the game. While most of the team will tell you they're excited about playing in Lane Stadium at night, that's early. By the time the crowd is a factor late in the ball game and a win hangs in the balance the novelty will have long worn off. The key to enjoying the experience is taking the crowd out of the game early. Florida State is capable of that, but they haven't done it on the road yet this season.


Archives


Powered by TypePad