Taking Back the Patch

From quarterback Christian Ponder to running backs Ty Jones and Lonnie Pryor, the Seminoles ran roughshod over the Cougars for 512 total yards (313 on the ground) and converted 12-of-15 third downs in LaVell Edwards Stadium last year. However, the domination over the Cougars' home turf didn't end there.

When Cougar cornerback Corby Eason was playing high school football at Carver High School in Georgia, his favorite team wasn't the Georgia Bulldogs or Georgia Tech. It was Florida State.

"I loved that team and wanted to go there out of high school," said Eason. "Being a cornerback in high school, Deion Sanders was one of my all-time favorite players. I tried to follow in Deion's footsteps. He was the Florida State guy and I used to love Florida State over Georgia, Georgia Tech, and they were just my team growing up. Now I get to play against those guys in their own stadium. I know how hostile it is, and having the chance to go down there is going to be a wonderful experience."

Last year Eason watched the Seminoles put an end to BYU's 18-game winning streak with a 54-28 victory.

"It was hard and at the same time kind of weird," Eason said. "It was kind of weird playing against the team you grew up liking as your favorite team."

It was bad enough that the Seminoles forced five Cougar turnovers, but Christian Ponder also completed 21-of-26 passes and led the Seminole offense to 24 unanswered points during the second and third quarters.

It's bad enough losing a game in one's own stadium in front of one's own fans, but what's even worse is when the visiting team wins by 26 points.

After the game the Seminole team took a chunk of the turf from the field with them, something the Florida State program has traditionally done over the years after winning a big road game.

"They took that grass on top of taking our heart and momentum," said cornerback Brandon Bradley, a Florida native who grew up rooting for the Miami Hurricanes. "It's just like anyone that comes into your house and takes something that doesn't belong to them."

The act of taking out that patch of grass angered a lot of the players.

"Oh definitely, definitely," said Bradley. "That's not even a question. Yeah, it angered me, and if I could have done something I would have. It's just one of those things that when you see it, instant anger. I feel like it adds to that chip on our shoulder going into this game this Saturday. All those that were a part of that loss last year will definitely take that act from last year and use it as additional fuel going into this game on Saturday."

"It was about a four-inch-by-four-inch patch, so it was a pretty big patch of grass they took out," Eason said. "I went to the locker room and I guess they dug it out or something. I don't know how they did it but it was really disrespectful. The next day someone brought that up and when we saw that we were all fired up and didn't want that anymore."

That incident from last year has served as a source of motivation for the Cougars.

"One of the players posted some pictures of it in the locker room," Eason said. "I will never forget that. I will never forget that they took a patch of our grass. That's just disrespectful and there are some things you don't do."

"We're looking forward to it and you can bet we won't back down," said Bradley. "We're going to come out with a full head of steam and that's just us being BYU. I feel like everyone is looking forward to it."

Although the Cougars would never disrespect Bobby Bowden Field by digging up any turf, they feel that coming away with a road win at Doak Campbell Stadium would be symbolic justice.

"Now here is our chance," Bradley said. "I mean, not necessarily saying we're going down there to get revenge the same way because that's just not right, but a chance to take back what was ours with a win, a chance for redemption to protect us, our family and symbolically our home."

"We definitely want to pay them back for the whooping they gave us," said linebacker Jameson Frazier. "You know, it was one of those times when the whole weekend was marred emotionally by the loss, and then you find out after the game during a team meeting the next Monday and you find out that this happened. It just adds insult to injury knowing they took a part of your field because they just beat the crap out of you. We want to go into their house and show them the same respect they showed us, so that's kind of the mindset we have going into this game."

As for Eason, he no longer holds the same feelings for his once-beloved Florida State Seminoles.

"No, I'm happy I'm here at BYU," Eason said. "Everything happens for a reason. Florida State used to be my favorite team, but now BYU is my favorite team. I bleed blue and being here is the best thing that's happened to me in my life. I look forward to going down there and playing them. I want to go down there and redeem ourselves with a win."

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