QB Christian Ponder: 14-21 for 149 yards, 1/0
RB Chris Thompson: 9-123, 1 TD
RB Ty Jones: 15-95, 1 TD (another TD receiving)
WR Bert Reed: 9-89
WR Willie Haulstead: 1-34
WR Rodney Smith: 2-18
WR Taiwan Easterling: 1-6
Florida State started slowly in this one. On the first possession they faced a 3rd and one and Jermaine Thomas was stopped for a loss of four forcing a punt. On the second possession a Ponder scramble for 15 yards was followed by a 22 yard hook-up to Reed and we were inside the 25. Two plays later Reed coughed it up and BYU recovered.
We went right back to Reed to open the third drive for a nice 20 yard gain to the 50. Including a scramble by Ponder, FSU ran the ball seven straight times setting up a 3rd and 5 from the BYU eight yard line. An incomplete pass forced a Dustin Hopkins field goal. Quality drive, but we did not close the deal.
A Xavier Rhodes interception set the offense up at the our own 48, but we were unable to do anything with it. Ponder was sacked on first down which put us in a negative situation for down and distance. Once again the defense set the offense up after Brandon Jenkins forced a fumble by Riley Nelson that was recovered by Markus White. An illegal block on second down(15 yarder) doomed this drive and Hopkins hit his second field goal of the day.
Chris Thompson was the next drive as he went 83 yards untouched on the first play. It was the biggest play of his young FSU career. The next possession was another three and out after we failed(again) to convert on 3rd and 2.
First Half Analysis: It certainly was not the bounce back we were looking for, but it was not as bad as it appeared. We moved the ball, established a running game, but failed to convert a few short third downs and had the costly turnover by Reed. Thompson's play kept this half from being a disaster points wise(as we had good field position).
FSU responded on their first possession of the second half with a 14 play, 63 yard touchdown drive. An eight yard hook-up to Reed on 3rd and 7 along with a 14 yarder to Smith on 3rd and 12 were the two key plays. Ty Jones caught a two yarder from Ponder for the score.
We kept momentum going with a big play, quick strike touchdown late in the third quarter. Thompson ripped off 31 more yards and we got help with a personal foul by BYU after the play. Ponder then found Haulstead for 34 yards down the field. Two plays later Ponder kept it himself and FSU led 27-10.
Another good drive followed, but ended with a rare Hopkins miss from 34 yards. Still it went 13 plays for 58 yards and was highlighted by 42 yards by Jones and a Ponder scramble for 18 yards. A Bjorn Werner sack set us up inside the 10 with 4:13 remaining and while it took four plays, Jones finished it off for another TD.
Second Half Analysis: Obviously much better, we should have scored on every possession. Execution was better and we put some 10+ play drives together.
OVERALL: We are not going to complain with 450+ yards and 34 points. Sure it could have been more points, but the positives far outweigh the negatives offensively on the afternoon.
The emergence of Jones and Thompson today should bode well for the future. As we expected it will be a bit of the hot hand at RB, Thomas will need to step up.
Coach Fisher on RBs:
**"No, we are going to rotate. We are going to play all three guys. We've always said that. Jermaine was playing, Ty was playing and Chris was playing. Chris got in and got hot and made some plays. I have always said that, we have three quality guys that we feel good about and Lonnie too can come back there. We are going to play them, give them all opportunities to play and keep them fresh going into the 4th quarter. He made big plays and took advantage of it. Jermaine played well, he did nothing poorly. We just have three good players."
Haulstead, Smith, and Easterling combined for just four catches......that is not enough. No completions to the Tight End's either. These guys needs to get themselves more involved.
Even without Datko, the offensive line had a strong day, we will continue to expect this unit to get better each week. Henry Orelus filled in admirably.
Coach Fisher on season:
**"It was huge for the season. I told you it was about how they would respond. Like I said in that game last week, our team didn't quit. Our team is learning to fight, fight through adversity, fight through ups and downs and that is football. When you play good football and you play in good leagues and the competition we are playing it is not going to be all roses. You are going to have mistakes and you are going to have things happen but they kept their poise, they kept fighting and they learned something from last week. We took away some lessons from last week. Like I said before, Oklahoma beat us, but they didn't break us. I don't mean that as any disrespect, Oklahoma is a great football team, but out kid's spirit was there, they believed in each other and had fun."
Coach Fisher on ACC starting next week:
**"We need to improve our passing game. We need to clean up some penalties. Be precise in our passing game a little more. We had chances for huge plays today, but we had protection issues break down. We had guys wide open and Christian got hit. Even on 3rd down plays he got up and did that. Our line did a great job, but we got to help out with pass protection. We had a new tackle, Henry Orelus, did a good job stepping in there as a freshman and playing. Like I said during camp, that might win us a game or two. His ability to play with the ones during camp and understanding the level of play."