Noles Keep ACC Hopes Alive

Florida State improved to 8-3 on the year and finished out the ACC schedule with a 30-16 victory at Maryland. At 6-2 in conference FSU will need Maryland to beat North Carolina State next week to have an opportunity at an ACC title.

After an early Florida State punt, Maryland went on the march behind the arm of freshmen quarterback Danny O'Brien. The Terp's made it to the FSU 14 before the Nole defense stiffened and forced a field goal. Maryland held an early 3-0 lead.

The response was swift when on FSU's first offensive play Chris Thompson found a seam and exploded for a 70 yard touchdown run.

Behind a boisterous home crowd Maryland answered with a 13 play, 80 yard drive to tie the game at 10. The story of the drive was the first big play of the game. Early in the series on 3rd and 4 from the Maryland 26, Greg Reid put a big lick on the Maryland WR forcing the ball into the air, Michael Harris caught it and returned it for a score, the Noles were briefly up 16-3....but the referee's ruled that it was "unnecessary roughness". Borderline call.

Christian Ponder answered with a pair of 17 yard completions to Bert Reed. The drive stalled at the Maryland 19 however, and Dustin Hopkins missed the 37 yard field goal.

After forcing a three and out, Ponder was intercepted and Maryland returned it to the FSU 38. Five plays later Maryland re-took the lead on a 32 yard field goal 13-10.

The game's second big play came on a 4th and 16 at the FSU 45 yard line. Head coach Jimbo Fisher went to the bag of tricks as Harris ran for 43 yards on a fake punt to set up a first down at the 12. The Noles were unable to capitalize though after Ponder threw three straight incompletions(all off). Hopkins tied it at 13 with a 30 yard field goal. Half-time.

The normally brilliant Hopkins opened the second half by kicking it out-of-bounds. Maryland drove to the FSU 35, but the savvy FSU defense stopped the Terp's on 4th down. Three plays later FSU gave it back on a fumble and Maryland eventually took the lead on a 32 yard field goal 16-13.

Florida State needed a play and Bert Reed delivered by making his biggest play of 2010; showing rare elusiveness, he scored on a beautiful 44 yard catch and run and FSU was back in front 20-16......this time for good.

While they closed out the game, FSU still struggled to deliver the knockout punch in the 4th quarter.

At the start of the 4th quarter FSU was deep in their own territory at the 17. They put together a nice drive(big play a 19 yard Ponder to Smith completion). The drive stalled at the Maryland 34 and Hopkins missed the kick.

Reid saw luck turn in his favor when he was given an interception when he actually dropped it. It was a bad call. It was still a great play by Reid(would have forced a punt) and that was a glimpse of what he is capable of. Taking over at the Maryland 43, there is 8:18 to go and the Noles have a four point lead. Time to deliver the knockout punch. Nope. FSU could only manage a Hopkins 34 yard field to take a seven point lead at 23-16.

O'Brien drove Maryland to the FSU 19 before Nick Moody made a play. He intercepted a wayward pass on the 4 and returned it for a TD to put it away 30-16.

Good, hard fought conference road win.

Florida State(8-3) will welcome Florida(7-4) to Tallahassee next Saturday.


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