Florida State reached 25 straight wins with a very sloppy 34-20 victory over Virginia. The Seminoles and Cavaliers both turned the ball over three times, and each turnover lead to touchdowns for the opposite team. Jameis threw two interceptions in the first quarter. The first was a product of freshman receiver Travis Rudolph stopping his route, which led to a defender being in an area where he shouldn’t have been. Winston forcing the ball into Nick O’Leary, even when he is covered, caused the second interception. He’s done that all year and it has cost him the last few games.
The running backs were not great, but they got the job done. Williams and Cook combined for 106 yards on 32 carries for a 3.3 average. The offensive line did not block well and it prevented either back from getting into a rhythm. Cook left the game in the third quarter with an apparent right leg injury. He was not able to put any pressure on it when he was being helped off the field. Williams was excellent in short yardage scoring two touchdowns of three yards or less. Florida State has been excellent in that department all season, but I was expecting more after gashing the Louisville defense last week.
The receivers, outside of Rashad Greene, were not good. Bobo Wilson had two drops that killed drives, Rudolph caused an interception, and Lane ran the wrong route on a third down play that ended a drive. They were much better later, but the early struggles need to end. Greene, as always, was fantastic. He had a career high 13 catches for 136 and a touchdown. He is always in the right position and is arguably the best receiver in all of college football. Florida State will miss him greatly in 2015.
The offensive line did not play well. Jameis was on his back way too many times and was under pressure all night. He got a little gun shy and was not stepping into his throws fully. Hoefeld was hurt for most of the game and Cam Erving was playing with a huge brace on his arm. It’s an extremely banged up unit, and the loss of Austin Barron has been huge. Hopefully he can return this season because Hoefeld needs more time to develop.
The defense was good tonight. If they didn’t give up the touchdowns right after the turnovers it would have been the best performance of the year. They allowed 37 yards rushing and 257 yards total while forcing three turnovers. Mario Edwards was incredible tonight. He was constantly in the backfield and had a sack, a forced fumble, 4 tackles for loss, and 9 tackles. The rest of the defensive line and linebackers were average. Reggie Northrup and Terrance Smith both had 5 tackles to lead the linebackers.
The defensive backs were a mixed bag. Jalen Ramsey had a sack and 2 tackles for loss. Tyler Hunter had a sack, and P.J. Williams had a sack and 2 tackles for loss. Williams also gave up two touchdowns. Darby gave up the other Virginia touchdown and dropped two interceptions. One would have gone for a touchdown. PJ has been thrown at all year long and is not playing anywhere near his 2013 level. He’s going to be tested again this upcoming weekend against a much-improved Miami passing attack.
What can you say about Cason Beatty? Once the most reviled player on the Florida State football team, he has been great for the past few games. Tonight he hit a career long 67-yard punt. That is tied for the longest punt in the ACC this season. Roberto Aguayo hit two field goals and got back on track after his miss against Louisville.
This team has won 25 straight, but it hasn’t always been pretty. That doesn’t matter. Winning is winning. Enjoy it while it lasts because streaks like these don’t come around very often.