Breaking Out

Florida State's run defense has founds its way to the top of the nation after holding Virginia to 20 yards on the ground this past Saturday. Much of their success has been due to the play of the Seminoles line backing core, in particular Ernie Sims. Sims had a career night against the Cavaliers and Defensive Coordinator Mickey Andrews said he'd seen nothing like it. Linebackers Coach Kevin Steele says it's just the start of things.

Before the match-up with Virginia, Florida State Linebackers Coach Kevin Steele felt that something big was on the way from linebacker Ernie Sims.

It was just a matter of time.

Since Sims played weak side linebacker last season, the first few games of this season were spent simply trying to make the adjustment to playing on the strong side, and Sims was making good progress.

"Every week he's gotten better and better. I told someone last week that he was ready to knock it over the top," Steele said.

Saturday, Steele's prediction came true.

Sims recorded nine tackles (3 TFL) and a game-high two quarterback sacks in the 36-3 win over Virginia. Sims also led team with two third down stops, was credited with pressuring the quarterback and blocked a punt out of the end zone in the first quarter to give Florida State a 2-0 lead.

"We want to establish ourselves as the best rush defense in the country, and the best total defense" Sims said.

"I think we pretty much established that this week."

The Seminoles defense is ranked at the top of Division I-A against the run, yielding just 58 yards per game and 1.92 yards per play. FSU is the only team in the nation to keep opponents under two yards per play.

They've also been dominant in the redzone against the ground attack. The lone rushing touchdown allowed by FSU came during the first game of the season when Miami running back Frank Gore scored in overtime.

Florida State's defense had held opponents to a 22 percent conversion rate on third downs and is tied for second with NC State for most sacks (22) in the ACC. FSU is on pace for 44 sacks this season, which would be the most since 2000. Ray Piquion and Eric Moore lead the way in sacks with 2.5 each.

Sims's two sacks swings him in just behind them, along with a host of other players. Sims is third on the team with 36 tackles, behind fellow linebackers A.J. Nicholson and Buster Davis.

"Ain't nobody in the world played better than Ernie did Saturday night," Defensive Coordinator Mickey Andrews said.

"[He earned 76 tomahawk points], we ain't never had that around here."

The accolades don't stop there. Sims (Defensive back) was one of two players named ACC Players of the Week for their performance this past weekend.

WILLIS' PLAY TOP NOTCH

The other player receiving recognition from the ACC was T Ray Willis (Offensive line), who graded a season-best 93 percent and was credited with seven intimidation blocks and five cut blocks. He led an offensive line that kept the pressure off QB Wyatt Sexton and helped Florida State total 470 yards of offense with an average of 7.1 yards per play.

"If you go back and look at the film I really had no pressure," Sexton said.

"I contribute (my performance) to the play of the offensive line. They really let me lock into my receivers."


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