Defensive Letdown

Florida State defensive coordinator <b>Mickey Andrews </b> attributed Saturday's letdown against Maryland to a lack of focus and preparation. Andrews said the team wasn't ready for Maryland to explode on offense the way it did, since the Terrapins had gone three games without showing any signs of snapping their offensive slump. Additionally, missed tackles, missed assignments and injuries were costly.

Florida State's defense wasn't expecting this kind of production out of Maryland.

The Terrapins offense was sluggish coming into Saturday on the heels of a three-game losing skid during which they accumulated 17 points and averaged just over 122 yards per game.

Maryland came out of its shell against the Seminoles, recording 387 yards of total offense. It caught FSU by surprise, and made a defense that looked impenetrable in the past seem vulnerable.

"They looked more like the team from earlier in the season than the previous two weeks," Andrews said in his weekly meeting with The Territory and media members on Monday.

"It was difficult for the kids to imagine they would play at the level they did."

The Seminoles gave up five plays of 20 or more yards in the first half, which led to Maryland points.

A pair of long plays came on one series where receiver Jo Jo Walker ran a 35-yard reverse and QB Joel Statham connected with receiver Vernon Davis for 33 yards before capping the drive with a 1-yard keeper.

It was the first regulation rushing touchdown allowed by FSU, and it snapped a 12-quarter streak where the Seminoles had kept opposing offenses out of the end zone.

FSU's defense improved after halftime, but one of the game's biggest plays was negated shortly after. Following cornerback Antonio Cromartie's interception return for a touchdown in the third quarter, FSU let Maryland tailback Josh Allen scurry 72-yards on a swing pass that negated any momentum.

While a lack of focus, and poor preparation were the biggest factors contributing to this past weekends letdown, Andrews said the team missed too many tackles as well.

The defense cut down on the number of penalties committed, but an offsides called against the ‘Noles set up a Terrapin field goal.

"Normally you beat yourself when you lose. We made enough mistakes that's what happened," Andrews said.

"We reduced the number of penalties we had, but one of them was very costly, it allowed them to kick a field goal."

Injuries also played a part.

The Seminoles have struggled since the start of the regular season schedule to get all of its player healthy for a full week of practice. Additionally, former starting free safety B.J. Ward hasn't been able to make more than a cameo appearance on the field this season, suffering from a multitude of injuries.

"This is the worst I can remember," Andrews said about this year's injuries.

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