Simply Sims-tacular

Entering his junior campaign, Florida State strong side linebacker Ernie Sims seemed to be a shoe-in to become a household name by the end of the season or perhaps even mid-way through it.

Well, that has already proven to be untrue.

In front of the largest crowd ever inside Doak S. Campbell Stadium and on the television set of the majority of the country – courtesy of the great folks at ABC – the Tallahassee native showed everyone why he may be the nation's top collegiate linebacker.

"I think I played pretty well out there but I always want to keep improving," Sims said. "The defense as whole did great. We kept saying that we just have to do our job and everyone did. We finished every play and we worked hard and the game went our way."

And while guys like Kyler Hall (12 total tackles and 1 interception), Pat Watkins (10 tackles) and Buster Davis (10 tackles) were vital to the Tribe's success Monday night, it was the soft-spoken Sims that acted as the firecracker for his squad.

A fan favorite, every time he was involved in a play or raised his arms to summon some help from the legions of garnet and gold clad fans, the stands shook and the Kyle Wright and the Miami offense consequently struggled.

"I don't ever remember the crowd being so loud," Sims said. "They really helped us out tonight. If we were in Miami it would have been difficult but those fans made it real tough on Miami."

Notching seven total tackles – one of those being for loss – Sims also recorded his first career interception on a pass over the middle. Making the play even more special was the way in which it was caught: one handed and diving.

"It felt good," Sims said. "I can't wait to go home and see how it looked but I kind of wish I had a chance to get up and run for a touchdown. As I was reading the play, I was just trying to put myself in a good situation to block the ball. As I was sliding to the left, though, I just put my hand out there and I just so happened to catch it with one hand. I made sure that I tucked it in so that the referees could see that I caught it."

In addition to his stellar defensive play, the 6-foot, 220 pound All-America candidate almost pulled off an impressive special teams play when he received the ball on a fake punt. Unfortunately, Miami was ready for it and Sims was forced down behind the line of scrimmage before he could gain any yardage.

"We've worked on it quite a bit," Sims said of the tricky play. "We have been constantly determined to run that play in a good situation but it just so happened that the D-end on the right side didn't do what we thought he was going to do. He just stayed there so it was kind of like a busted play. All I could do was make the best of the situation and just hold on to the ball."

Entering the ball game, many predicted (and were correct) that the offense would struggle behind the arm of an inexperienced quarterback. According to Sims, the same concerns felt by Seminole fans and media alike, was felt by the defense – a feeling that only made their job that more important.

"To be honest, we (the defense) kind of figured that offense wasn't going to be very productive at times so we knew that we would have to step up and make some plays," Sims said. "We knew that we would have to try to score a touchdown ourselves."

And while the offense battled with inexperience, the defense did as well with a completely new defensive line and inexperienced cornerbacks. Their play, in a gritty victory that "reversed the curse", can be credited to, according to Sims, one thing: determination.

"The determination that we had on the defensive end was real big," Sims said. "We knew that we had a better defense (than Miami) and we knew that everybody was against us so we really felt like we wanted to go out there and make a statement."


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