Penalties Subside After Halftime

For the second straight week, little yellow flags had Florida State coaches seeing red.

The Seminoles were whistled for 11 penalties for 98 yards in Saturday's 55-24 win over Duke, nearly eclipsing the century mark for the second time this season. FSU was penalized for 123 yards in its 26-21 loss at Virginia last Saturday.

"We've got to learn to play without the penalties," FSU coach Bobby Bowden said. "Bottom line. We're going to have to improve on that."

The secondary, again, was a focal point on Saturday – mistakes by starters Gerard Ross and Tony Carter got true freshman Michael Ray Garvin an elongated look when top substitute J.R. Bryant faltered, as well.

Bryant was called for pass interference on consecutive second-quarter plays that set the Blue Devils up on the FSU 15. Duke found the end zone for its first touchdown four plays later.

On offense, the line was called for three false starts and twice for holding. Even sixth-year senior center David Castillo got into the act when he shuddered on a snap.

"I'm a senior and I've been here forever," Castillo said. "There's no excuse for doing something like that. We just have to work on our focus and discipline out there."

The good news was that FSU was penalized just twice after halftime. An impassioned locker room plea from the coaches, Castillo said, had something to do with that.

"We took a step in the right direction," Castillo said. "Now we have to keep it going."

Not quite as disconcerting were a pair of illegal blocks on offense and a questionable late hit by Kyler Hall on Duke quarterback Zach Asack. Pinpoint style of play as the culprit for those transgressions.

"A lot of times when you play aggressive, you get penalties trying to make things happen," FSU linebacker A.J. Nicholson said. "You have to live with those sometimes.

"But we know we can't win games when you make that many penalties. We know we're going to have to correct that if we want to win more football games."

The Seminoles season-low came Sept. 17 at Boston College, when they were called for just three fouls.

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