In accomplishing the same feat at home against the Cavaliers Saturday , FSU achieved the first shutout inside Doak Campbell Stadium since 2000 when they beat Louisville 31-0. It was also the first shutout posted over a conference foe since a 48-0 victory against Clemson in 1998.
"I was in high school the last time we did that," FSU cornerback Tony Carter joked in reference to the shutout drought.
Defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews was also able to laugh about it.
"We just quit counting it's been so long," he said.
But in all seriousness, holding Virginia scoreless is made particularly special considering how battered the FSU defense is at this point in the season.
Already missing four linebackers (three for the remainder of the season), a former starting safety and two former starting defensive tackles, the amount of young and inexperienced players being asked to contribute significant minutes. Safety Darius McClure and linebacker Rodney Gallon were injured in the game, too.
True freshman defensive end Kevin McNeil played a key role in holding the Cavaliers to just 183 net yards. The Georgia native posted 2 sacks and 2 1/2 tackles for loss. Sophomore cornerback Michael Ray Garvin and true freshman rover Myron Rolle both recorded nine tackles – good enough for most on the team along with veterans Buster Davis and Lawrence Timmons.
The defense posted season-high six sacks total.
Redshirt freshman defensive end Eli Charles, a walk-on, blocked a punt that set up a one-yard scoring drive.
"We played a complete game. Our whole defense played well from the old guys to the young guys … I was so happy to get the shutout," Rolle said.
"These young kids are learning how to fight," Andrews said. "We're not there yet but we're getting better; we're competing."
The special teams, which was responsible for several miscues leading to short opposing scoring drives in the loss to Maryland a week ago, avoided making the same mistakes against UVA.
"Anytime you get a shutout it's not just what you do defensively," Andrews said. "Your kicking game has go to be a part of it and your offense has got to be a part of it. We weren't put in bad field position but once or twice today."
With three games remaining in the regular season and FSU fighting for a bowl-bid, the question now remains can they keep it up?
Entering the game, FSU was giving up an average of 20 points per contest. Andrews has sad that it's always been a standard within the program that the defense makes it a goal of holding opponent to no more than 15 points.
"Growing up I always used to see Florida State defenses just run all over other teams, getting shutouts, getting turnovers," Timmons said.
FSU posts first shutout since '03 in 33-0 win
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