Sunday, November 18, 2012
3 Up, 3 Down: FSU 41, Maryland 14
By David M. Hale
For the second time in Jimbo Fisher's three years on the job, his Florida State Seminoles are champions of the ACC Atlantic Division, thanks to Saturday's 41-14 win over Maryland.
The running game rebounded, the pass rush dominated, and FSU jumped out to a quick 27-0 lead after dominating the first half. While it didn't require fans to sweat out the finish the way last week's win over Virginia Tech did, there were still some notable performances.
1. Devonta Freeman
It's probably a safe guess that when Freeman's career it Florida State is done, he'll look back at last week's game against Virginia Tech as his worst. Freeman rushed for negative yardage, and he was tackled in the end zone for a safety. What a difference 10 days can make. On Saturday, Freeman dominated, picking up a career-high 148 yards on 16 carries and scored twice. Overall, Florida State's running game rebounded from the fourth-worst rushing performance in school history to contribute 237 yards on the ground against Maryland, which had entered the game as the ACC's second-ranked rushing defense.
2. Cornellius Carradine and Bjoern Werner
Carradine continues to establish himself as FSU's most prolific defensive player, racking up five tackles, including 1.5 for a loss, a sack and a forced fumble against Maryland. On the other side of the line, Werner turned in his best game in weeks, racking up four tackles, two for a loss, 1.5 sacks and a pass break-up -- his seventh this season, tying for the team lead. Overall, Werner and Carradine have combined for 20 sacks and 26 TFLs this season.
3. Dustin Hopkins
The FSU kicker booted two field goals and was once again perfect on extra points. The 11 points moved Hopkins past Boise State's Kyle Brotzman as the NCAA's all-time scoring leader among kickers.
1. The ACC
The conference regular season slate is complete for FSU, and it finished, appropriately enough, with another blowout win. The Seminoles were rarely tested during ACC play this year, averaging better than 40 points per game and allowing just 15 in conference play. While it made for some impressive stats for Florida State, it did nothing for the strength of schedule, and the Seminoles will rely on a top-10 matchup against SEC rival Florida next week to add some cache to their resume.
2. The pass protection
It was an improvement from a week ago when Virginia Tech sacked EJ Manuel five times, but there were still reasons for concern. Maryland racked up three sacks and left Manuel bruised and battered, the latest struggle for the unit on the road. In five road games this season, FSU's line has allowed 16 sacks. In six home games, it's allowed just five.
3. The secondary
OK, this is a bit of a reach, considering that Maryland QB Shawn Petty completed just eight passes all game, but the Terps did manage a few big plays -- including completions of 25, 33 and 42. In FSU's first nine games of the season, the secondary allowed just eight passing plays of at least 25 yards. In the past two games, they’ve given up seven. Against Virginia Tech's Logan Thomas, it was understandable. Against a fifth-string QB, it's worth a mention.