Tense moments were abound in the final moments of Thursday's 28-22 Seminole win. Although there were many developments that added up to the frantic finish, let's first take a look at one aspect of Bud Foster's successful gameplan before breaking down two key moments in the deciding drive.
The Foster gameplan
Hokie defensive coordinator Bud Foster built his gameplan with two key principles: stopping the run and pressuring the quarterback. Foster clearly came to the conclusion that his best shot was to force EJ Manuel to make quick decisions, even if it meant being vulnerable in one-on-one situations. The plan was 40 seconds away from working.
Rushing the passer
Foster mixed up his fronts and pressures, overloading at times and dropping back in other situations. Pictured below is one of the rarer instances that the Hokies dropped seven into coverage, rushing a normal four. Virginia Tech did a nice job affecting the pocket from inside out in this situation, with an interior rusher beating a combination of Josue Matias and Bryan Stork.
To be clear, this is just one of a handful of Virginia Tech sacks. The reasons behind those sacks are varied - sometimes an offensive lineman misses an assignment. Other times the quarterback holds the ball for too long. Overall, Virginia Tech should get at least some credit for affecting Florida State's offense.
The Final Drive
4th and 1: The run that almost wasn't
When Florida State needed a play the most, Jimbo Fisher went to the run play it ran best during the week-plus of preparation. The 'Noles loaded the box with a two-tight-end package, projecting what they were (likely) going to do, and just barely got the job done. James Wilder Jr. ultimately gets the credit on this play for strength and second effort after being initially stopped short, but upon review, the play did not necessarily have to be so difficult.
Look at the screenshot above. Notice that with the FSU offensive line sliding to the right to run block and Lonnie Pryor's position. Pryor is creating a hole between Josue Matias and Stork as the line slides to the right. However, notice Wilder's path. The sophomore instead cuts to what initially appeared to be a hole to Matias' left. That illusion ended up being the contact prior to first down. Wilder ended up salvaging the play with his signature power, but it appears that the play might have occurred with less suspense had he followed Pryor.
Greene's touchdown catch
This play is a bit simpler to break down than the clutter involved in Wilder's run. Greene scores the go-ahead touchdown for two main reasons: a "rub" from Nick O'Leary and athleticism.
First, let's notice the rub route above. Against its last few opponents, FSU linebackers and defensive backs have been fighting against rub or pick routes to free up a crossing receiver. In the final moments of this game, Fisher used the tactic to his benefit with O'Leary setting the stage for Greene. With the space generated against the slot defender, Greene's motor got going. What happened between the 20 and 15-yard lines was just next-level burst from the sophomore receiver.
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