October 29, 2011

FSU defense forces turnovers in N.C. State win



Coming into Saturday the Florida State defense had forced just six turnovers this season. But on Saturday in 34-0 shutout win over North Carolina State the Seminoles came up with three turnovers.


Vince Williams and Xaveir Rhodes each came up with an interception, and Timmy Jernigan recovered a fumble.


In addition to the three turnovers, FSU held the Wolfpack to just 166 yards of total offense, and 36 yards rushing.



"It was great. Get a couple balls that bounced up and went our way and I thought, oh lord almighty, I was looking for lightning bolts to come down and get us," head coach Jimbo Fisher said of the turnovers. "But it happens like that. You just gotta keep playing hard football and sound football and making the smart play and those things will eventually start to come your way."


The first of the three turnovers came late in the second quarter when Rhodes intercepted Wolfpack quarterback Mike Glennon at the FSU 26-yard line. It wasn't just Rhodes' first pick of the year, but the first pick for an FSU cornerback the entire season.


"It felt good to get that first interception of the season," Rhodes said after the game. "I really thought after a while I wasn't going to get one. I really didn't doubt myself, but I've just been working on it and one's going to come I've just got to have patience."


In the third quarter FSU came away with its second turnover when Christian Jones, who had a team-high 9 tackles, forced a fumble which Jernigan recovered.


The third turnover came in the final quarter as defensive tackle Everett Dawkins tipped Glennon's pass into Williams' hand.


"It was actually just a lucky bounce," Williams said of the pick. "I looked up and was like 'Oh ball!' So I just tried to go get it. Fortunately I caught it before (Anthony McCloud) caught it."


Glennon was harassed all game long as the defense came up with four sacks and four quarterback hurries, and was obviously affected by the pressure as the game went on.


"They stay after you," NC State head coach Tom O'Brien said the FSU defense. "We didn't give our quarterback enough time to throw. We didn't protect him well enough and it got to him a little bit I think."


Glennon finished the game 19 of 34 for 130 yards with two interceptions. The Wolfpack's longest play from scrimmage was for 17 yards.


The shutout was the Seminole defense's second of the year. They shut out Louisiana-Monroe also 34-0 in the season opener.


"We were putting pressure, we were able to stop the run and we were able to cover and then make that ball come out," Fisher said of the defense. "We had them out of position and I think we're getting better and better."


Receivers share the wealth (by Alexis Schulman)


Led by Greg Dent with three receptions for 70 yards, the FSU receiving corps had a big day against NC State. Eight receivers combined for 321 passing yards on the day.



Dent's touchdown and key receptions came late in the fourth quarter, but sealed the deal for the 'Noles. "I was really proud of Greg Dent-went out and made two big plays-double move against a very good corner and then beat 'em again on a double move and caught a pass over his head and was able to seal the game," Jimbo Fisher said after the game.


Kenny Shaw led the receiving corps in number of receptions, with seven on the day for 57 yards, one of which was a 20-yard touchdown reception. Bert Reed had five receptions for 49 yards.


Fisher talked about what a difference it makes to have a "program and a team where you can interchange guys," saying, "When Rodney (Smith) was playing really well and then was struggling a little in the second half and Greg Dent could go in there for him and play-Kenny Shaw, Bert, everybody was making plays. To me that's a good thing because on defense, if all your balls are going to the same guy or two, that's (a problem)."


The running backs got in on the action as well. Jermaine Thomas had five receptions for 53 yards and Devonta Freeman caught one for 17 yards.


Bert Reed, who said he finally felt 100% again, talked about the importance of a deep and diversified receiving corps.


"It shows us that everybody has a role and whatever it is, play it to the best of your ability," Reed said. "And when opportunities do come your way, you try to make them. I'm really proud of our set because we worked hard and we rotate in practice a lot so it's good to see everybody get a shot and everybody get some balls thrown their way.


"I think the big thing we did was that everybody made the play when the ball came their way and just made the play. That's something this receiver set is doing is that we're becoming more consistent."


The receivers showcased a well-roundedness in not only making the big plays for big yards, but in throwing the block at essential times. Rodney Smith made a crucial block on a big rush by Thomas.


"Rodney saw the play developing…and Jermaine saw Rodney come his way and he (Smith) made a big block," said Reed, "and that's something that we just put in some extra effort and put it all on the line for the team and he made a big play right there."


The receivers are used to working a spread offense, as it is something they do in practice. They don't look at it like a competition for receptions.


"It's not at all competitive," Shaw said. "It's just that we know that whoever is in, young or old, that they're gonna make the play. And it's good having a lot of depth."


Notables


  • After taking a number of hits while running the option, EJ Manuel was slow to get up. After the game Fisher said it wasn't related to the shoulder injury he suffered earlier in the year, but that he had the wind knocked out of him.


  • With 48 yards rushing, senior running back Jermaine Thomas became the 13th Seminole in school history to go over 2,000 career yard rushing.


  • Nick O'Leary's 25 yard reception was the longest of the true freshman's career.






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