Quick links:
 Latest Team Rankings
 Free Rivals Alerts
 Member Services
ShopMobileRadio RSSRivals.com Yahoo! Sports

September 7, 2008

ASI Game Insider: Pitching a shutout

Advertising Specialties, Inc.Sponsored by: Advertising Specialties, Inc.

Defense gets its goose-egg (By Derek Redd, Osceola)

The Florida State defense came tantalizingly close last season more than once in scoring a shutout, but teams like Colorado and Duke were able to score late and dash those dreams.

That dream finally came true Saturday in the Seminoles' 69-0 win over Western Carolina, the first FSU shutout since a 33-0 win over Virginia in 2006.

"Even though it was Western Carolina, it feels good to me to put up that goose-egg," defensive tackle Kendrick Stewart said. "That's pretty exciting for the defense.

"The defense played pretty well," he continued. "It was the first game, so we had to work out some of the kinks, but to put up the goose-egg, I'm pretty proud."

The Catamounts reached the Florida State red zone just twice Saturday. WCU got to the FSU 14 in the third quarter but had to settle for a field goal attempt from the 20. WCU kicker Blake Bostic pushed the kick wide right. The Catamounts got to the FSU 18 at the end of the third quarter and were forced to throw an long pass on fourth-and-20 from the FSU 28 that fell incomplete.

Florida State allowed 176 yards of total offense, the lowest total since holding Virginia to 183 in 2006. The Catamounts could muster just 57 yards rushing and completed just 10 of 25 passes. What made the feat more impressive was that the FSU defense was missing several starters and playing a number of freshmen and walk-ons.

But defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews said a shutout was the goal, no matter the personnel.

"That was big," Andrews said. "In today's time, to get a shutout is huge. That was what we expected to do. Now, to go out and follow through with it, we just had to find out. It was just a matter of going through with it. You never know in a situation like that, especially when you're playing a lot of young kids."

Carter's sets tone on punt return (By Derek Redd, Osceola)

Tony Carter has returned just two punts in his FSU career. But that second one was a doozy.

Carter opened the FSU scoring with a 67-yard return for a touchdown against the Catamounts. With about 13 minutes to go in the first quarter, Carter fielded a WCU punt at the Seminoles 33, then weaved through the Western Carolina players for the score.

"It was key for us," Carter said. "I was just trying to go out and do my job and the guys up front did a good job of blocking. I was able to see a crease and take it to the house, and it kind of set the tempo for the game tonight and also for the season."

Carter's only other punt return came in 2006, a 19-yarder.

The last time a Seminole returned a punt for a touchdown was Willie Reid in the 2006 Orange Bowl against Penn State. The last time FSU returned the first punt of the game for a touchdown was November 11, 1995, when Mario Edwards scored on a 24-yard return off a blocked punt against North Carolina. The last time FSU opened the season with a punt return for a touchdown was 1977, on Scott Warren's two-yard return off a block against Southern Mississippi.

Young players make their mark (By Derek Redd, Osceola)

Linebacker Nigel Bradham used to watch FSU sprint out of the tunnel and take the field at Doak Campbell Stadium. On Saturday, he got his first opportunity to do it.

"It was awesome, really awesome," Bradham said. "That was my dream. I finally go the chance to do it."

Bradham was one of 22 true freshmen to play against Western Carolina, the most freshmen to play in one game in the FBS. Arkansas reported the former top number, playing 15.

Bradham, the top-rated linebacker prospect in the country as a high school senior, entered the game at linebacker in the first quarter.

"I was nervous, but I just tried to turn it into adrenaline," he said.

Bradham recorded five tackles, three solo, on Saturday. He said the entire freshman class was anxious to make an immediate contribution to the team.

"We came in pumped," he said. "A lot of us were watching the Alabama-Clemson game and they had a lot of freshmen come into play. And that kind of gave us motivation. The 2008 class is really making a big impact.

Owens shines in first start (By Chris Nee, Warchant.com)

Redshirt junior wide receiver Rod Owens made the most of his first career start on Saturday night. The Jacksonville native pulled in four receptions for 61 yards. He was also the catalyst for the Seminoles first offensive touchdown drive.

Owens and sophomore quarterback Christian Ponder hooked up three times for 50 yards during the second Florida State drive of the second quarter. A completion down to the five yard line set up an Antone Smith touchdown run.

"It was really fun," Owens said of the evening. "I enjoyed myself more than ever because I knew what I was doing and everybody else on the offense knew what they were doing. We were just throwing and catching and having fun out there."

The wide receivers combined for 263 receiving yards on the evening with four different players hauling in a touchdown catch. In Owens opinion, the group can be described in one word.

"Ridiculous," Owens said. "We are really talented. The hardest thing we had to overcome and the smartest thing we did was learn to be coaches. We have so much talent that it comes down to being fundamentally sound."

While some of the offensive output can be attributed to the caliber of opponent the Seminoles faced, Owens believes that the wide receiver output will become a trend this season.

"Today we just showed a little bit of what we can do," Owens said. "I feel like it is going to stay consistent throughout the season."

Offense starts out sluggish then catches fire (By Gene Williams, Warchant.com)

With three weather delays throwing off the start of the game it's no wonder it took the Seminole offense a while to get on track. But once Jimbo Fisher's troops settled down and got into a rhythm there was no stopping them.

Florida State's first three offensive drives resulted in two punts and a missed field goal, which drew some moans and groans from a crowd expecting a blowout. However, the sluggish start didn't last long as FSU scored touchdowns on each of the next nine series.

"It felt like forever before I could get out there and play," quarterback Christian Ponder told Warchant.com. "Once we got on we were a little off, a little out of focus and it showed those first couple drives. But once we got everything going we were pretty unstoppable."

Unstoppable may be an understatement. Not only did FSU post its highest point total since a 72-13 win over Wake Forest in 1995, during the streak of nine straight touchdowns the Seminole offense faced third down just twice.

While the on again, off again start to the opener was frustrating for the coaches and players, offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher sees a silver lining in the team going through Saturday's weather delays.

"Going through this somewhere in the future may pay off," Fisher said. "There may be a big football game that we have where that happens and they (opponent) hasn't been through that scenario before. That's happened to me before a team that won the national championship with. That happened at the beginning of the year, we were all crazy, and then it happened in a big game, the ninth game of the year, and that team hadn't been through it and we jumped on them 21-0... So that can be a positive."

Defensive Stats

Toddrick Verdell: 8 total tackles, 4 solo, 1.5 tackles for loss (loss of 7 yards), 1 PBU.
Kendrick Stewart: 5 total tackles, 4 solo, 1 sack (loss of 2 yards).
Nigel Bradham: 5 total tackles, 3 solo.
Myron Rolle: 5 total tackles, 2 solo.
Jamie Robinson: 5 total tackles, 2 solo, 1 PBU.
Derek Nicholson: 5 total tackles, .5 tackle for loss (loss of 1 yard).
Roosevelt Lawson: 3 total tackles, 3 solo tackles.
Moses McCray: 3 total tackles, 1 tackle for loss.
Rod Roberts: 3 total tackles.
Kenny Ingram: 3 total tackles, 1 sack (loss of 6), one tackle for loss, one PBU.
Vince Williams: 2 total tackles.
Korey Mangum: 2 total tackles, 1 PBU.
Kendall Smith: 2 total tackles.
Everette Brown: 2 total tackles, 1 tackle for loss (loss of 3 yards).
Markus White: 1 tackle.
Ochuko Jenije: 1 tackle.
Jon Johnson: 1 tackle.
Louis Givens: 1 tackle.
Tony Carter: 1 tackle.
Darius McClure: 1 tackle
Jamar Jackson: 1 tackle
Recardo Wright: 1 tackle, .5 sack (loss of 3 yards), 1 tackle for loss, 1 FF, 1 FR.
Nigel Carr: 1 tackle.
Everett Dawkins: 1 tackle.
Benjamin Lampkin: 1 tackle.
Toshman Stevens: 1 tackle, .5 sack (loss of 2 yards), .5 tackle for loss.
Michael Ray Garvin: 1 PBU


Talk about it on the Football Message Board or on the Tribal Council



Florida State NEWS

[More]

Latest Headlines:


 

Rivals.com is your source for: College Football | Football Recruiting | College Basketball | Basketball Recruiting | College Baseball | High School | College Merchandise
Site-specific editorial/photos Warchant.com. All rights reserved. This website is an officially and independently operated source of news and information not affiliated with any school or team.
About | Advertise with Us | Contact | Privacy Policy | About our Ads | Terms of Service | Copyright/IP policy | Yahoo! Sports - NBC Sports Network

Statistical information 2014 STATS LLC All Rights Reserved.