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{{ timeAgo('2019-09-16 19:45:58 -0500') }} football Edit

Clark: So what can be done about FSU's fourth-quarter defense? Anything?

If college football games were the same length as college basketball games, not only would Florida State be 3-0 right now and ranked somewhere in the Top 20, but it would boast one of the top scoring defenses in the United States.

I know that might seem crazy to read, because it was pretty bizarre to type. But it's true. If college football games were 40 minutes long instead of 60, the Seminoles would be one of the surprise stories of the early season.

But alas.

Those pesky extra 20 minutes.

The numbers I'm about to share with you are so startling they don't even seem real, but trust me, they are.

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Virginia quarterback Bryce Perkins led three fourth-quarter touchdown drives against the FSU defense on Saturday night.
Virginia quarterback Bryce Perkins led three fourth-quarter touchdown drives against the FSU defense on Saturday night. (AP)

Through three games, FSU opponents are scoring an average of just 12 points per contest through the first 40 minutes. But over the last 20 minutes? That's when things get preposterously bad.

Starting around the five-minute mark of the third quarter, the Seminoles are allowing a whopping 21 points per game.

Opposing offenses have had 12 total drives from that point until the end of regulation against the FSU defense. They've scored 10 times: Eight touchdowns and two field goals. The only two stops came when Louisiana-Monroe punted right before overtime, and when Boise State punted late in the fourth quarter (on the same drive the Broncos converted a 3rd-and-17).

It's not just ugly. It's fugly.

And the question becomes: Why?

Why is the Florida State defense at least competent through most of the first three quarters, but then it turns into an out-manned Pee Wee team over the final 20 minutes?

I have a couple of theories.

First and foremost: They're tired. Which, you know, is still no excuse to turn into an 11-person turnstile, but it's at least an explanation.

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