Saturday, November 17th, Noon EST, ESPNU
Win and they’re in; that’s what most FSU Seminole fans are thinking about this weekend’s match-up versus Maryland. A win in Maryland will seal our spot representing the Atlantic Division in the ACC Championship. We don’t know who we’ll meet in December, but first we have to leave College Park with a “W” on Saturday!
As Jimbo recently said, “You have to play well to get what you want,” and our FSU Seminoles need to play well on Saturday to set the tone for the next two weeks of grueling football. Playing well needs to start with our offensive line. While I love our boys in garnet and gold, last Thursday in Blacksburg, EJ Manuel was sacked a season high FIVE times and our running game was held to a season low of – 15 yards. We cannot, will not and should not let that happen again! You better believe Florida will be studying the Virginia Tech & NC State game film to see how to stop the Noles offensively, and our boys on the O-line have got to quiet their critics this weekend. Maryland is 16th in the nation in total defense and it won’t exactly be an easy road for the offensive line to protect EJ and open things up for the running backs.
We also need to focus on protecting the ball. Turnovers will kill any team and we are no exception. Ball security by our punt returners and running backs needs to be a HIGH priority along with smart plays by EJ. If you can’t hold on to the ball than you’ll have a hard time winning the game. I’m hoping that Rashad Greene, Kenny Shaw, James Wilder, Jr., Devonta Freeman and Lonnie Pryor have gotten to know their “pigskin companion” better over the last 10 days and have chosen to eat, sleep and go to class carrying a football ala Omar Epps in The Program. With temperatures in the upper 40’s on Saturday, the ball can feel like a brick, but we cannot turn it over and expect to win.
Defensively, we should have a great game Saturday against the former Linebacker turned starting QB, Freshman Shawn Petty. Our game plan should be to stop the run and force Petty to throw the ball against the #1 defense in the NCAA. Let’s test the young QB and see if he can handle the pressure against a big time defense. I would love our defense to make a statement this weekend and show Florida’s backup QB, Jacoby Brissett, what we are capable of and what he could face next Saturday in Tallahassee.
While our odds at playing for the National Championship are slim, we control our own destiny and if we want a shot at the title game in Miami, we have to make plays like a championship team. We can’t rely on last minute drives, freak special teams plays or calls from the officials to go our way; we have to play a solid 60 minutes of football. We are on the verge of a 10 win season and getting a big W against Maryland this Saturday will remind the BCS that FSU is still hanging around and ready to do business!