By Maura Sheridan
In a Sunshine State rivalry game, Florida State fended off Miami to bump their record to 5-0. With three ACC wins under their belt, Florida State thus far exceeded expectations for what was proclaimed to be a rebuilding year. Ranked 11th in the latest College Football AP poll, FSU is tied with 5th ranked Clemson holding the best records in the ACC. While Clemson has garnered a lot of national attention, Florida State is not in the really discussion for a College Football Playoff spot. Perhaps they deserve to be. Here’s a look at the strengths and weaknesses of the Seminoles.
Dalvin Cook and CompanyEmbed from Getty Images
On the season Cook has rushed for eight TD’s and 792 yards, already scoring as many TD’s as all of last season. Cook flexed his muscles against Miami, rushing for 222 yards and scoring the game-winning touchdown in the fourth quarter. Averaging nine yards per rush, Cook takes a lot of the pressure away from first year starting quarterback Everett Golson. Golson though, has proved himself as a decent leader on the field. Against the Al Golden’s Hurricanes he completed 25-33 passes with one TD. The offensive line has also been strong keeping the pressure off of Golson and allowing room for Cook’s spectacular runs like his 94 yard TD against Wake Forest.
Pressure SituationsEmbed from Getty Images
The Miami win exposed the problems the ‘Noles on both sides of the ball during pivotal moments. On offense the Golson and company had problems converting in the red zone. FSU failed to get convert a touchdown on four red zone possessions, depending too much on field goal kicker Roberto Aguayo. It’s basic math, six is better then three, and Florida State’s inability to score when so close could be a big problem against strong defenses like Clemson’s. Defensively third downs were also a problem. In the second half alone Charles Kelly’s defense allowed the Hurricanes’ offense to pass the marker on 6-9 third downs. Not making stops in in third down situation’s will give FSU’s opponents momentum and dangerous confidence, as it did to Miami who took a 24-23 lead in the fourth quarter.
Many do not consider Florida State playoff contenders because of the competition they have played so far in the season. They have yet to play a ranked opponent, and still they have barely squeaked by against some of those middle of the pack teams, like Boston College, Wake Forest, and Miami. Florida State’s best chance at silencing the non-believers is against 5th ranked Clemson on November 7th and against 8th ranked Florida in the last game of the season.