Crunch Time: Key Factors For BYU-Florida State

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Crunch Time:  Key Factors For BYU-Florida State
(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Is this really a big game? 

BYU thinks so.  The Florida State Seminoles enter Provo as a BCS conference player- an until the turn of the century- perennial champion.  Florida State owned the 90's.  Of course the tables have turned lately. 

The Seminoles lost a classic heart-breaker to Miami at home and last week struggled against Jacksonville State.  Yes, Jacksonville State.

But BYU has something to prove.  The team coming into town legitimizes the Cougars' ranking and could provide another BCS-conference takedown this year, regardless of Florida State's performance in the last 2 weeks. 

Again, the Florida State Seminoles are a has-been.  They have struggled for a number of years now.  Things were looking up in game 1 against rival Miami, but soon were lost in thrilling fashion. 

Florida State wants respect- not just from polls and Sportscenter, but for themselves.  Knocking off a top-10 team at their house would do a lot for their season, even if it is a non-BCS team.

At this point, the Seminoles have to look at this game in Provo as a critical point in their season.  It is a must-win.

What does each team have to do?

BYU

1) Run the ball with power

Florida State is faster, man-for-man, but BYU is bigger on the offensive line and has proven to be bruising in the running game.

2) Spread the field and hit your big men.

Tight ends Andrew George and the incomparable Dennis Pita put the hurt on secondaries.  They should match up well on a smaller FSU secondary.

3) Get rid of the ball quickly

FSU is fast, and the Seminole pass rush might pose some problems for BYU.  Max Hall needs to make quick, smart reads and either get rid of the ball on time or throw it away.

4) Stuff the run, pressure the pass

Oklahoma had a difficult time with the BYU zone blitz.  BYU can control the pass game through similar pressure as well as plug the running lanes.

Florida State

1) Spread and shred

QB Christian Ponder is a legitimate dual-threat, though he is a pocket passer first.  He should be able to get some open receivers, and if not, he needs to turn it loose on the run.

2) Establish the run

BYU is not excellent against the run.  There is some work to be done on the ground.

3) Possession

Florida State ought to try and control the ball, restricting turnovers and eating clock.  Make BYU try to outscore you quickly rather than methodically.

4) Stuff the run

FSU must challenge BYU's run game first.  They have enough speed to play run and then drop into passing zones.  Get Max Hall throwing too much and you'll get some turnovers.

It should be an interesting game.  Its been 10 years since the last time these teams met, and the circumstances couldn't be more different.  Look for these two teams to play with urgency.  Don't tell them this isn't a big game.

Outcome:  BYU 34- FSU 24  

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