Florida State needed a win. More than that, they needed a good showing. The reason for this is hope. The Seminoles needed hope, after last week's loss to Oklahoma, that the season was not lost with one blemish on the record. This was the showing that they, and the fans, wanted.
Florida State had a slow start in the first half before lighting up the scoreboard in the latter part of the game. After two early field goals on drives that should have been touchdowns, one play broke open the margin.
Chris Thompson, the youngest of the running backs who received playing time, made use of his chance in the middle of the second quarter. On one play from the opponent's 17-yard line, Thompson scampered down the left sideline for the first touchdown of the game. It was 13-0.
In the only part of the game that the Florida State defense looked beaten, BYU took advantage and scored 10 points to end the half. However, it was clear that the Seminoles were in control, and needed to continue to manage the game efficiently.
Christian Ponder did not need Heisman numbers to win this one, but he performed with the same quality. On many plays, he created something where the entire play had crumbled. Sometimes he hurdled defenders and picked up crucial first downs with his bursts of speed up the middle.
All in all, though, the game was won where the Cougars have struggled all year—defending the run. Florida State accumulated 278 of the total 427 yards on the ground and three rushing touchdowns. As a team, the Seminoles averaged over six yards per carry. Offensively, it was a masterpiece.
The opposing defense was worn down by the third quarter, and Florida State moved the ball with ease. Bert Reed was Ponder's favorite as he caught nine of the 14 completions for close to 90 yards. On top of that, the Seminoles held the ball for nearly 35 minutes of the game.
Defensively, it was a tremendous leap from last week. The main problem against Oklahoma was wrapping up and tackling. This week, they had very few problems. The defenders were devoted to not allowing any yards after hit or broken tackles. They succeeded.
The secondary was able to cover the wide receivers so well that the defensive line begin to make their presence felt. They got to the quarterback for six sacks and forced the ball out on a few occasions. Bjoern Werner and Everette Dawkins were constantly in the quarterback's face. There was excitement again among the Florida State faithful.
This was the hope that the Seminoles needed entering a stretch to play Miami, North Carolina State, and Boston College in ACC play. For Florida State to maintain winning, they must solidify these basics of defensive tackling and pressure the quarterback on each play. Offensively, they must use their best weapons, the committee of running backs.
Let's hope they can defeat teams as easily as they did BYU.