Florida State started conference play by derailing Wake Forest 31-0 behind an aggressive defense. This not only marked the first shut-out of the season for the Seminoles but it was the first one since 2008.
It's always a good sign when your defense shows improvements week in and week out but to post two consecutive games of allowing less than 200 yards, that's just not the same defense I am use to watching.
Mark Stoops has them playing hard but more importantly, believing in themselves and the new zone system. It may not be a defense filled with All-Americans, but it's a unit that's playing like a tight family. They know where one another will be every play, communication is on point, tackling is getting better every snap and they are even leaving the field together. That shows unity and is a great sign for not only the defense but the program as well.
Brandon Jenkins helped add to their nation leading sack total (19), tallying two of the six sacks on the day for the Seminoles. Defensive tackle Jacobbi McDaniel even pulled off an unlikely play for a guy of his stature. He batted a pass in the air and then caught it himself for an interception. It's plays like this that have the defense rolling.
"The shutout is something we've always wanted as a defense," McDaniel added. "We feel like there's many more to come."
For the second week in a row it has taken the better part of three quarters for the offense to get going. Christian Ponder finished with 243 yards and three total touchdowns (2 pass, 1 rush). This marks the first game of the season that he has thrown for over 200 yards.
You have to begin to wonder about Ponder's shoulder though. He is consistently throwing the ball with no authority, not even on the short routes. Everything looks out of sync for him and I'm not sure if the shoulder is causing the problems but you have to think it has something to do with it.
The three-headed monster was solid even though they didn't produce a touchdown. They rushed for 189 yards on 25 carries. Jermaine Thomas, Chris Thompson and Ty Jones have by far been the most consistent group for the Seminoles this season.
Perhaps the only problem I saw during the game was Henry Orelous, the offensive tackle that took over for injured starter Andrew Datko. He was letting guys beat him to easily and on one play he gave up a sack within the five yard-line. The result of the sack was a lost fumble by Ponder. At halftime, Fisher made a change and went with Garrett Faircloth, which proved to be the right decision.
Overall this was a very solid win for the Seminoles, who are still in the process of finding their identity.
Next week the Seminoles will be traveling to take on the Virginia Cavaliers (2-1) who are having a solid start to their season. This will be their first road game in conference play and they can't be caught looking ahead to the Miami game or they will be leaving Virginia with a loss.