The Seminoles finally have something to be happy about thanks to Dustin Hopkins' 55-yard game-winning field goal against Clemson. It was his career long and gave them a 16-13 win that was much needed after their two recent heartbreaking defeats.
Hopkins missed two fourth-quarter field goal attempts in last week’s game against North Carolina. It was a different story this time around, as he nailed all four field goal attempts in the win over Clemson.
Knowing that your teammates and coaches believe in you on any given kick is definitely something that can calm a kicker’s nerves.
"When I was going out there, some players came up to me and were just reassuring and I knew that they had my back after the miss," Hopkins said. "It was good to know the team was behind me either way."
The stadium erupted after the kick sailed through the uprights. You could even hear the thud from his foot connecting with the football as he attempted the field goal. It sent chills through my spine just watching the team and fans celebrate in excitement after a huge win.
This game was a defensive battle all the way. Both defenses bent but neither of them broke. The only difference was Hopkins didn't miss any of his kicks. A lot of times you hear people say that defense and special teams wins football games and they couldn't have been more right in this battle.
A week after they were destroyed in every asset of the game, the defense rebounded and their play was much stronger. They came up with some key stops and turnovers within their own redzone.
Offensively they were lacking that drive and determination—not to mention they were missing Christian Ponder. So in came EJ Manuel, who actually did a superb job in Ponder's absence. He completed 15 of 24 passes for 210 yards and an interception. His main contribution came on the ground as he led the team with 71 yards rushing and scored the lone FSU touchdown on an eight-yard scamper in the fourth quarter.
Ponder is still the starting QB, but if he can’t go on Saturday at Maryland then Manuel will get another shot at the helm. It is a very comforting feeling to know that Manuel can get the job done as well. Some teams don’t have that luxury of playing a back-up who has any experience, let alone one that has a bowl win under his belt.
Maryland is still in the hunt to play for an ACC title, so that makes this Terrapin team even more dangerous. If FSU beats Maryland and NCST loses to UNC, then FSU is in the ACC title game. If they lose then they have no shot at pursuing their season goal. The NCST game is being played at 12 P.M., so both teams will see the outcome of that game before they even step on the field for warm ups.
No matter the outcome of that game, the Seminoles need to focus on the game at hand and take care of their own business.
In order for them to win this tough road game, the defense will need to bring that tenacity once again and the offense will need to find some type of running game besides Manuel. This time around if they find themselves up early, they need to put the ball game out of reach and finish it instead of allowing Maryland to stick around for another nail-biter of an ending.
Here‘s to a great win, and hopefully another one to come this weekend, Nole fans.
F-L-O-R-I-D-A-S-T-A-T-E FLORIDA STATE FLORIDA STATE FLORIDA STATE WOOO….