DEFENSE. So they gave up a lot of yardage, but honestly considering the level of competition, that was an AMAZING showing. Four turnovers forced, held the Seminoles to 4-12 on third down, and limited Dalvin Cook to a long of 18 with an average of 4.6 YPC, which is a down game for a monster like Cook. That game really could have been a lot uglier than it was, but the defense just wouldn't give in.
Cortez Lewis. Probably the lone major offensive bright spot for the Deacs, Cortez had a monster game. 108 yards on 6 catches for an 18.2 average per catch and a long of 22. That's good stuff. I also want to give a shoutout to Tabari Hines, who nearly had a catch of the year candidate in a clutch situation. The ball hit the ground, but it was close to an absolutely absurd catch. It's clear we remain quite deep at offensive skill positions and there's nothing but good about that.
Essang Bassey. The freshman CB, who if I remember correctly I did a piece about when he committed, had himself one heck of a day. 8 tackles, 7 solo, and 2 pass breakups, as well as a fumble recovery on top of everything else. That's a great stat line, especially for a guy in the secondary, Well done, man. No two ways about that.
Turnovers. As good as our defense was at forcing turnovers, the offense was almost as bad at giving them up. Two picks thrown by John Wolford, and another turnover related to woes snapping the ball. That's just bad times, In a game that ended up this close, that hurts deeply
Offense Not Capitalizing On Opportunities To Score. The fact that we forced 4 turnovers, had 252 yards of offense, a 100+ yard receiver, and only 6 points almost defies explanation. Like, how does that happen? It's baffling to me. We haven't been great at scoring period, but this game was especially egregious. Come on, fellas, finish.
Travis Rudolph Ate Our Lunch. 238 yards receiving. 13 catches. A long of 58, and an 18.3 YPC average. Sometimes things like that are going to happen, and FSU is almost absurdly talented in terms of roster, but good gravy, talk about a guy having his way with our otherwise fairly stout defensive showing.
The Bottom Line
I love this team. I love our coaches. I remain all in on this staff. Mike Elko is one heck of a defensive coordinator, I'd say the best DC we've had since Dean Hood. It was a loss, but we were playing the #14 team in the nation on the road, it was largely a fight the whole way through, and we're 5-2. Not only that, the teams we've beaten largely had a pretty great weekend in terms of showing their stuff. Duke, NC State, and Indiana all took quality teams to the wire, and Syracuse beat ranked Virginia Tech.
Things could be better, but they could be a heck of a lot worse. Let's get healthy over the bye week and take care of business to become bowl eligible against Army on homecoming weekend, shall we? That sounds pretty great to me. On to the next. Go Deacs.