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Three Up, Three Down: Florida State

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It wasn’t pretty, and it wasn’t without losses, but we came away victorious, bowl eligible, and having vanquished a team that has our number.

Florida State v Wake Forest Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

The Ups

The Kicking Unit. Holy crap, Nick Sciba. I don’t care that they were all short field goals, this dude has broken the school record for consecutive makes without a miss, and for Sciba, Dom Maggio, and Dayton Diemel to hit five field goals without even a hint of drama in those conditions is tremendous and worthy of commendation.

Clutch Plays From A Lot Of Guys. In particular, Kendall Hinton, Sage Surratt, and Cade Carney all had absolutely massive plays on the offensive end. Cade managed to convert one key third down on a 3rd and 10 that I still don’t know how he managed. It wasn’t a banner game for Cade overall, but man oh man, you talk about a will to win and putting the team on your back, several guys showed that kind of energy tonight.

Doing A Pretty Good Job Containing Cam Akers. Listen, it seems crazy to say that a guy who got 5.2 yards per carry was contained, but when you consider the running back in question and the fact that the weather was tailor-made for Akers to just punish the Deacs and feast, I’d still call it an overall victory. While I’m at it, the defense as a whole deserves props for holding Florida State to 20 points considering the only other team to hold FSU under 21 this season was Clemson.

The Downs

Red Zone Offense. Six trips, one touchdown. That’s brutally bad. We got yardage, just didnt finish. That needs to change, full stop. Hopefully either Jamie Newman comes back and/or the offensive staff works to modify the playcalling to make Sam Hartman more comfortable and successful near the end zone. With Wake’s typical production, this game is a blowout.

Injuries, One In Particular. Justin Strnad went down with a bicep injury, and from what I’m hearing, the prognosis isn’t great. Preparing for the worst, this team needs other guys to step up. We’re not totally devoid of depth in the linebacking corps, and maybe, just maybe, if Justin does go down, that will light a fire under this defensive unit in a way not many other things can. Next man up, guys. Do it for Justin. He’s been key in this absolutely amazing season so far, so keep fighting. That sjmple.

Me. I gave up on them. I really did. And I should be ashamed of myself. Dave Clawson has shown, time and time again, with so many different sets of personnel, his teams never ever give up and they often win in the clutch. I mean for god’s sake, we almost beat Louisville last week in that utter madhouse of a game, and they could have folded so many times. As God as my witness I’m going to endeavor to have more faith in this program, because from coaches to players, to a man they’ve earned it.

The Bottom Line

6-1, a couple plays away from 7-0, and likely back into the top 25 as #25 Washington, #22 Missouri, and #14 Boise State, who just dropped a game to 2-4 BYU with a walk-on at QB, all found themselves on the losing end this week (not to mention Wisconsin). If we’re not back into the Top 25 this week (we should be) we probably will be if any other upsets happen during the upcoming bye, which is certainly possible.

We’re going bowling, y’all. Only question is where and when. Could we seriously backdoor our way into the Orange Bowl? It’s certainly possible, and given what an utter mess the rest of the conference is, I’d even go so far as to say we’re most likely assuming A) Clemson makes the playoff and B) we don’t have any major collapses the rest of the way. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Get healed up, coach up those reserve linebackers, get hype, hold onto that competitive fire, and get ready to battle NC State.

On to the next. Go Deacs.

—SF