Florida State didn't play its best in a 30-17 win over South Florida in Tampa, but the 'Noles did enough right in order to earn their first road win of the season. We'll get to the concerns in a minute, but let's begin this weekend's breakdown with one of the strengths of a lackluster offensive performance.
Strength: Greene's TD run
After the Bulls got out to an early three point lead, Florida State used a 60-yard Karlos Williams kick return as the impetus for its first scoring drive. Three offensive plays worked the offense down to the USF 10, then the Seminoles used a wrinkle to get into the end zone.
Little did Jimbo Fisher know that situations around the goal line would be issues, but here is a play that plainly worked.
Notice how fullback Lonnie Pryor makes another trademark block along the perimeter, freeing up Greene in a one-on-one perimeter situation. The maturation of the play sees Greene walking into the end zone, displaying Florida State's innate speed advantage on the perimeter.
Concerns: Short Yardage
Coach Fisher called FSU's shortcomings in the red zone "critical" mistakes. His criticisms surrounded Florida State entering the red zone four times with the 'Noles coming away with just 20 total points.
No situation was more disappointing than a second quarter drive which saw the 'Noles a yard away from paydirt, yet one that yielded only three points. Looking at second and goal and three feet to gain, Fisher decided to go to a perimeter run with Tampa-native James Wilder Jr.; a run that was blown up in the backfield.
After FSU had won, Fisher intimated that a missed assignment from the interior of the offensive line created a breakdown for Wilder to deal with. The naked eye suggests some kind of breakdown did in fact exist.
Plainly speaking, FSU did not exhibit the kind of sound situational play that Fisher constantly calls upon for quality wins. As a result, short yardage and goal line situations will be amongst the most watched scenarios in the coming weeks. Fisher called these situations "blunders", and if the 'Noles were playing a more loaded opponent, they would draw greater attention.
Play of the game: Carradine's strip sack
The Seminole offense totaled 23 points Saturday. A retroactive perspective says that production was enough to win. But no play made FSU more comfortable in the lead than Cornellius Carrdine's strip sack of backup quarterback Matt Floyd.
As time expired in the third quarter, Carradine came off the edge on the strong side to strip the ball from an unsuspecting Floyd inside the USF 20-yard line. Once the ball was loose, all that linebacker Christian Jones had to do was scoop the ball and run it in from 12 yards away.
There is not much to the Carradine play other than to say that USF's left tackle blew the pass coverage. Floyd, in on his first play of the game, was greeted rudely.
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