FSU’s rout not without cost, as 3 D-linemen go down with injuries

Citadel Bulldogs quarterback Aaron Miller (12) gets sacked by Florida State Seminoles defensive back Jalen Ramsey (8) for a loss during the third quarter.

John David Mercer/John David Mercer-USA TODAY Spor

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — With Clemson coming to town in two weeks, the top priority for the Florida State Seminoles against an undersized and overmatched Citadel Bulldogs team on Saturday was to keep players healthy.

It didn’t go according to plan.

FSU took care of the Bulldogs, 37-12, but the victory came at a cost as three Florida State defensive linemen left the game with lower leg injuries due to the cut-blocking scheme The Citadel employs in its triple-option attack.

"When you play these kinds of teams [triple-option offenses] they’re constantly cutting those knees and ankles," Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher said. "Those guys that cut and chop like this, it’s crazy. I’d rather play more conventional teams."

Starters Eddie Goldman and Nile Lawrence-Stample, as well as Justin Shanks, left the game and did not return.

Goldman, seen in a boot and crutches postgame, went down in the first half and had to be helped off the field. He not only stands 6-foot-4 and weighs 320 pounds, but as a junior he is one of the most experienced defensive linemen on the roster. If he’s out for an extended period of time, it will have a ripple effect throughout the entire Florida State defense.

"He’s a threat to O-linemen, so obviously they wanna double team him," junior linebacker Reggie Northrup said about Goldman. "That frees me up to go make plays."

Fellow defensive lineman Derrick Mitchell Jr. made it through the game without injury and knew he needed to step up after seeing his teammates go down.

"I wasn’t going to go out there and play conservatively," Mitchell said. "I feel like when you do try and play conservative because of things like that, that’s when you get those injuries."

If these injuries are significant, FSU will call on reserves redshirt junior Giorgio Newberry and freshmen Demarcus Christmas and Derrick Nnadi. For many teams this would be a difficult transition, but No. 1 Florida State might be alright.

"I feel like coach Odell Haggins and coach Sal Sunseri do a good job distributing the reps among the first and second string," Mitchell said. "We all just rotate, first and second string, no matter what."

The bye week can’t come at a better time, as Florida State will hope it’s enough time for Goldman, Lawrence-Stample and Shanks to heal before their big ACC matchup on Sept. 20.

"Now we’ve got two weeks to get ready for Clemson," Northrup said. "With the bye week, we’ll continue to practice hard and make sure that we’re concrete on what we’re going to do against Clemson."