TALLAHASSE – Florida State controlled the line of scrimmage Saturday in bowling over BYU 34-10 in Doak Campbell Stadium, and it was never more apparent than in three straight second-half TD drives by the Seminoles. FSU averaged 6.6 yards per play on offense while limiting BYU to its worst offensive output in seven years, 191 total yards.
The Seminole front seven sacked BYU quarterback Riley Nelson twice and freshman Jake Heaps six times in frustrating the Cougar attack.
“We were able to get the momentum back after halftime,” said FSU coach Jimbo Fisher, who watched BYU drive two straight times in the second quarter for 10 points. “I told our kids in there (during halftime) that they can feel sorry for themselves or go line back up and take control back of the line of scrimmage in the second half and that’s what we were able to do on the defensive line, the offensive line and we were able to eat up some clock.”
Senior quarterback Christian Ponder led the Seminoles with 14 of 21 yards passing for 149 yards while rushing 13 times for 66 yards and a touchdown. Chris Thompson gained 123 yards on nine carries including a second-quarter 83-yard scoring run.
But it was FSU’s defensive stand on BYU’s first possession of the second half that thrilled Fisher. BYU came out after scoring 10-straight points with freshman Jake Heaps and forced a three-and-out. “It was huge,” Fisher said. “That is what we challenged them to do. We want to have a great kickoff, pin them on the twenty and get a three and out and get the momentum of the ballgame back, get a drive and get up. That was our whole goal.”
FSU controlled time of possession 34:06 to BYU’s 25:54 and gained 427 yards on the Cougar defense. After trailing 13-0, BYU took the momentum on two scoring drives worth 10 points, and it started on a kickoff that went out of bounds in the second quarter, giving BYU the ball at the 40.
“All of a sudden they pop a run, we add a late hit and all of a sudden they are in scoring range,” said Fisher. “They score and all of a sudden have the momentum. Momentum goes back and forth. It’s like a boxing match. You get hit and you hit them. They hit us good, but we recovered and battled back and they are a well-coached football team.”