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    Monday, October 06, 2008

    Breaking Up (Passes) Is Hard To Do

    * One of the obvious areas of improvement so far this season has been in third down conversions and red-zone scoring. In 2007, FSU had a 32.16 third down conversion percentage. So far this season, their percentage is 52%. FSU in 2007 had 48 attempts within the red-zone. Of those, the Noles scored 21 TDs for a 43.75% conversion rate. In addition, they scored 18 field goals for a 37.50% conversion rate. So far in 2008,the red- zone TD percentage rate is 68% and all red-zone scores are at 91%.

    * Miami always has been known for having their tight ends involved in the offense in pass plays. Against the Noles, this past Saturday, no Cane tight end had a reception.

    * The close score belies the terrific game played by the FSU defense. Not only did they limit the Canes to 256 total yards (51 rushing), they also stopped Miami on 13 of 15 third-down attempts. Add to that the three interceptions, a pair by cornerback Tony Carter and one by linebacker Dekoda Watson. And for the last stat, they recorded an unbelievable 13 pass breakups, including four by rover Myron Rolle and three by Watson.

    * Field position was definitley not in the Nole's favor in the game. Miami started drives on the Florida State 34, 38, 18, 41 and 4. However, the Hurricanes managed only a pair of field goals and a touchdown on those opportunities.

    * It would be nice if as a Nole fan that I would never hear the name Travis Benjamin again. Unfortunately, the Miami wide receiver and kickoff return man is only a freshman. He had 274 all-purpose yards against the Noles. He scored two touchdowns--one on an 18-yard run and another on a 51-yard pass from running back Graig Cooper. For the game, he had 185 yards on six kickoff returns and caught three passes for 71 yards. His kickoff returns included one of 57 yards and another of 42 yards.

    * Speaking of kickoff returns, did the Nole special teams take a week off after the great day they had against Colorado? Let's hope that this unit gets some extra practice in the bye week.

    * The special teams did have an unsung hero. Lewis Givens had some critical tackles on Travis Benjamin that could have spelled TDS for the Canes.

    * Tony Carter had two interceptions for the game. However, it would have been better if he had only recorded one. He intercepted a Miami pass at the FSU 2 yard line on a 4th and 6 yard play for the Canes. Bat the ball down and we have the ball at the FSU 40 yard line. Instead, we got the ball at our two yard line.

    * Then we have what I think is a questionable call by Fisher. With the ball at our two yard line, Fisher on second down and nine calls for Ponder to attempt a pass from our end zone. Usually bad things happen from your end zone especially when the Canes are doing an all out rush on our QB. Turns out Ponder threw an interception that was returned for a TD.

    *I know I am in the minority on this but Antone Smith doesn't seem capable of making the short yardage when we need it. He is good at running around the end for TDS and his 20 yard TD had a hole large enough for me to run through. However, on crucial one yard plays, he failed to make the first down with what I would call less than full effort. I don't think he is nearly as physical as we need in a running back. Warrick Dunn he is not. I think Jermaine Thomas is the real deal and I would have liked to have seen him in the game far more than he was. He carried the ball only twice for 51 yards.

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