Saturday, November 19, 2011
Halftime: FSU 10, Virginia 7
By Heather Dinich
This has been one of the more entertaining games in the ACC today, as Virginia is giving Florida State everything it has, and playing like a contender for the ACC title. Florida State's offense always seems to get a spark when quarterback EJ Manuel plows his way through traffic for a big run, and it happened again on the Noles' scoring drive with a 20-yard gain.
Defensively, Florida State has gotten good pressure on quarterback Michael Rocco, and Brandon Jenkins has sacked him twice. The Hoos will have to do a better job of protecting Rocco in the second half, and can't afford any mental errors from the offensive line against such a tough FSU defense. Rocco has passed the ball well, and Virginia proved in the first half that it can move the ball on Florida State's stingy defense.
If Virginia is going to stay in the Coastal Division race, it has to win this game, but the Cavaliers don't look panicked and aren't playing uptight. They look confident, and have reason to be, but one area they need to continue to be wary of in the second half is Florida State's special teams. Field position, thanks in part to Greg Reid's return ability, and the kicking game are two of the Noles' biggest strengths. FSU proved last weekend against Miami that even if its offense isn't operating at max capacity, it can win games with special teams and defense. Virginia must continue to pass the ball well, but also has to find ways to get its running game going without turning it over in the second half.