Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NCF Nation [Print without images]

Sunday, November 23, 2008
FSU's defense the difference


Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Florida State defensive end Everette Brown held up his index finger, indicating No. 1 as he ran towards the Seminoles' fans in the stands who had lingered in the bitter cold Saturday at Byrd Stadium.

He should have held up three fingers -- one for each sack he made.

Technically, Brown had 3.5 sacks. It was the third time this season he has had at least three sacks in a game, and in the 37-3 win over Maryland, Brown led an aggressive pass rush that frustrated quarterback Chris Turner all night. It was a turnaround performance on defense that was lacking in last week's 27-17 loss to Boston College, and a major reason why Florida State still has a sliver of a chance at playing in the ACC championship game.

 
 James Lang/US Presswire
 Seminoles defensive end Everette Brown brought down Terrapins running back Da'Rel Scott and forced a fumble. Brown also recorded 3.5 sacks.

"That's the way it used to be," Florida State coach Bobby Bowden said of his defense. "That's the way we used to play. I thought we'd forgotten how."

Against Boston College, they did, and it cost them dearly.

Maryland has a similar-sized offensive line as the Eagles, but the Terps paved the way for Brown and Co. They got beat on spin moves, didn't make their blocks and were sloppy on fundamentals. As a result, Turner was sacked six times and FSU had 10 tackles for a loss of 53 yards.

"We did a better job tonight of just attacking, playing Florida State football," Brown said. "We knew they were similar to Boston College coming into the game and if we let them get going, give them momentum, they're a tough offensive line, but tonight we wanted to make sure we attacked and controlled the line of scrimmage up front."

Defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews challenged his defense after the loss to the Eagles, told them they got "pushed around out there" and said they needed to be more physical. He pointed out that they had only scored one touchdown all season, and even that changed against Maryland when Derek Nicholson ran a fumble recovery back 22 yards for a touchdown.

"The kids responded real well," Andrews said. "We felt like they had a blocking scheme that would free our ends up and then maybe a tackle and we got to them several times. Guys doing their jobs."

The Florida State defense has a motto they revert to following a poor performance: "Somebody's gotta pay."

"When we go out there and have a horrible game like we did last week," linebacker Kenny Ingram said, "somebody's gotta pay. We came out there and we played a great defensive game."

Turner was the one who wound up paying most of the night, as he was sacked six times. This has become a trend for FSU, as the Noles did the same thing to Clemson quarterback Cullen Harper.

Turner, who entered the game having thrown just six interceptions all season and not one in his past 123 attempts, had two against FSU.

"He's a player," Turner said of Brown. "He has a pretty good future ahead of him. We game planned for him. We were trying to double team him most of the night. There were a few times where we put our left tackle on an island. Every now and then he's going to get you and he got us a few times."

Six to be exact.

"They definitely got into us a lot tonight," said center Edwin Williams. "I guess we weren't ready. We didn't expect that."