Florida State has just held off Oklahoma State in a game that was far closer than almost anyone predicted. The Seminoles came into the game heavily favored, and it looks as if they may have believed the hype a little bit too much. At points FSU looked flat, at others it looked disinterested. But regardless, the Seminoles persevered and were able to open their season with a 37-31 win.
There will be plenty to address in the film-room and at practice this week though.
Perhaps most troubling, the Seminoles showed a legitimate weakness in their defensive interior. You can run it at Florida State this year and until somebody steps up at defensive tackle and can hold the point, teams are going to attack the ‘Noles that way. After Oklahoma State stopped trying to get lateral and started going up-field at FSU, the entire complexion of this game changed. FSU’s defense started out strong, but as it tired and the Cowboys continued to pound it in the middle, more and more started to open up.
The secondary is the strength of this team, but without consistent pressure and the defensive tackles keeping blockers off the linebackers, that might not factor as much as fans think. Florida State will definitely need to look at its defensive front this week and see how it can make adjustments. The loss of Chris Casher — who may be out for a while — could really hurt FSU this year.
Offensively, don’t read too much into Jameis Winston’s struggles tonight. The rapport he is building with his new group of receivers isn’t there yet, but that can start to develop quickly and FSU has a little bit of time to get things where they need to be on that front.
The bigger issue facing the offense right now is the offensive line, which — after one night — looks a bit overrated given how much press it got heading into the season. The run-blocking was a bit shoddy this evening, and Karlos Williams — who was playing with a heavy heart after his grandmother passes this morning — struggled to find space behind the offensive line.
It wasn’t all bad though, Rashad Greene caught 11 passes for 203 yards and a game-sealing touchdown and Mario Pender looked like a revelation when he got touches.
But overall, this was a disappointing evening for Florida State. The Seminoles were heavy favorites but really struggled to put Oklahoma State away. Jimbo Fisher said before this week “don’t eat the cheese,” — as in, don’t buy into everything you’re seeing or hearing — and it’s safe to say FSU may have eaten it this week.
But, this could also be a blessing. A humbling evening like this should focus the Seminoles. Any complacency that was there will be stamped out this week as the coaches drill into the players just how close their mistakes brought them to almost getting upset.
How this game affects the rest of the season remains to be seen — was it a preview of struggles to come or a wake-up call — but FSU is 1-0 and its hopes of going Dallas to Dallas are still alive.
Keep checking back for more analysis and coverage.
Passing: Jameis Winston, 25-40, 370, TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Karlos Williams, 23-66
Receiving: Rashad Greene, 11-203-TD