Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Big Uglies Beautiful for FSU; Offensive, Defensive Lines Pave Way for Win

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Big Uglies Beautiful for FSU; Offensive, Defensive Lines Pave Way for Win

Article excerpt

Byline: BOB THOMAS

TALLAHASSEE -- The most aesthetically pleasing moment Monday night at Doak Campbell Stadium came when the game clock flashed 0:00. Only then could Florida State celebrate its 10-7 victory and the end of a six-game losing streak against Miami.

Only fans of good defense, bad offense and worse special teams could have found true beauty in the game.

It's almost fitting, then, that two of the most important contributions to the Seminoles' victory came from places where the attention is seldom focused -- the offensive and defensive lines.

Those were exactly the spots that had worried FSU coach Bobby Bowden the most.

"I felt like where [Miami] might have us out-manned was 10 senior starters returning on defense and our offense with a freshman quarterback," Bowden said Tuesday. "It was the same defense that didn't allow us a single touchdown last year. That was what I was afraid the biggest mismatch would be."

With what amounted to three new starters -- by virtue of position change or game experience -- a new scheme and the obviously jittery play of redshirt freshman quarterback Drew Weatherford, Bowden should have been concerned.

The Seminoles were hardly dominant up front, though they did create enough creases for tailbacks Leon Washington and Lorenzo Booker to combine for 120 yards on 25 carries. More importantly, it's what they didn't do that might have been most significant.

Not only was Weatherford sacked just once -- compared to FSU's nine sacks of Miami quarterback Kyle Wright -- the line was penalized just three times for 15 yards; one for an illegal receiver downfield and twice for illegal procedure.

Offering a tip of the cap to new line coach Mark McHale's unit, Bowden was pleasantly surprised with the group.

"[Miami] had depth up front, they were big, they were athletic," he said. "I thought in a 60-minute ballgame we at least broke even with them, and I was afraid they might dominate up there."

Dominate is exactly what the Seminoles' defensive front did against a Miami offensive line that returned four starters. Gashed early by Hurricanes' tailback Tyrone Moss, who rushed for 94 of his 102 yards in the first half, they had Miami going backward in the second half. The Hurricanes had minus-29 yards after intermission.

Defensive tackles Brodrick Bunkley and Andre Fluellen combined for five tackles for loss, including three sacks. Their interior push helped spring defensive end Kamerion Wimbley loose for a pair of sacks.

"Our defense, their speed showed up," Bowden said. "They'd make a mistake and recover. I don't know why we got so many sacks. That had as much to do with us winning the game as anything.

"I was wondering if we would get any sacks."

That was an understandable fear, given the Seminoles had managed just two sacks in their previous six losses to the Hurricanes. …

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