Oct. 5, 2013
By: @BrandonMellor, Seminoles.com Managing Editor
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Playing with a chip on its shoulder, No. 8 Florida State's defense delivered whistle-to-whistle sustained blows to No. 25 Maryland in a 63-0 win at Doak Campbell Stadium -- an outcome that tied the college football record for most lopsided victory ever over a ranked team.
As the score would indicate, the previously untested Terrapins (4-1, 0-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) couldn't do anything against an FSU (5-0, 3-0) defense that had to listen to a week's worth of negative fan and media chatter in the wake of its subpar performance at Boston College last weekend.
After allowing the Eagles to generate nearly 400 yards of offense in the come-from-behind win, the 'Noles held Maryland and its 18th-ranked offense to just 234 total yards -- including a paltry 33 on the ground.
"We had to play with that way, man," FSU redshirt senior defensive tackle Jacobbi McDaniel said. "As a defensive player you can't play soft no matter what. We came out with a chip; we heard the doubters. Florida State football is based on defense and we know as a group we had to come out and prove ourselves and show the offense that we are there for those guys."
McDaniel, who knocked Maryland starter C.J. Brown out of the game for good with a vicious blast to the quarterback's chest in the second quarter, and the FSU defense held the Terps to just 2-of-15 on third-down conversions and just nine total first downs. Maryland managed just 4.1 yards per play in what was the final meeting between the two programs as conference foes before the Terrapins shuffle off to the Big Ten next year.
Speedy wide receiver Stefon Diggs, who came into the game averaging 100 yards receiving per contest, was held to just 24 yards, too.
"The defense I thought was the story of the day -- and the special teams," FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said. "I thought they really took the show. They dominated from start to finish against some great some skills guys. ... They have a great scheme and I thought our guys covered well, rushed well, we pressured the quarterback, we hit them with great leverage on the football and tackled well."
The Terrapins didn't tackle 'Noles quarterback Jameis Winston so well when the redshirt freshman made yet another Sportcenter Top-10 play on this 12-yard touchdown throw to Nick O'Leary in the third quarter.
Like he did at Boston College when he shucked would-be sackers to launch a 55-yard Kenny Shaw touchdown, Winston slid his way from underneath Maryland defenders for the memorable score. So while the defense was delivering its blows, Winston was throwing haymakers en route to a 23-of-32 for a career-high 393 yards and a career-high five touchdowns performance.
As an offense, Florida State racked up 614 total yards and picked up 33 first downs while churning out 7.5 yards per play with no turnovers.
Devonta Freeman ran for 63 yards a score, Karlos Williams added two more touchdown runs and Rashad Greene grabbed four catches for 108 yards. Shaw also added 96 yards on five catches with a touchdown to bring his season total to 463 yards and Kelvin Benjamin snatched two touchdown catches and 60 yards.
O'Leary also finished with two touchdown catches for an offense that excelled at spreading the football around.
"It's fun when you look at the [stats] and everybody is contributing," Shaw said. "That's what I like, is to see everybody doing well."
Speaking of doing things well, the Seminoles once again were terrific in the final moments before halftime and the first few minutes after the break. For the fifth consecutive game, FSU scored on its final possession of the first half and on its first possession of the second.
The 'Noles now head into the bye week with the Death Valley showdown against No. 3 Clemson looming. If the Tigers can get past Syracuse Saturday and then Boston College next weekend, the top-10 matchup could very well be an ESPN Gameday destination.
"We've got to take this off week to get better," Fisher said. "Get fundamentally better, work on some of our future opponents with some things we are going to do and get ready to get on the stretch of seven straight without an off week.
"... But I'm proud of where we are at so far and we have done what we were supposed to have done and put us in position to play some good ballgames."