TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami) – Much has been made of the performance of Florida State Seminoles offense led by quarterback Jameis Winston. But, on Saturday against Clemson, the Seminoles defense was on display and looked ready to tackle any opponent in its path to Pasadena.
Coming into the game, much of the pre-game hype surrounded how well Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd could play in his final matchup with the Seminoles. Clemson was ranked third in the nation and many believed the Tigers could step up and challenge the Seminoles in the ACC.
FSU’s defense proved the players wrong from the opening play until the final seconds ticked off the clock.
Boyd could not get the offense moving at all against the Seminoles’ attacking defense. The Clemson quarterback finished 17-37 for 156 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.
In total, the Noles defense held Clemson to just 326 yards of total offense. For comparison purposes, the Noles ran up 565 yards of total offense against the Tigers.
FSU’s defensive prowess isn’t a surprise to anyone who has been following the squad’s development this season. With the lone exception of a poor performance against Boston College, FSU’s defense hasn’t allowed an opponent to score more than 14 points in 2013.
Overall, FSU is allowing 12.3 points per game, good for third best in the nation. The Seminoles are also giving up just 3.3 yards per carry on running plays and have surrendered just two rushing touchdowns on the season.
Nationally, FSU’s passing defense is allowing just 158 yards per game, second best in the nation behind only Oklahoma. FSU has allowed seven passing touchdowns in 2013, but picked off eight opposing quarterback passes this year.
And FSU is doing it all under a new defensive coach during his first season as the defensive coordinator.
Noles head coach Jimbo Fisher lost his defensive coordinator last year to the University of Kentucky. So, Fisher poached Jeremy Pruitt off the staff of Nick Saban and made him the coordinator. Pruitt adjusted the Noles defense to a 3-4 alignment and then adjusted again after BC scored 34 points. Whatever adjustments Pruitt is making, it’s working and shutting down everyone.
The old adage is offense puts butts in the seats, but defense wins championships. Alabama has proven that adage true over the last few seasons. Now, FSU is making its own impact on defense, while also having one of the most dynamic offenses in the nation.
For the first time since roughly 2000, the Seminoles are running wild in the ACC and appear ready to stake their claim to a spot in the BCS National Championship game with a few more victories.