FSU Game Analysis: Taylor Surprises Seminoles

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It had been quite awhile since Florida State was in Blacksburg. The Seminoles were in the middle of building one of
college football’s most powerful dynasties under Bobby Bowden while the Hokies were recovering from probation and just
trying to build a competitive program under Frank Beamer. The ‘Noles were led by a QB named Peter Tom Willis, while
the Hokies were led by a young lefty QB named Will Furrer. On that day, it was all FSU. The ‘Noles blocked two punts
and Willis put up huge numbers in an easy 41-7 win over the Hokies.

That was on October 14, 1989. Just 10 weeks earlier and 270 miles to the east, a future Hokie QB was born in Hampton,
Va. Now 18 years later, how fitting was it that Tyrod Taylor would get that monkey off of Frank Beamer’s back and lead
the Hokies to victory over FSU in their return to Lane Stadium?

Fitting indeed. And a little bit surprising. After missing four weeks with an ankle injury, Taylor broke loose for
his best game yet as a college QB, running and passing his way through, over and around the Seminoles with relative
ease. More importantly, Taylor was the trigger man on a number of big plays for the Hokies, and it was the big plays
that made the difference in this game.

While looking ahead to FSU in my analysis
of last week’s Georgia Tech game
, I predicted "a physical battle that will come down to mistakes and big
plays." I am usually not the best prognosticator, but I think I nailed this game pretty well.

This game was as physical as any I can remember — a real slobber-knocker that was determined ultimately by mistakes
and big plays. A simple look at the scoreboard reveals that the ‘Noles had more mistakes while the Hokies made more
big plays:

  • FSU had three turnovers while the Hokies had one. And every one was a big play in the game. FSU’s 3rd quarter
    comeback was triggered by an interception return for a touchdown, while the Hokies 4th quarter dominance was fueled
    by all three of FSU’s turnovers.
  • Offensively, the Hokies had five plays of at least 25 yards, while FSU had just one. The Hokies had four plays of
    over 30 yards, while FSU had none. Every
...