Rush Defense to be Key for FSU in ACC Championship

Seminoles players gang tackle Florida Quarterback Treon Harris, during their final game of the regular season.
(Photo Credit: Colt Cardwell / The SkyBoat)

Written by Adrian Beecher


Charlotte, NC­ – In the most important matchup of the year so far for the Seminoles, they will be going up against the 3rd best rushing offense in the NCAA, with 4006 total yards on the ground this season. That team being the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, the team that FSU beat back in 2012 to start their 28 game winning streak which will be on the line Saturday night in the 2014 ACC Championship game.

Jackets’ senior running back Zach Lasky and sophomore quarterback Justin Thomas lead the triple option threat in the backfield for Georgia Tech. Laskey has 748 yards rushing with 8 TD’s and a game high coming for him last week against Georgia where he rushed for 140 yards and 3 touchdowns. Thomas has 861 yards rushing with 5 touchdowns on the ground this season.

The Seminoles come into the ACC Championship as the 44th rush defense in the country. The Noles’ defense has given up 200+ yards twice this season, once against FCS opponent, The Citadel (250) and then again near the end of the season to Boston College (240), who now ranks 15th in the country rushing the ball.  They have given up 100+ rushing yards in all but 10 games this season.

However the two games in which FSU was able to hold the team to under 100 rushing yards came to some less than stellar opponents, whom rank in the bottom half of the NCAA. On October 4th this season, FSU was able to hold Wake Forest to just 40 yard on the ground on 39 carries. Wake is 127th in the country in rushing out of 128 total teams.  Their other performance came against the Virginia Cavaliers on November 8th, FSU only gave up 37 rushing yards on 32 carries.

Georgia Tech has been able to do what they please even against the top rush defenses in the country. Georgia Tech faced Virginia, the 21th best rush defense on November 1st, they tallied 268 yards on the ground against the Cavaliers. When they played Clemson on November 15th, whom is currently ranked 7th in the country in rush defense, the Jackets tore through the Tigers defense for 251 yards on the ground.

It’s a true test that will have FSU defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. on his toes throughout the game. Edwards Jr. is currently leading the Noles’ defense with 11 tackles for a loss this season, showing his ability to penetrate around the corners and through the offensive line.

With a win, FSU will all but seal their spot in the inaugural College Football Playoff. Whereas for the Yellow Jackets, it will be a trip to Miami and the Capitol One Orange Bowl and they will put an end to the 28 game win streak that the Seminoles started with a victory over the Jackets in the 2012 ACC Championship game.


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