While the Huskies come out of the MAC, which is known for explosive, high-powered offenses that can light up the scoreboard, they will face their biggest test in Florida State on New Year’s Day.
This season, the Seminoles scored 519 total points and average 39.9 points per game. This is due in part to the big-play ability of Florida State.
The passing game has been where Florida State has been able to go for big plays. Quarterback E.J. Manuel has thrown a pass for more than 40 yards 10 times this season. Manuel connected on his longest touchdown pass of the season with wide receiver Kenny Shaw for 77 yards.
While senior defensive back Demetrius Stone is aware of Florida State’s passing game, he said its running game is just as explosive.
“They have the ability to make big plays in both,” Stone said. “We just have to go out there and limit that to the least amount of big plays as possible or none at all in order to give our team a chance to win.”
Coach Rod Carey is more than aware of the explosiveness of Florida State’s electric offense and knows that to limit their big plays they need to do a good job of tackling.
“I mean, it’s [tackling] really important,” Carey said. “Every team you play, you never want to have a missed tackle. But these guys, if you miss a tackle they can go 80 [yards] on you. So it’s a premium this week.”
A key for the Huskies to keep the Seminoles in check starts with their ability to contain Manuel.
“You gotta keep their quarterback in the pocket,” Carey said. “You gotta keep things in front of you at the same time, you have to challenge them because if you give them too much space, one guy misses and they can go the distance.”
Senior defensive end Sean Progar said the Huskies need to follow their game plan and come up with key tackles.
“We have to be sound,” Progar said. “They’re gonna run the ball and obviously they have athleticism and they can take off if we let them. We have to be in the places we gotta be when we’re supposed to be there and then tackling obviously.
“When the first guy gets there he’s gotta tackle him and everybody else has got to be running there to get him too and we can’t let them break tackles. They got some big backs, some fast backs, wide receivers are big so we just gotta bring them down.”