The Florida State Seminoles celebrated like they'd just won the game. Players celebrated in the end zone by pounding there chests, pointing up into the stands and throwing a few taunts at the defenders they'd just torched on Taiwan Easterling's 47-yard touchdown reception. Their antics brought down a smattering of boos from the stands but not from the group you would suspect.
The Oklahoma Sooner fans had nothing to boo about. Easterling's touchdown pass came in garbage time and it only pulled the Seminoles to within 30 points of the Sooners. All the OU fans had to do at that point was chant, "scoreboard" and trust me, that's exactly what they did. Instead, the boos came from the remaining FSU faithful who were still in the stands and didn't appreciate seeing their team celebrate a meaningless touchdown as time expired.
One thing that I can tell you about Florida State fans is that they love their team and they know their football. We've had a good number of the post here on The Machine over the last week and added excellent commentary. They traveled well and represented their university well on Saturday. I had four FSU fans sitting directly in front of me so you can trust me when I say this, they were sick of what they saw from their team on the field.
They'd seen their star quarterback complete less than 40% of his passes (11 of 28) while also throwing two picks while his OU counterpart completed 75% of his (30 of 40) with four touchdowns. They'd seen Motor Mouth Greg Reid average a less than stellar 0.5 yards per punt return while also getting worked over by Oklahoma's receivers a few times. So you can understand why they weren't as enthusiastic about a garbage time touchdown as the guys on the field.
This may have been the biggest non-conference game played at Oklahoma Memorial Stadium during the Bob Stoops era and while we all knew that the FSU defense was suspect coming into the game it was also the general consensus that the Seminole offense was talented and dangerous. They looked the part too on their opening drive. After falling behind 7-0, Florida State responded with an 11-play/70-yard drive to tie the game 7-7.
At that point all indications were that we were looking at a shootout but you have to give credit to the Sooner defense for what they did from that point on. Florida State's next 12 drives produced 7 punts, 3 turnovers a field goal and the garbage time touchdown. A week after being the whipping boys by pundits across the country the defense walked off the field Saturday as the heroes of the game.
No one was harder on cornerback Jamell Fleming than me after last week's debacle against Utah State but as JTE already mentioned in his recap post he completely redeemed himself this week. In fact, I picked him as my defensive player of the game. Where the FSU defense looked to shut down the run against Oklahoma the Sooners' defense let the front seven eat up the running backs while the secondary shut down the passing game.
Fleming led the charge with four tackles (one for loss), a fumble recovery, an interception and two passes broken up. Across the field, He was backed up by Quintin Carter who played the role of an enforcer with a team high seven tackles but this game was about preventing completions and that's exactly what the Oklahoma defense did. They were a blanket of coverage that forced 4 sacks and a ton of throw aways or quarterback scrambles.
The FSU receivers couldn't get separation and the few times that they did they couldn't finish. When Poder was actually able to complete a pass it was only for a 4 yard average. To put that in perspective, Landry Jones had a 9.5 yards per completion average and backups EJ Manuel and Drew Allen had averages of 12.3 and 7.5 respectfully.
The combination of quarterback pressure and defensive coverage that the Sooners produced on Saturday was a game stopper. This game had all the makings of a shootout but Oklahoma eliminated that possibility by taking away Florida State's ammunition.