Tough Start for Taggart Era: Florida State-Virginia Tech Recap

Tough Start for Taggart Era
A general view of the line of scrimmage with the Virginia Tech Hokies and the Florida State Seminoles during the game at Doak Campbell Stadium on Bobby Bowden Field on September 3, 2018 in Tallahassee, Florida. The #20 ranked Hokies defeated the #19 ranked Seminoles 24 to 3. (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)

Virginia Tech Dominates Florida State 24-3

Florida State – Virginia Tech Recap

The 22nd ranked Virginia Tech Hokies (1-0, 1-0) handily beat 20th ranked Florida State (0-1,0-1) 24-3 on Monday night. This paved the way for a tough start for Taggart era in Tallahassee. Defense and special teams ruled the night as the Hokies forced five Seminole turnovers. Virginia Tech also returned a blocked punt for a touchdown.

Virginia Tech started hot early. The Hokies received the ball first and orchestrated a 10-play,75-yard drive that ended with a 10-yard touchdown pass from Josh Jackson to Damon Hazelton.

Florida State’s opening drive went from bad to good to ugly. After two runs from Cam Akers netted negative yards, Deondre Francois found Keith Gavin for a 24 yard first down. That success was short-lived, however. The next play Noonie Murray fumbled and the Hokies recovered.

Virginia Tech then marched into Seminole territory and added a 29 yard, Brian Johnson field goal to make the score 10-0. The two teams traded punts on their next possessions.

Florida State finally got the ball into Hokie territory with its first drive of the second quarter. However, the Seminoles’ eight p64-yard yard drive came up empty as Ricky Aguayo missed a 32 yard field goal.

After the Seminole defense forced a Virginia Tech three and out, Florida State finally got on the board with a 22 yard field goal by Aguayo to cap a 12 play, 65 yard drive.

Virginia Tech was forced to punt on its next possession. Florida State followed suit by going three and out. The Hokies then extended their lead to 17-3 when they blocked a Logan Tyler punt and returned it for a touchdown.

The score would remain 17-3 for most of the second half. Virginia Tech was able to win the field position battle, spending most of the third quarter in Seminole territory. However, the Florida State defense came up with key stops to prevent the deficit from growing.

On the other side of the ball, the Florida State offense was stagnant. The Seminoles gained -7 yards the entire third quarter and spent most of their time in the shadow of their own end zone.

Florida State finally crossed the 50 yard line in the second half when Akers ran for an 85 yard gain to the Virginia Tech six-yard line. Three plays later, Akers fumbled and the Hokies recovered.

Virginia Tech sealed the victory when Josh Jackson found Eric Kumah for a 49-yard touchdown strike. The last two Seminole drives ended with Francois throwing an interception and the Hokies ran out the clock for the 24-3 win.

Highlights

The Florida State defense looked pretty much like it did last year. After a slow start, the Seminoles were able to correct mistakes and keep the game close. Brian Burns was as good as advertised accounting for six tackles and one and a half sacks.

There were not many bright spots on offense though. Francois seemed to have more time to throw early in the game. However, the stagnant running game made the Seminole offense one dimensional and the bad field position kept first year head coach, Willie Taggart from getting creative with his play calling.

What It Means

Monday night’s loss hurts the Seminoles a lot more than last year’s opening game loss to Alabama did. Because this game was in conference play, Florida State now sits at the bottom of the ACC standings. Although this loss was in conference, the Hokies and Seminoles are in different divisions. Seminoles still control their own destiny in their quest for a spot in the ACC title game.

Next Week

Both teams step out of conference play next week to match up against FCS opponents. Virginia Tech will host William and Mary while Florida State welcomes the Samford Bulldogs to Doak Campbell Stadium.

 

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