by David Lackford
One that values his possessions will protect them with a greater degree of effort than a thief will exhibit in an attempt to steal them. This season, Jimbo Fisher's play calling has reflected this philosophical cannon. The 'Noles have protected each and every possession as if it were the Hope Diamond.
The Seminoles gave the ball away 32 times last season, the second most in the nation. The team that ended the Florida State's magical 2014 run, the Oregon Ducks, had the least amount of turnovers in the nation with 11. Last season's turnover plague allowed opponents to start their drives closer to the end zone, as their average starting field position was the 32 yard-line. FSU ranked 107th nationally in Opponents Starting Filed Position, that factor was a major reason FSU let up 26.6 points per game last season (54th in the nation). In the Rose Bowl matchup that ended the Noles' season, they gave the ball away 5 times while only taking it from Oregon twice. Oregon embarrassed the FSU 59-20. I believe that debacle has forged Fisher's emphasis on ball security as well as his reluctance to start his extremely talented group of underclassmen skill position players. It is hard to argue with the results. The 2015 Seminoles have yet to throw and interception or lose a fumble on offense, tying them with LSU a top the nation for fewest turnovers committed. Coming into the season much conversation revolved around incoming transfer quarterback Everett Golson's propensity to give up the rock but, over FSU's first five games he has zero turnovers.
Last week, Miami came to Tallahassee with 11 takeaways in their first four games of the season. They left Tallahassee with 11 takeaways in five games. Actually, neither team gave the ball away. Per Chuck Blunt, this was the first time in the 60 year-history of the rivalry that neither team turned the ball over in a game.
The Louisville Cardinals will be the next team to come into FSU's house intent on snatching food off of the 'Noles plate. Last year, Louisville's 26 interception were tied for the national lead and their 30 total takeaways tied them for 11th best in the country. This year, Louisville comes to Tally with nine picks (12th overall in the nation) and 12 total takeaways (21st overall in the nation). Unfortunately, they have thrown 7 interceptions and fumbled the ball away 3 times.
While FSU has yet to give the ball away on offense, their defense has only recovered two fumbles and snatched a mere three interceptions. So as Louisville giveth and taketh away, FSU doesn't give anything to anybody, but isn't very opportunistic either. Forget about Lamar Jackson and Dalvin Cook for the moment. Sure they are two of the most exciting players in the ACC and maybe all of college football, but we already know that both offenses revolve around them. Instead, the key to this game will be who turns the ball over the most. Coming into the NC State game, Louisville had an interception in 17 straight games before coming up empty against NC State on October 3rd. They will look to start a new streak against Everett Golson and FSU, by picking off the 'Noles signal caller for the first time all season.