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October 22, 2011

FSU rolls past Maryland 41-16

Florida State got off to a fast start offensively and never looked back, rolling to a 41-16 win over Maryland on Saturday at Doak Campbell Stadium.

FSU (4-3, 2-2) scored on its first two possessions of the game, marching methodically on drives of 62 and 90 yards for a 14-0 lead.

Maryland would never get closer than 14 the rest of the way.

"We really want to start fast, because the games we have the majority of success in are the games where we come out and get immediate success," linebacker Vince Williams said. "You know we get three and outs, or we get a turnover, we get plays and we do things like that. We always try to start the game off hot and try to pick up the pace fast."

Starting quarterback EJ Manuel capped off the opening drive with a 7-yard touchdown run. After the defense forces a three and out he connected with Kenny Shaw for a 26-yard score.

In the second half FSU turned to the run game, going over 200 yards rushing as a team for the second week in a row. True freshman Devonta Freeman, who got the first start of his career, finished the game with 100 yards on 11 carries and touchdown. He became the first freshman tailback to rush for 100 yards in back-to-back games since Sammie Smith in 1986.

The defense got off to a fast start as well, forcing Maryland to punt on its first five possessions. Maryland could only muster a 23-yard field goal as time expired in the first half.

FSU gave up 331 yards of total offense, but were able to take away the Terrapins run game. As a team Maryland had just 59 yards rushing, and dual-threat quarterback C.J. Brown finished with zero yards rushing on 10 attempts after rushing for over 100 yards in the previous two games.

Brown was replaced by Danny O'Brien midway through the third quarter after taking a vicious hit from FSU linebacker Nigel Bradham.

O'Brien finished the game 9-of-18 passing for 180 yards, 69 of which came on a completion to Quintin McCree. He also added a garbage-time passing score and a 5-yard rushing touchdown.

"I think you have to give Florida State credit," Maryland head coach Randy Edsall said after the game. "Florida State is very athletic and has tremendous speed and they did a good job those guys are very fast, very athletic."

FSU recorded a season-high six sacks in the game thanks to an impressive performance by the defensive line. Brandon Jenkins recorded four tackles and 1.5 sacks. Cornelius Carradine, Bjoern Werner, and Timmy Jernigan also were credited with sacks.

"The defensive line I thought was very dominant on the day," FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher said. "Put pressure on the quarterback ... and still deflected some balls, harassed, got an intentional grounding once or twice. Some guys will put their hand in the dirt and when you got good ones up front, it changes the ball game."

After two quick scoring drives, Manuel finished the game 18 of 26 for 264 yards, a passing touchdown, a rushing touchdown and an interception.

Freeman was complimented by senior tailback Jermaine Thomas who ran for 86 yards and a touchdown. Debrale Smiley also found the endzone late in the game.

After struggling to find a running game at all early in the season, FSU has bounced back from three straight losses with a balanced attack on offense leading to back-to-back 41-16 victories.

They'll hope to keep things rolling next week against North Carolina State, which defeated Virginia 28-14 on Saturday.

"We've got a lot of (momentum)," senior tackle Zebrie Sanders said. "But we can't really be cocky about it. We've still go to take every week like the last. Monday starts film study, practicing Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, then trying to polish and playing. So we definitely have a lot of momentum but don't want to get a big head."



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