Alex Turko (@aturko_23)
Nevada stumbled into Doak Campbell Stadium last weekend without their starting quarterback, Cody Fajardo, and all hopes of a stunning upset seemed to be on the bench with him. After the 1st quarter many Seminole fans were becoming restless as the home team found themselves down 7-3 early into the 2nd quarter. Jameis Winston showed his first sign of mortality and threw his first career interception in front of the Seminole faithful. The defense once again had a slow start, as they were gashed up the middle on multiple accounts.
This team thrives on emotion and the stale play in the 1st quarter was evident to anyone watching the game. The Seminoles came out flat and had that sense of entitlement as if they could beat Nevada just by stepping out onto the field. But before the game got out of hand they were brought back down to earth by their young general, Jameis Winston. The best thing that happen to Jameis that afternoon, was throwing an early interception.
Winston strides for perfection more than any player I’ve seen, and this early blunder forced him to flip the switch and play like the potential Heisman candidate that he is. He went on to complete the rest of his passing attempts throughout the game, going 13 for 13, and igniting his team with the swagger that stems from his play. The fans and players alike, knew it was time to put this game out of reach after his beautiful touchdown pass placed perfectly in the back corner of the end zone where only Kenny Shaw could come down with it.
After the game Winston admitted to being too “crunk” (or hyped up for the older folk) for his first home game, causing his poor play early on. After the defense got the better of him on the pick, you could see him turn this game into a personal battle to destroy the opponent; and destroy he did.
With the offense rolling, the defense also turned it around, not allowing Nevada to score the rest of the game. They made a slight adjustment to shut down the runs up the middle, and started forcing the plays outside, allowing the 2nd and 3rd level defenders to come up and make a play. The Wolfpack’s backup quarterback was hobbled by a lower leg injury and the defense was able to settle down and focus on the running backs. Once again Jeremy Pruitt’s squad got a turnover, proving that his new aggressive style will force plenty of mistakes throughout the season. A huge positive to this new staff has been their ability to make in-game adjustments on the fly. I look forward to seeing this defense continue to fine-tune their art before the have to take on the high-octane offense of Clemson October 19th.
I saw a lot of things improved upon from the Pitt game, namely the play of the defensive ends and the addition of Karlos Williams to the backfield. The ends did a much better job sealing the edges against this option attack and you could tell that this was a specific point of emphasis from the coaches in preparation for the game. The Noles seem to be on a crash course from here on out to face the Clemson Tigers in an almost sure-fire College Gameday match-up in Death Valley. With neither team projected to lose before this game, the winner of that game will undoubtedly win the ACC Atlantic division. Each game from here on out should heighten the interest of fans, as we watch the Seminoles add more plays and diversity to an already successful team in order to work out all of the kinks before that epic battle.
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