Week Seven Offensive and Defensive MVP’s

The Noles defense had another strong week and helped carry the offense, who turned the ball over 4 times, to a 17-6 win over Wake Forest. The win improved Florida State to 5-2 and has helped them rise to #13, setting up a potential College Gameday and prime time matchup with #3 Clemson. FSU and Clemson will both have bye weeks during week eight, giving them time to rest before they collide the following week. Let’s check out this week’s offensive and defensive MVP’s.

Offensive MVP: Travis Rudolph

After a few quiet weeks, Travis Rudolph recorded his best game as a Seminole on Saturday. He finished the game with 13 catches for 238 yards. For comparison, Rudolph had amassed 19 catches for 259 yards all season before the game against Wake Forest. Rudolph’s career day was the fourth best receiving performance in school history, behind Ron Sellers (260 and 259) and Peter Warrick (249). He also became the third Seminole receiver ever to have multiple 200 yard games, behind Sellers and Craphonso Thorpe.

His first big play of the game came on his first catch. Deondre Francois took the snap in the shotgun, faking a handoff to Dalvin Cook before rolling to his right and making a beautiful deep throw to Rudolph. Rudolph then broke out of one tackle and gained more yards by juking a defender before being pulled down by two more Wake Forest defenders. This play would help set up a field goal attempt that FSU would go on to miss.

Leading 10-3, with only a few seconds before the half, The Seminole offense decided to throw a Hail Mary. With four receivers on the field, Deondre Francois rolled to the right out of the shotgun, he then stepped into a throw and let it fly. The ball came down into a Wake Forest defenders hands but Kermit Whitfield collided with the defender before he could possess it, the ball then hit another Wake Forest defender and finally bounced into Travis Rudolph’s hands. Rudolph then did his best to try and get around four defenders to score, desperately reaching the ball for the goal line and barely missing. It was still a big momentum play as the Noles headed into halftime.

All in all, Rudolph recorded a catch on 10 of FSU’s 14 drive’s (they didn’t attempt a pass on the 14th drive). His 13 receptions for 238 yards completely trumped the entirety of the rest of the receiving core, who recorded 9 catches for 81 yards combined. He may not have scored, but he was FSU’s most potent offensive threat alongside Dalvin Cook.

Defensive MVP: Josh Sweat

Josh Sweat makes his first appearance on our MVP list after a season best performance against Wake Forest. Sweat recorded 7 tackles (4 solo) and 1.5 sacks. Prior to this game he had only 7 (6 solo) total tackles and 1 sack.

It’s safe to say that this season has been extremely disappointing for Josh Sweat. He was expected to break out after being two years removed from major surgery on his knee, and has failed to do that after dealing with a meniscus injury this season. With back to back encouraging performances from Sweat, he could finally be getting healthy so he can make a bigger impact during the second half of the season.

In the match up with Wake Forest, he put his mark on the game early. On 2nd and 11, the FSU defense lined up in an all out blitz formation while Wake Forest was lined up in the shotgun. At the snap, Josh Sweat executed a twist stunt and blitzed through the hole between the center and left guard. Derrick Nnadi was matched on the right guard, Dontavious Jackson matched with the center, Demarcus Christmas matched with the left guard, and Ro’Derrick Hoskins matched with the left tackle. This left no one to block Sweat, especially after his stunt move, and he came through unblocked and brought down John Wolford.

Later in the first quarter, the Seminoles pass rush would strike again. With Wake Forest entering FSU territory, the Noles needed to make a stop. On 3rd and long, they knew Wake Forest was going to pass and they lined up for it with their pass rushing specialists. Josh Sweat was at the buck, Fred Jones was at nose tackle, DeMarcus Walker was at defensive tackle, and Brian Burns was at defensive end. At the snap, it was obvious the Demon Deacon offensive line couldn’t hold back the wide array of pass rushers, especially Josh Sweat and Brian Burns, who absolutely bullied both offensive tackles. Burns was the first one to hit Wolford, then Sweat grabbed his leg, and finally Hoskins and a host of Seminoles swarmed the quarterback.

Sweat helped lead a defense that recorded five sacks. In total, Wake Forest gained only 252 yards of offense (184 passing, 68 rushing), a new season low for the defense. The 6 points allowed is also a season low. The Seminoles defense has played great in back to back games, and they seem to have found some positive momentum since the loss to North Carolina.

This is an important week, injured guys need to rest up and get ready for the second half of the year. And a season defining game against Clemson is looming next week, the offense will need to fix their turnover woes and the defense will need to be fully prepared to go up against one of the top quarterbacks in the country.

Previous MVP’s:

Week Six MVP’s

Week Four MVP’s

Week Two MVP’s

Week One MVP’s

Dustin Lewis

Lead writer for NoleGameday. Majoring in English Editing, Writing, and Media at Florida State University. Writer for FSView Sports and Hashtag Basketball.

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