NoleGameday

Week Five Offensive and Defensive MVP’s

LOGAN STANFORD/ICON SPORTSWIRE

Florida State took down a scrappy Wake Forest team 26-19 despite playing sloppily for much of the game. FSU was limited on offense because of injuries on the offensive line and conservative play calling. James Blackman completed five of seven passes for a mere seven yards in the first half. The passing game was mostly nonexistent and the Demon Deacons knew it. They sold out on the run but the `Noles were still able to gash them for success sporadically.

Next up for the Seminoles is the annual rivalry matchup with Miami. Florida State has won seven straight in the series and their slow start won’t deter their confidence against the Hurricanes.

Offensive MVP: Ricky Aguayo, Kicker

FSU’s offense only got into the endzone twice all day. They relied a lot on the leg of sophomore kicker Ricky Aguayo to finish drives for them. Aguayo was inconsistent throughout his freshman season and in the first two games of 2017.

The sophomore kicker made 19 of his 26 field goal attempts in 2016. That included the highs, a six for six debut in the comeback against Ole Miss. And the lows, going 0-3 against North Carolina as the `Noles fell by a point plus a 1-3 showing against rival Florida. Aguayo started 2017 by having a kick blocked against Alabama, he then missed a 30-yard field goal in the first half against North Carolina State.

It looked like the rails were starting to fall off, but Aguayo suddenly responded. Despite falling to the Wolfpack, he made his final four kicks of the game. The Seminoles first drive of the game stalled against Wake Forest and head coach Jimbo Fisher had a decision to make. Did he punt to try and pin the Demon Deacons back deep or did he attempt a 51-yard goal? Fisher elected to kick the field goal even though Aguayo had never made an attempt beyond 50 yards. Aguayo stepped up and drilled the kick, it would’ve been good from 60+ yards.

The career-long kick boosted Aguayo’s confidence even more. He would connect on attempts from 27-yards, 37-yards, and 35-yards over the remainder of the game. The 35-yard field goal in the fourth quarter tied at the game at 19 before Florida State’s game winning drive on their final possession.

Aguayo is finally beginning to come into his own. He has made eight straight field goals and is now eight of ten on the season.

Defensive MVP: Matthew Thomas, Linebacker

Senior linebacker Matthew Thomas went down against North Carolina State in the first quarter with a lower back injury. He was forced to miss the rest of the game and the impact on Florida State’s defense was noticeable, especially with Jacob Pugh’s ejection later in the game. The Wolfpack were able to take advantage of FSU’s missing starters as they outmatched the `Noles defense for most of the day. Eventually, it came down to a third and eight. NC State ran it outside and exploded for the first down, securing their victory in Doak Campbell Stadium.

Thomas returned on Saturday for the match up with Wake Forest at his normal outside linebacker slot. He finished with 10 tackles and two sacks as he wreaked havoc on the Demon Deacons offense. Thomas helped hold Wake to only 96 yards on the ground despite them running it 34 times. The rushing defense was mostly stout on a day where the Seminoles struggled in coverage.

Florida State was only able to sack Wake Forest’s John Wolford twice, both by Thomas. His first sack was on the Demon Deacons last offensive drive of the first half which ultimately forced them to punt. The `Noles led 13-12 at the intermission. Later in the game, the `Noles trailed 19-16 with not much time left. Thomas again was able to get to Wolford off the edge, forcing Wake to punt. FSU would kick the tying field goal on the ensuing possession before the game winning score on their last offensive drive of the game.

The senior linebacker now has 20 tackles and two sacks in 2017. It’s clear that Florida State’s defense performs better with Thomas on the field.

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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *