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Overnight, FSU’s defense has become among the worst in nation

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Suddenly, they are Rice.

Suddenly, they are Hawaii.

The defense of the Florida State Seminoles, usually a team strength, is playing chase. Receivers are streaming downfield. Quarterbacks are slicing and dicing. Running backs are shaking and baking. Kickers are mock-chopping with glee.

Sheesh. What gives?

Overnight, it seems, the defense of the Seminoles is tragically weak. Against FBS opponents (everyone but Charleston Southern), the Seminoles are allowing 42.5 points per game. They are giving up 6.98 yards per play, ahead of only Rice, Hawaii and Marshall. They’re 94th in the country in total defense.

The defense of the Seminoles has turned dismal. Filled with highly considered recruits on their way to the NFL, the defense has become the worst in the ACC and the worst in the Top 25. The Seminoles have now lost five of their last 12 games.

So far this year, the Seminoles have trailed Ole Miss 28-6, Louisville 63-10, USF 14-7 and North Carolina 21-0. Last week, it couldn’t hold a lead with 23 seconds to play. In every game against an FBS opponent, the Seminoles have given up a touchdown on the opponent’s first possession.

All of it has increased pressure on FSU defensive coordinator Charles Kelly.

“There ain’t nothing magical going to happen,” said FSU coach Jimbo Fisher. “You’ve got to coach better. We’ve got to play better.”

The Seminoles play Miami (4-0) Saturday. After that, FSU plays Wake Forest (4-1), N.C. State (3-1). Boston College (3-2), Syracuse (2-3) and Florida (4-1).

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit

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