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Garvin's pick triggers revival for D
A tiebreaking INT return sparks FSU after a lackluster first half, setting the stage for a strong second.
By JAMEY GIVENS, Times Correspondent
Published October 7, 2007
Big plays made up for a sloppy first half for the Florida State defense Saturday night.
The biggest came from the smallest player on the field, 5-foot-8 cornerback Michael Ray Garvin. Garvin's 43-yard interception return for a touchdown early in the third quarter ignited a lifeless Seminoles defense and buried any chances of a North Carolina State upset.
"A team like that, you have to break them somewhere," coach Bobby Bowden said. "Garvin's interception and touchdown kind of took it out of N.C. State and put us in the driver's seat."
The touchdown gave the Seminoles a 17-10 lead after North Carolina State had moved the ball up and down the field in the first half, taking advantage of the Seminoles' ball pursuit with several screen passes and delayed handoffs.
"It just didn't look like we were ready to play when we came out; like we didn't expect them to fight," defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews said.
But FSU's defense was smothering after Garvin's interception, allowing only 45 yards and sacking Daniel Evans five times.
"It broke them down," linebacker Geno Hayes said of the interception. "They were fighting 'til that point, but after that they just kind of gave up. ... Once you start coming out and hitting here and there, it's basically time to bow down."
Said Andrews: "We looked like a different ball team in the second half."
Garvin almost wasn't on the field for his game-changing play. The junior was pulled in the first quarter for undisciplined play and sat for the rest of the first half. Andrews put him back on the field to start the second half.
"He came back and played a lot more disciplined and made, I guess, the play of the game," Andrews said. "It was a great play, and that's the kind of plays we expect him to make."
Florida State went into the game with only two interceptions through its first four games but came away with three against the Wolfpack. Patrick Robinson's interception at the Seminole 8-yard line ended an N.C. State scoring threat late in the second quarter, and J.R. Bryant intercepted Evans late in the third quarter. They were the first interceptions in both players' careers.