Following an embarrassing 24-3 loss to Virginia Tech, Florida State head coach Willie Taggart accused the Hokies defenders of faking injuries in an effort to halt any momentum the Seminoles built.
“It happened too often so it’s hard not to,” Taggart said of the Hokies players going down after plays per Mike Barber of the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “It happened too often.”
Taggart’s accusations come with some merit. On one particular play, after an FSU 32-yard pass play, Virginia Tech defensive tackle Xavier Burke appeared to proceed down the field, when he looked to the sideline and then dropped down to the ground. The sequence brought suspicion among fans observing. Burke was later helped off the field.
There was another play in which Florida State running back Cam Akers broke open an 85-yard run. Hokies defensive end Trevon Hill went down. He was also helped off the field.
Much of the night, the Florida State fans expressed their displeasure any time a Hokie defender went down on the field. Hokies head coach Justin Fuentes attributed the amount of injury stoppages to the climate at Doak E. Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee.
“I know this, going into the game we were severely concerned about our ability to handle the humidity and the weather, just coming from our climate down there,” Fuente said per Joey Knight of the Tampa Bay Times. “We certainly had some issues with it throughout the game. At halftime, (there were) numerous guys in there getting IVs and getting treatment so they could finish out the game.”
With the high-tempo offenses of today’s football that don’t allow many substitutions by the defense, the scene of defensive players falling down that result in play stoppage has been a common sight, especially in college football. Fans and media alike have since questioned if an injury is legit.
“It is what it is. I guess it’s part of football now,” Taggart said per Barber. “That’s all I can say.”