After defeating Northern Illinois 31-10 in the Orange Bowl Jimbo Fisher was asked how close Florida State is to competing for a national championship. Fisher responded by listing a few of the many records that the 2012 Seminoles (12-2) broke this season.
With 524 yards of total offense against NIU, FSU finished the season with 6,591 yards of total offense, three more yards than the 2000 Seminole team for the most total yards in school history. FSU also came close to breaking the 2000 team's record average of 7.1 yards per play with an average of seven yards per play in 2012.
Fisher admitted he knows there were times that the offense was inefficient at times this season, including against NIU, but that ultimately FSU is right there ready to again be one of college football's elite programs.
"I think we're knocking on the door," Fisher said. "We just broke the school record this year for total yardage in a single season, the most yardage by an offense in Florida State history."
"Like I said the other day, and since '93, only three teams since '93 ever averaged more points
only two teams, we tied the '93 team with 7 yards per play and the (2000 team) was 7.1. I don't know what we were (after the Orange Bowl), where it was, but this offense, we've been very proud of it."
FSU averaged 39.3 yards per game this season and had over 500 yards of total offense in six games.
Even with the records, when looking back at the 2012 season it will be offensive ineptitude in crucial moments of both losses that will stick out to many Seminole fans. In a one-point loss to North Carolina State FSU was shut out in the second half, and against Florida the 'Noles turned the ball over five times.
While disappointed in the losses, Fisher sees them as growing pains for a program that just won 12 games for the first time since 1999 and just the third time overall. He still feels that FSU made tremendous steps forward this season, winning the ACC and the Orange Bowl.
"I think we're right there, and I think we had to get on this platform and understand that we have to go win the championship, you have to get in a BCS bowl game and understand all the things that go with it, all the hoopla, all the things around it," Fisher said. "All the pressure, all the, as I say, the song and dance and the clutter, I call the clutter. But you've got to learn to handle those things to play on the big stage and these guys did that and showed our young guys that we feel very confident about where we're going and what we're doing and for the future."
In addition to the team offensive records set in 2012, a number of FSU players secured their spots in the individual record books this season.
Kicker Dustin Hopkins's second-half field goal against NIU gave him 88 career made-field goals, good for the most in NCAA History. Hopkins also finished his career as Florida State's all-time leading scorer with 466 points, good for third-most in NCAA history.
Quarterback EJ Manuel finished the season with 3,392 yard passing, the second-most by an FSU QB in season history (Chris Weinke threw for 4,167 yards in 2000). Manuel finished his career with the third-most passing yards in a career and the third-most completions.
With a first-quarter reception, Rodney Smith set a new FSU record with at least one catch in 39 straight games. Smith broke E.G. Green's record of 38 straight games with a catch from 1994-97.
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