September 11, 2011

Freshmen receive high marks against CSU

Offensive Grades

Passing Game

It was another big day for the Florida State passing game. As a team the Seminoles were 30 of 42 for 477 yards, six touchdowns, and one interception against Charleston Southern.

Starting quarterback EJ Manuel had a career night as he was 24 of 35 for 329 yards, four touchdowns, and an interception. On the game's opening drive he connected with Rodney Smith (five catches for 77 yards and a TD) for a 45-yard bomb.

Bert Reed also found the endzone twice, giving him three touchdowns in two games so far this season.

After a splashing debut in the season opener, Clint Trickett and Rashad Greene provided more fireworks Saturday night. On his first drive of the night Trickett hit Greene on a fade route for a 29-yard touchdown. On the ensuing possession Greene took a slant from Trickett 69 yards for a touchdown. All three times Trickett has connected with Greene it has resulted in a touchdown.

Trickett finished 6 of 7 for 148 yards and two touchdowns, while Greene had two catches for 98 yards and the two scores.

Kenny Shaw (five catches for 67 yards) and Christain Green (two catches for 63 yards) also had big games.

Overall passing game grade: A

With six touchdowns through the air and an average of 15.9 yards per completions, there's not much more you can ask for from the passing game.

Top Performer: EJ Manuel

Manuel tossed touchdowns on three of the first four drives of the game as he threw a career-high four touchdowns and a career-high 329 yards. He did set up CSU's lone touchdown of the day with a third quarter interception, but other than that it was a good day for the redshirt junior.

Running Game

After running for just 92 yards last week the FSU running game improved some on Saturday, but not much. The Seminoles racked up 170 yards on 37 carries, 35 of which came on an end around from Reed.

Take away Reed's big run and the offense averaged 3.75 yards per carry, instead of 4.6. True freshman James Wilder Jr. led the team with 76 yards on 10 carries in his first action. On the game's final play Wilder broke free for a 41-yard gain.

Chris Thompson rushed for 21 yards on six carries and a touchdown. Trickett rushed for a 4-yard score also.

In the first half FSU had just 72 yards rushing, prompting some offensive line changes in the second half. Left guard Bryan Stork slid over to center and starting center Jacob Fahrenkrug moved to guard.

With the switch FSU seemed to be able to get things going on the ground with more success than the first half. Jermaine Thomas finally got some carries as he averaged 5.8 yards per carry, rushing for 23 yards on four attempts.

Overall running game grade: B-

With an average of 4.6 yards per carry and 170 yards FSU made some improvements from its week one struggles, but still need to improve. CSU did flood the box, which opened up the deep ball for FSU, forcing them to go to the air instead of the ground at times. After taking it slow in the first two weeks Chris Thompson will likely carry a heavier load next week against No. 1 Oklahoma.

Top performer: James Wilder Jr.

Yes 41 yards of his 76 yards came on the game's final play, but the five-star prospect averaged 7.6 yards per carry. Now that it's clear he won't be redshirting expect to see the big body back in more short-yardage situations as the year goes on.

Defensive Grades

Front Seven

Another stout performance for the FSU front seven. The Seminole defense held the Buccaneers to just 21 yards rushing on 28 attempts, good for an average of just 0.8 yards per rush.

FSU recorded three sacks on Saturday, all three by defensive lineman. Brandon Jenkins got things going with his first sack of the year, finishing the game with three tackles.

The other two sacks came from defensive tackles Timmy Jernigan and Anthony McCloud.

Dan Hicks was another impressive d-lineman for FSU, recording three tackles, two for loss.

Overall front seven grade: A

The longest run of the day for CSU was good for just seven yards. As they should have the FSU front seven just overpowered the undermanned FCS Buccaneers.

Top performer: Timmy Jernigan

Jernigan led the team in tackles on Saturday with four, including the sack and another tackled for loss. For the second week in a row Jernigan looked like a veteran, instead of true freshman.


Like last week the FSU secondary wasn't tested much on Saturday. CSU managed just 63 yards passing.

With starting corner Greg Reid suspended the secondary didn't miss a beat with the duo of Mike Harris and Xavier Rhodes.

CSU starting quarterback Malcolm Dixon finished the game 7 of 15 for 50 yards. The Buccaneers did score their lone TD through the air, but it wasn't Dixon's throw.

Running back Teddy Allen completed a 3-yard halfback pass to Carson Leshin which was set up by a Manuel interception.

Overall secondary grade: A

The longest play of the day for CSU was a 31-yard pass given up by a group of mostly second and third string defenders. Other than that play the FSU secondary was very solid for the second straight week.

Top performer: Terrance Brooks

Brooks, a reserve safety, was the most active member of the FSU secondary recording three tackles, a pass break-up, and a quarterback hit. On the 31-yard completion he also made receiver Mike Davis pay for the gain with a jarring hit that knocked Davis' helmet off. A flag was thrown, but the hit looked pretty clean.

Special Teams Grades

It was another strong performance for the FSU special teams in the second week of the year.

Dustin Hopkins made field goals of 24 and 26 yards to go along with his five touchbacks on kickoffs.

FSU averaged 37 yards per kickoff return as Greene and Lamarcus Joyner had three attempts.

Greene did return a punt for a touchdown, but it was called back due to a holding call for the only smudge on the special team's record.

Overall Special Teams grade: A

Once again the special teams helped FSU control the field position battle Punter Shawn Powell punted just twice for a net average of 38 yards, including one inside the 20-yard line.

Top performer: Dustin Hopkins

Hopkins hit two field goals as well as eight extra points. Five of his 11 kickoffs went deep into the endzone for touchbacks as well.

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