September 18, 2011

FSU-Oklahoma: Position grades

Offensive Grades

Passing Game

It was a forgettable day overall for the Florida State offense against the top-ranked Sooners.

E.J. Manuel never quite found his groove as he completed 13 of his 19 attempts for just 85 yards, no touchdowns, and two costly interceptions.

Early in the game he had a nice rhythm going with sophomore Kenny Shaw as they connected twice for 22 yards before Shaw was knocked out of the game by a vicious hit.

Midway through the third quarter Manuel was knocked out of the game himself with a deep left shoulder bruise, giving way to Clint Trickett.

Trickett and true freshman Rashad Green conjured up some more scoring magic for the third straight game, as the two connected for a 56-yard touchdown pass on 3rd and 28 to tie the game at 13.

Trickett finished the game 7 of 15 for 134 yards, one touchdown and an interception that set up an OU field goal to make it a two score lead for the Sooners.

Jarred Haggins also had a nice game with four catches for 45 yards.

Overall passing game grade: C+

Three interceptions and six sacks really hurt the FSU passing attack. Trickett played admirably for a freshman in a tough situation. As a a team the Seminoles were 20 of 34 for 219 yards, three interceptions, and a touchdown.

Top Performer: Rashad Greene

Greene again was the most impressive of the young wiedouts for FSU as he hauled in three receptions for 70 yards and the team's only touchdown. He is the first Seminole receiver since Rod Owens in 2009 to have a TD catch in three straight games.

Running Game

As the passing game struggled to find a rhythm, the running game never came close to finding any success.

For the third consecutive game the Seminoles lacked any real threat of a running game, rushing for just 27 yards on 26 carries (Trickett lost 26 yards on sacks alone).

Manuel led the way as he rushed for 49 yards on eight carries, including an impressive 28-yard gain.

However none of the FSU running backs could get it going as Ty Jones, Devonta Freeman, and Chris Thompson combined for just nine yards on 12 carries.

The switch of Bryan Stork to center and Jacob Fahrenkrug didn't help FSU find a running game.

Overall running game grade: D

Even with the added dimension of designed runs for Manuel, FSU just never got it going on the ground. Take away the 26 yards lost on sacks by Trickett and the running game still managed just 53 yards, and averaged a lowly 2.5 yards per carry.

Top performer: EJ Manuel

Manuel rushed for 49 yards on eight carries, averaging 6.1 yards per carry. He was knocked out of the game on hard hit while running the ball, but if the FSU running game is ever going to get going it will be because of designed runs for the 6-foot-5 signal caller.

Defensive Grades

Front Seven

The Seminole defense kept FSU in the game all night long, and the front seven was a big reason why.

The Sooners gained 111 yards on the ground, but averaged just 2.8 yards per carry. Twice FSU stopped OU from less than six yards out.

Linebackers Vince Williams (six tackles) and Christian Jones (eight tackles, one for loss) each made key stops on those goal line stands. Fellow linebacker Nigel Bradham also had a big game as he led the team with nine tackles, one for loss, and came away with an interception.

Along the defensive line, D-ends Bjoern Werner and Brandon Jenkins both had good days. Werner had six tackles, two for loss, and the teams only sack. Jenkins had five tackles, all solo, as he was asked to stand up at times in a linebacker hybrid role in some formations.

Overall front seven grade: A

Allowing just 2.8 yards per carry, and two goal line stands warrants an A in my book. Despite sacking Landry Jones just once all night, anytime he dropped back to look deep he was under pressure.

Top performer: Bjoern Werner

Bradham certainly has a case for top performer, but was hurt by two silly personal foul calls. Of Werner's six tackles, five were solo, and he also had a QB hit.


After last year's loss the secondary was the group that needed to improve the most against the Sooners.

Landry Jones was 18 of 27 for 199 yards (lowest total since '09 loss to Miami) one touchdown, and two interceptions.

Mike Harris had a great game, tying Bradham for team lead in tackles with nine, seven solo, one for loss, and a pass breakup.

Lamarcus Joyner also had a big day as he recorded eight tackles, broke up one pass, and came up with a big interception.

Greg Reid, who was abused by OU a year ago, had an OK day. He recorded two tackles, and was in good position on the go ahead touchdown pass to Kenny Stills, but just couldn't quite get up high enough to make the play.

Overall secondary grade: A

Going into the game I think if you had told Jimbo Fisher that Jones would have less than 200 yards passing and two interceptions he would have really liked his team's chances. The secondary also did a good job of keeping Ryan Broyles contained, he had seven catches for 55 yards but never broke free for the 'big one'.

Top performer: Lamarcus Joyner

Joyner not only came up with a big interception of his own, but he also pressured Jones into throwing his first pick to Bradham on a blitz. After just three games it is obvious that he can be difference maker for the defense.

Special Teams Grades

Another spectacular outing for the FSU special teams. The kickoff coverage team was superb again as OU averaged just 17.5 yards per return. On punt returns Broyles averaged just 3.5 yards per return.

Dustin Hopkins added two more touchbacks to bring his season total to nine. He was 2-2 on field goal attempts, hitting from both 46 and 53 yards. It was the fourth time in his career that Hopkins has connected from 50 yards or more.

FSU's return game never broke free for a big return, but averaged 19.4 yards per return. Reid was never given the opportunity to return a punt in the game.

Punter Shawn Powell had career day with a net average of 48.5 yards per punt thanks to a career-long 69-yard punt.

Overall Special Teams grade: A

Two long field goals and once again great coverage on returns earns the special teams another A. Hopkins and Powell showing why some consider them the best kicking duo in the nation.

Top performer: Shawn Powell

Its not often that 53-yard field goal doesn't earn top performer status, but Powell's 69-yard punt was impressive. The punt was downed at the OU two-yard line, setting up a short field for the FSU offense on the ensuing possession. That possession Trickett connected with Greene to tie the game at 13.

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