November 4, 2011

Position grades for win over Boston College

Offensive Grades

Passing Game

Florida State's passing attack was not as explosive on Thursday night as it has been the previous three weeks. EJ Manuel was 12 of 16 for 180 yards and a touchdown.

Because of turnovers and a lopsided score the passing game wasn't called on much against Boston College.

Manuel's top target was freshman Nick O'Leary who had three grabs for 87 yards. The lone touchdown pass came after a fumble recovery in the first quarter, on an 8-yard pass from Manuel to senior Bert Reed.

FSU again had production out of the backfield in the passing game as Devonta Freeman and Lonnie Pryor combined for five catches for 40 yards.

Overall passing game grade: B-

FSU's passing game was efficient but did struggle some with the pass rush of BC. Coming into the game the Eagles had just six sacks on the season, but Thursday they came away with two and a few other that should have been sacks but Manuel was able to get out of the pocket. Still FSU averaged 15 yards per completion, and moved the ball when they needed to through the air early in the game.

Top Performer: Nick O'Leary

This was the type of performance Seminole fans have been dreaming about since signing day from O'Leary. His three catches for a career-high 87 yards, including a career-high 58-yard gain, were more than enough to earn him top performer honors. He was the lone Seminole to stretch the field on Thursday.

Running Game

All things considered it was a pretty good effort for FSU on the ground. With true freshman Austin Barron making his first-career start at center, the Seminoles ran for 127 yards on 41 carries.

Freeman led the way with 62 yards on 12 carries. Manuel had 37 yards on 16 attempts.

For the second week in a row really the only thing FSU couldn't do on offense was run the ball in short yardage situations.

In the first quarter Jimbo Fisher even inserted big back James Wilder Jr. into the game, but he was tackled for a loss. FSU also went for it on a 4th and 1 and turned the ball over on downs.

Overall running game grade: C

A second straight bland performance on the ground for FSU. Still it was much better considering the early season struggles, and the fact that the offensive line had two true freshman starting. 3.1 yards per carry will have to improve next weekend against Miami.

Top performer: Devonta Freeman

Freeman led the team in rushing with 62 yards, but his most impressive stat may have been zero yards lost. He averaged 5.2 yards per carry and scored two of FSU's four rushing touchdowns.

Defensive Grades

Front Seven

It would appear the Seminole defense has finally hit its stride.

FSU held BC to 94 yards rushing on 39 carries, good for an average of just 2.4 yards per rush.

Redshirt freshman Josh Bordner sparked the Eagles with a QB switch, rushing for 45 yards, including a game-high 25-yard gain.

The font seven was responsible for forcing all four of the Seminoles turnovers. In the first quarter Anthony McCloud forced a BC fumble that Telvin Smith recovered at the Eagles' two-yard line.

Late in the game Smith also picked off Chase Rettig along the sideline. Bjoern Werner came away with an interception and a fumble recovery.

FSU had just one sack in the game and it came from safety Lamarcus Joyner.

Nigel Bradham had another great performance, leading the way with seven tackles, six solo and 2.5 for loss.

Overall front seven grade: A

No sacks, but four turnovers is a trade I think Mark Stoops would make on most nights. After rushing for over 300 yards last week against Maryland, FSU held BC to just 94 on Thursday night.

Top performer: Telvin Smith

Smith had four solo tackles, a fumble recovery and an interception. His fumble recovery set up a touchdown pass for Manuel, and his interception led to no points as FSU unsuccessfully went for it on fourth down.


The passing game was more than lackluster for BC. Rettig and Bordner were a combined 12 of 20 for 113 yards and a touchdown.

Bordner hit Bobby Swigert for a 37-yard gain on the only play that really hurt FSU through the air. Rettig was able to throw a touchdown, that was set up by a Manuel fumble, on nicely run pick play that knocked Mike Harris off his man.

BC averaged just 9.4 yards per completion, and 5.7 per drop back in the game.

Safety Terrance Parks had six solo tackles on the day.

Overall secondary grade: A

Other than the 37-yard pickup, FSU kept the BC passing attack down for the majority of the game. Both corners Greg Reid and Xavier Rhodes never found themselves beat deep.

Top performer: Lamarcus Joyner

Joyner had three solo tackles, including a vicious sack as he hit Rettig along the sideline before he could step out. Perhaps his most impressive play was chasing down Swigert on the big play to tackle him at the two-yard line. Two plays later BC fumbled, and for the first half at least the shutout was left intact thanks to Joyner's effort.

Special Teams Grades

Another solid day for the special teams unit on Thursday night. Dustin Hopkins connected on a 47-yard field goal (into the wind), made all five of his PATs and kicked two touchbacks.

Reid was never really given a chance to get things going on punt returns, as he was forced to call for a fair catch three times and had just one yard on two returns.

Shawn Powell continued his Ray Guy Award campaign with an average of 49 yards on four punts.

Overall Special Teams grade: A

No chances at big returns for FSU, but another great job by both coverage teams and Powell to flip the field.

Top performer: Shawn Powell

Powell had a net average of 46.5 yards per punt, had two punts of 50 yards or more and pinned BC inside its own 20 twice. His first punt of the night went 50 yards and went out of bounds at the BC five-yard line. He also recorded a 66-yard punt in the game.

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