Christian Ponder: 24-37, 243 yards, 2 TDs
E.J. Manuel: 2-2, 41 yards, 1 TD
The numbers look pretty good on the surface, but the Wake Forest pass defense is not very good and while we would characterize this performance as "solid", the passing game missed an opportunity for a "big game".
Wide Receivers were open at times and Ponder just failed to deliver the ball accurately. As for his health, he ran the ball plenty in this one which would indicate that he was not being protected. On the other hand, we know that he throws it better than this.
We do think he improved from last week against BYU and Ponder did some great things with his feet. There is no question that we will need to be "crisper" in the passing game going forward.
Jermaine Thomas: 10-88, 1-11 rec
Ty Jones: 9-64, 1-13 rec
Chris Thompson: 6-37, 1-3 rec
FSU ends the day with 229 rushing yards which is outstanding by any measure. Jones really had some nice plays early and he seems to be gaining confidence. Thomas's last burst put a cap on the day. Thompson's production looks pedestrian, but that is over six yards a carry.
The three back's shared 25 carries and this game was the way that many envisioned in the pre-season. Each caught a pass which is yet another touch in the hands of our most consistent play-makers.
Taiwan Easterling: 6-112
Bert Reed: 6-39
Willie Haulstead: 5-44, 2 TD
Kenny Shaw: 2-28, 1 TD
Rodney Smith: 2-9
A.J. Alexander: 1-18
Beau Reliford: 1-7
There were a lot of positives on Saturday. The true frosh from Dr. Phillips caught a couple of balls including a TD late in the game. Coach Fisher made a point of saying in the press conference that the young WRs...not just Shaw.....are starting to emerge. Only time will tell.
Nice bounceback game by Easterling, he has that "wiggle" and it allows him to make some plays in space. Haulstead had two touchdowns and came close to making a great catch down the field. He seems to get better every week.
Reed had some opportunities, but was unable to get into space. He did get loose deep, but Ponder was unable to connect. Smith had a pair of short catches.
One area of concern was that once again we did not get the tight end's involved, Reliford had just one catch. It is hard to envision a scenario where this will change down the road. There has been ample opportunity thus far.
It is hard to know without going to the film, but some general thoughts are that the run blocking was very good and we struggled at times in pass pro. There were some excellent "pockets" created; it would appear at first glance to say that Henry Orelus struggled.
Clearly FSU feels the loss of Andrew Datko, getting him healthy again is the primary concern.
You know that expectations are on the rise when you find fault on a day when FSU had nine possessions.
1 Field Goal
1 missed field goal
2 Fumbles (One at end of 18 play, 79 yard drive---the second after five plays, 37 yard drive)
There was more out there to be had and we will need to execute better. In the end, we will take it and the offense's outlook going forward remains very good.
Jimbo Fisher on offense after halftime:
"Penalties, missed a block, and got blindsided and we put the ball on the ground. I told them, you let good teams hang around like that, that will cost you. There is nothing wrong with what we are doing, just a few tweaks. Like I say all the time, here's my statement, you can play well, but play situations poorly and lose a football game and that's what we are doing. We are moving the ball but play the redzone and those third down situations and those two passing situations poorly and it was leaving Wake Forest in the game. That's where our kids have to be situation smart and understand when not to make mistakes and we made them at some crucial times with penalties or missed blocks and quarterbacks still getting hit, but hey, you got to hold onto that football and doing those things. Relax, go back to your fundamentals, keep the same intensity and don't make the same mistake twice and just keep going."