Christian Ponder: 17/29, 172 yards, 1 TD
Does this performance silence the chatter of injury? Probably not completely, but Ponder improved for the third week in a row. It is amazing to see 10 carries for 17 yards, it really hides his ability to run(sacks)---and we thought he had some great moments as a runner.
He had some nice throws in this one and a few that lead you to ask questions. It is hard to complain with with the overall numbers and the ease of victory, but we also think the passing game is capable of more.
Jermaine Thomas: 16-122, 2 TD
Chris Thompson: 10-76, 1 TD
Debrale Smiley: 3-19
A.J. Alexander: 2-18
It was the second week in a row that Thomas responded and his 70 yarder showed that he is capable of the big play. He is very reliable. Chris Thompson had a quietly great afternoon. He has shown more burst and speed than we expected and he is very close to being one of those guys who can break one anytime. Confidence is the key, he needs to commit and go. He took some "big hits" today.
Smiley picks up three carries today which says a lot at this point. If he was expected to really contribute, he likely would have been worked in more during the second half. Still, he had a solid 11 yard run and is going to be a good back to have in the arsenal.
FSU averaged 6.1 yards per carry. We do think that the loss of Ty Jones was felt, he is a better inside runner and brings his own dynamic to the position.
Willie Haulstead: 5-79, 1 TD
Bert Reed: 5-42
Beau Reliford: 2-32
Rodney Smith: 2-10
Taiwan Easterling: 1-7
Second straight week that Haulstead had five catches. He can really announce his arrival with a similar performance next week vs. Miami. He looks like a big piece to the future at the position. Ponder underthrew a sure TD, his numbers should have been better. Two TDs.
We commented last week on Reed not getting "loose" yet. He did on Saturday, but had it called back by a holding penalty. It was nice to see however.
Not ONE, but TWO catches by Reliford. There is a TE in this offense. While Haulstead has emerged, Smith has not(7 catches in 5 games). Easterling was not a factor for the second time in three week's.
We have quietly ran the ball well this year. There have been times that the pass protection has broken down, but overall it, too, has been excellent.
There is still a step to be taken here and we will face a stiff test in the Miami front 7 this weekend.
The 'Noles have scored 34, 31, and 34 points the last three weeks. That is 99 points and if you average 33 points a game.......you are going to win a lot games. When you factor in that even with this production, most feel there is MORE here, that we have not peaked, well that is a good situation to be in.
Unfortunately we showed our youth by coming out "flat" in the second half. The game was in hand and we "coasted". Experience will teach the youngsters that you can't do that in college football. The good news is that in the first half(when we were 'on') we scored three TDs and kicked two FGs in six possessions. We moved the ball at will. We punted on three of the four second half drives and gained little yardage on those drives.
The question is if we can "hit that stride" where everything is "clicking" and we can sustain it for multiple game stretches. That is why we have seven games left.