E.J. Manuel: 15-24, 210, 0/1. 15-71, 1 TD rushing
Manuel showed some real heart and play-making ability on a crucial 4th quarter drive. He has a live arm and got the ball down the field. Clutch throw late in the 4th to Smith. He was not perfect, the interception was on him, he some inaccurate passew, but overall this was a solid performance and Manuel clearly showed that there is superstar potential here.
He is a better runner than Christian Ponder and as he can cleans up the last little issues in his delivery.....his accuracy should only improve. Even if he only starts this game this year, it is another step in his development.
It is interesting to note that Manuel threw for more yards than all but two of Ponder's starts this year and ran for more yards than Ponder has in any game.
Ty Jones: 6-18
Chris Thompson: 3-16
Jermaine Thomas: 3-4
Lonnie Pryor: 1-5
FSU never established any traditional running game. They did, at times, have some success with some option. Not a very good game from the backs, while there was not a ton of opportunity, they did not break any tackles either. Making matters worse, Thomas looked to suffer an injury that could keep him out for a while. It is a talented Clemson front and they won the battle at the line of scrimmage.
Thompson seemed to play less than expected while confidence was shown in Jones. This is back to back weeks where we have not run the ball particularly well. That needs to change this week vs. Maryland.
Rodney Smith: 4-121
Beau Reliford: 4-35
Taiwan Easterling: 2-22
Kenny Shaw: 1-8
It was Smith's turn for a coming out party. He came close to grabbing another big gainer as well, one that could have iced the game. He has had his moments, but this was clearly his most complete game of the year. It was reported that Willie Haulstead suffered a mild concussion, thus missed some of the game. Easterling remained somewhat quiet, while Bert Reed did not register a catch. Both Shaw and Greg Dent(an ill fated reverse) played tonight.
Despite Smith's night, this unit has to be better. It is not just catching the ball, they need to block better down the field. This unit remains a work in progress.