On a day when we honored the 1993 championship team and both of FSU's Heisman Trophy winners Charlie Ward and Chris Weinke were present for a half-time honor on the field, the 2003 version of the Florida State football team put on a show that was very reminiscent of some of the better performances of those past players watching this one from the sideline. In dismantling the Colorado Buffaloes by a 47-7 margin, this FSU team definitely raised more than a few eyebrows in the college football world, even if Colorado was without their starting quarterback and tailback, and hopefully took a major step forward in restoring our program to the level established in the dynasty era.
Chris Rix responded well to a rough performance the previous week against Georgia Tech by lighting up a very porous Colorado secondary for 394 yards. Craphonso Thorpe had a career high 205 yards receiving with 2 long TD catches and P.K. Sam chipped in an excellent 10 catch for 119 yard performance that saw him continue to impress in the playmaking department. Our offense was definitely having their way as we amassed 551 yards of total offense. Our passing game really found a great rhythm in going mostly to the shotgun attack to where our running game really wasn't needed in this one. Of course when DB's give 10 yards of cushion on almost every play, that makes it very easy to find success with the passing game, but we did do an excellent job of exploiting the vulnerabilities that were evident. Our ground game didn't perform at the level we'd prefer to see, but again, it wasn't really necessary in this contest. The area of our game that provided the most concern for me though was our failure to get touchdowns in the red zone. When the score was 19-7, the game was really starting to look like the script of a typical FSU-Miami game. While I didn't think we were going to lose this one, the tendency to not put a team away when we had them down was very evident as we were settling for so many field goals inside the Colorado 15 yard line. We're going to need more TDs on those drives against the Canes.
On the defensive side, it was a tale of two halves. In the first half of the game, we looked a lot like we did in the North Carolina and Georgia Tech games in allowing a lot of yardage and time-consuming sustained drives, but remaining very stingy at giving up points. Colorado had 236 yards of offense at half-time, but only seven points to show for that work. We were helped by Colorado missing two field goals (just like against UNC) that made the defensive performance a little bit deceiving. However in the second half, our D just completely dominated the game in allowing only 39 yards of offense and no points. That second half was our best defensive effort of the year so far. We definitely had the feeding frenzy effect going full throttle as Colorado melted in the humidity. Kamerion Wimbley was a one-man wrecking crew in this breakout game for him that will certainly result in more minutes for him as the season progresses.
This game was definitely a solid step forward for us. The next step is to develop greater consistency at playing at this level.
1. We had some trouble with stopping Colorado's ground game, particularly in the first half, as second string running back Brian Calhoun was able to hit us for 118 yards on 21 carries. The total rushing numbers show that we allowed only 83 yards on 38 carries, but those numbers are a little bit deceiving in showing a level of domination with our rushing defense that really wasn't the case on designed running plays. We didn't have a bad game at all in this area, just not the level of domination that the final numbers would indicate IMO. The lowlights for the rushing defense included:
--8 yard run allowed on the opening play from scrimmage by RB Calhoun: Kendyll Pope was blocked, Jerome Carter was blocked, and Allen Augustin was blocked.
--49 yard run allowed by RB Calhoun: Michael Boulware was destroyed by a phenomenal drive block by the Colorado TE that took out Stanford Samuels as well as he bulled Boulware backwards into Samuels, Allen Augustin was blocked, Jerome Carter took a bad angle (I think), B.J. Ward saved a TD by making the stop deep in our territory.
--3 yard run allowed by RB Vickers for a 2nd and 2 conversion. I noted this one because Broderick Bunkley had him at the line of scrimmage but missed the tackle.
--23 yard run allowed by RB Calhoun on a 3rd and 18 play from the three yard line: Michael Boulware was blocked, Rufus Brown was faked badly by the cutback and ran himself out of position, Allen Augustin with a block, B.J. Ward was late coming up for the stop. This was a terrible job by our defense. When we have a team pinned inside their own five yard line, we can't let them out like this.
--12 yard run allowed by RB Vickers: Michael Boulware was blocked, Bryant McFadden missed the tackle by taking a bad angle, Allen Augustin was thrown down, B.J. Ward was late with run support but did make the tackle.
--13 yard run allowed by RB Calhoun: A.J. Nicholson was totally out of position as a result of overpursuing, Darrell Burston was blocked, Claudius Osei fell down.
2. Our pass defense also had a few problems allowing a 15 of 31 for 192 yard day for the Colorado passing attack. If we could just take away the 81 yard TD pass to speedster Jeremy Bloom, the overall numbers would look a lot more impressive and we would have had a shutout. That is the big, ugly wart on an otherwise excellent performance. There were a few other small problems here and there, but nothing nearly as glaring as that miscommunication and busted coverage leading to their score. The lowlights for the pass defense included:
--8 yard catch allowed by WR McCoy for a 3rd and 3 conversion beating Bryant McFadden on a slant.
--14 yard catch allowed by WR Donahoe for a 3rd and 12 conversion beating Bryant McFadden on another slant. McFadden needs to get better at stopping this play.
--81 yard TD catch allowed by WR Bloom due to totally busted coverage by our defense. Michael Boulware said in a post-game interview that he told Kyler Hall to stay deep on the play, but that Hall didn't hear him due to crowd noise. As a result, Rufus Brown was beat badly thinking he had deep help.
--18 yard catch allowed by WR Hackett on a crossing pattern. It looked like Sam McGrew blew the coverage on this play as there was nobody covering this receiver. Hackett then put a ridiculous move on B.J. Ward to get an extra 6 yards on the play. That had to be very embarrassing for Ward.
--12 yard catch allowed by RB Calhoun on a screen pass: Stanford Samuels was blocked, Ernie Sims couldn't get out to him in time after coming off a block.
3. I only noted one major breakdown in pass protection on a day that saw us pass the ball 47 times. Chris Rix sacked for -7 yards. The pressure was allowed by Bobby Meeks mainly on this one but Rix didn't help by running into the pressure. A major face mask penalty bailed us out on this one, negating the sack in the final statistics, but I thought it should be mentioned here. Rix had his helmet turned completely around on this play. Game ball to the entire offensive line for an excellent job in this area of their game that was of the most importance on this day.
4. FSU was flagged for 7 penalties for 75 yards on the afternoon according to the Orlando Sentinel stats. I counted 8.
--15 yard penalty on our first drive on the play after the Colorado face mask. ABC didn't show the penalty here and I don't recall what this was for but it might have been a face mask on someone on our offensive line.
--Illegal procedure penalty on Chauncey Stovall. I'm not positive that this was on Stovall as I didn't see anyone really move. Stovall flinched his knee ever so slightly (maybe one inch) and if that was the call, it was very much a ticky-tack penalty IMO.
--Chauncey Stovall penalized for stepping out of bounds and coming back in. This was the correct call and a bad job of field awareness by Stovall, negating what would have been a very good catch and a very good job of coming back to help his QB on a scramble for a clutch 3rd and 8 conversion.
--15 yard punt reception interference penalty on Pat Watkins. I'm not fully clear on the current interpretation of a punt reception interference penalty. If it's entirely a contact being made situation, then I think this was a bad call as I don't think Watkins hit him. If there is any component to the current rule that allows the penalty to be called for non-contact actions that hinder the ability of the return man to receive the punt, then I'm OK with this call being made against Watkins. It looked to me like Watkins got very close to the return man and made something of a flinch motion that could have been very distracting before peeling off at the last moment to avoid contact.
--15 yard late hit penalty on A.J. Nicholson hitting the QB at the sideline. The QB had not stepped out of bounds prior to the hit. His foot touched the sideline simultaneously with the hit, so I'd have to question this call. We benefited from a similar call later on a Chris Rix scramble, so I will give the refs credit for consistency.
--Ray Willis with an illegal procedure penalty on a 3rd and 3 play.
--Roughing the punter penalty on Chauncey Davis as he got greedy for a second punt block. At this point Fabian Walker had to be getting upset with Chauncey for keeping our offense off the field. ;)
--Illegal procedure penalty on someone. ABC was late getting back so I couldn't tell who this penalty was on. This may have been for not having enough players on the line of scrimmage. Not sure.
5. Our failures in the passing game were few and far between. Dominic Robinson had some problems with dropped passes and we missed on a few others, but the number of bad plays from our air attack were minimal. Here are the lowlights:
--Chris Rix threw way behind Chris Davis on a pass over the middle.
--Chris Rix missed Craphonso Thorpe on a throw on first and goal from the one yard line. He threw this one way behind him as the ball slipped out of his hand on the release. Rix missed Donnie Carter standing all alone in the end zone as well on this play. With a good throw and/or a good read by Rix, this play would have scored, so I can't fault the play call too much here, but you have to wonder why we didn't Feed The Beast here on first and goal from the one.
--Dominic Robinson dropped the ball on a curl pass to kill a drive on a 3rd and 5 play.
--Chris Rix made a bad decision to scramble under pressure. On this one, he had Greg Jones wide open in the flat and should have hit him because there really was no room for Rix to run on this play. Rix did well to get 4 yards on the run. He held the ball too long to create the pressure situation as I could find no real fault here with our pass protection.
--P.K. Sam with a 5 yard catch on a 3rd and 6 play to kill a drive and force us to punt. Another of our infamous "throw the ball short of the marker on third down" plays. This one was especially irritating because it came after we had called a timeout.
--Dominic Robinson dropped a pass from Rix. This was a real shame as Rix had pulled off a brilliant escape from pressure and made a great throw. Robinson had three tries to make the catch as he was bobbling the ball, but he couldn't bring it in.
--Chris Rix threw too high on a slant to P.K. Sam and hung him out for a big hit from the safety.
--James Coleman with only a 1 yard gain on a flare pass. I know I've been calling for us to get the FB's more involved, but a 3rd and 10 play in the red zone just isn't the right time for that play call. Later in the game, we hit B. J. Dean on a good second down completion that was a much better time to bring a play like that out.
--Chris Rix threw high and behind Dominic Robinson on a pass over the middle. This one might have been catchable, but I'd put it more on Rix's bad pass than to call it a Robinson drop.
--Chris Rix with an incomplete bomb to P.K. Sam.
--Fabian Walker overthrew Willie Reid on a flare pass.
--Fabian Walker tried to thread the needle into triple coverage on a 3rd and 9 pass to Chauncey Stovall. He almost got it in there but the pass was broken up to force a punting situation.
6. Our rushing offense was a bit of a disappointment as the Buffaloes held us to 93 yards rushing on just 24 carries. Greg Jones looked like he was running tentatively as he was only able to pick up 26 yards on 9 carries. That's a major concern for us as we look forward to the Miami game. With Lorenzo Booker and Leon Washington still not back (though expected to be back), we definitely need Greg Jones running at full strength come October 11th. We should be able to get past Duke with injuries to our backs, but we're going to need everyone healthy against Miami. Hopefully whatever has caused Greg Jones to look so tentative these last couple of games will be remedied in time. For the game we had 11 unsuccessful carries for -11 yards. We also had 9 successful rushing plays for 88 yards. That totals to 20 carries for 77 yards, a 3.85 YPC average and a 45% success ratio on designed running plays. The lowlights for the running offense included:
--Willie Reid with a run for no gain: James Coleman with a decleater, Paul Irons with a block, Ray Willis didn't get his block, Eric Broe knocked his guy down, David Castillo with a block, Matt Meinrod with a double team block on Broe's man, Alex Barron with a block, P.K. Sam missed his block to kill the play. Reid needed to lunge forward to try to get the first down on this 2nd and 3 play instead of trying to get outside. I think if he would have lowered the shoulder, he would have been able to get the first down.
--Greg Jones with a run for no gain on a 2nd and 1 play: B.J. Dean with a block, Donnie Carter with a block, Ray Willis with a block, Bobby Meeks with a block, David Castillo with a pancake on Meeks' guy later in the play, Matt Meinrod was beat to the inside to help kill this play, Alex Barron with a block. Nobody blocked the LB that made the play. I'm not sure if Meeks or Castillo should have picked him up, but one of these two should have IMO.
--Chris Rix with a -4 yard run: B.J. Dean with a block, Dominic Robinson needed a better block, Ray Willis with a block, Bobby Meeks got caught in traffic and fell down, David Castillo with a block, Matt Meinrod pulled and missed his block to kill the play, Alex Barron with a block. I have no idea what we were doing here on second down from the one yard line. Rix didn't hand the ball to Jones and then rolled out on what looked to be a busted play as there was nothing happening with this play if it was designed for Rix to run. The curious thing about these first and second down play calls from the one yard line is that Colorado wasn't even in a goalline defense. I really have no idea why Rix didn't check to a running play upon seeing Colorado in a base defense at the one yard line.
--Greg Jones with a 1 yard run on 3rd and goal from the five yard line: Ray Willis with a block, Bobby Meeks with a block, David Castillo with a block, Matt Meinrod with a block, Alex Barron with a block. Colorado wasn't fooled by our 4 WR shotgun set here and was looking run.
--Willie Reid with a -1 yard run: James Coleman didn't block anybody, Paul Irons with a block and knocked a guy down, Ray Willis with a block, Bobby Meeks needed a better block, David Castillo needed a better block, Matt Meinrod didn't get his block, Alex Barron with a block.
--Greg Jones with a -2 yard run on a draw play crushed by a two safety blitz: Ray Willis with a block, Bobby Meeks with a block, David Castillo and Matt Meinrod with a double-team block, Alex Barron with a block. This was just the wrong play for that D as Colorado guessed right. If Jones could have gotten past those safeties, it probably would have been a touchdown run up the middle.
--Craphonso Thorpe with a -10 yard run on a delayed reverse: B.J. Dean with a decleater, Ray Willis with a light block, Paul Irons with a block, Bobby Meeks didn't block anybody, David Castillo with a block, Matt Meinrod with a block, Alex Barron didn't block anybody. This was definitely not the play to run on a 4th and 2 play.
--Greg Jones with a 4 yard run on a 3rd and 10 play: James Coleman with a block, Chauncey Stovall missed his block to kill the play, Ray Willis with a block, Eric Broe with a block, David Castillo with a block, Matt Meinrod with a block, Alex Barron with a block.
--Marlon Napier with a -2 yard run: B.J. Dean didn't block anybody, Ray Willis with a block, Eric Broe with a pancake, John Frady missed his block to kill the play, Matt Meinrod with a block, Alex Barron with a block.
--Ryan Reynolds with a 1 yard run: Chad Canfield didn't get his block, Donnie Carter with a block, Ron Lunford with a block, Eric Broe with a block, John Frady and Cory Niblock with a double team block then Niblock blocked another guy, Mario Henderson with a block.
--Marlon Napier with a 2 yard run: Chad Canfield with a block, Donnie Carter with a block, Ron Lunford with a block, Eric Broe pulled and fell down, John Frady with a block, Cory Niblock with a pancake, Mario Henderson with a block.
7. Jerome Carter inadvertently knocked down one of the refs, causing him to roll up Kendyll Pope's leg to cause an injury. Hopefully Pope will be able to make it back quickly.
8. Colorado was able to hold the ball for over 11 minutes in the first quarter and didn't have much trouble moving the ball in the first half. Fortunately they missed two field goals to shoot a blank on the scoreboard for all that effort. Their missing those two early field goals really changed the game IMO in that it really drained Colorado of a lot of confidence. It's difficult on a team to put together the kind of drives they had early in the game but see no points on the board when the dust settles. These early disappointments set the stage for their eventual wilting in the heat in the second half IMO as their mental energy level was being sapped just as their physical energy level was due to the heat.
9. Our red zone offense needs a lot of improvement as we had to settle for field goals three times on drives that made it inside the 15 yard line.
10. The other one of our field goals came after another clock management fiasco at the end of the half, so that one wasn't really so much of a missed red zone opportunity. But that's one where we have to work on our clock management as we did just about everything we could do to blow that scoring opportunity and should have been able to get at least one shot at the end zone here if we used our available time efficiently. With under 1 minute to go in the half, we threw a short pass to Greg Jones and he was tackled before the marker, so the clock was rolling. Instead of showing urgency to preserve time on the clock, Chris Rix nonchalantly brought us up to the line and wasted 30 seconds of clock before snapping the ball. We were up on the ball and ready to snap it for at least 15 seconds prior to actually snapping it. This was inexcusable and will cost us down the road if we don't correct the problem. Then on that play, we threw another pass to Jones short of the marker, which forced us to use our last time out after he was tackled. That made no sense at all. Then after a good completion to Craphonso Thorpe for a fourth down conversion to put us in field goal range with four seconds left, Chris Rix almost blew the time remaining by failing to snap the ball immediately when the clock started rolling again after the chains were set. He backed off the line for reasons completely baffling to me and then let two seconds roll off before snapping the ball and spiking it. This left it up to the refs to put one second back on the clock. Inexcusable. That we managed to get a field goal out of that opportunity was very fortunate because we definitely tried to blow it.
11. Greg Jones fumbled on the hit at the end of a flare pass that only got us a one yard gain. Fortunately the ball just barely rolled out of bounds here before Colorado could recover it.
12. I disagreed with our decision to go for it on a 4th and 2 play from the 27. We could have gone up 22-7 with a made field goal here and it would have been a 45 yard attempt. Beitia was doing a good job hitting on four field goals already at that point, so we should have let him try the longer one to push the lead beyond two scores.
13. We allowed a 38 yard kickoff return in the fourth quarter.
1. Xavier Beitia did a very good job with his kickoffs in this game, sending the opening kickoff out of the end zone and putting three others well into the end zone. He also connected on all four field goals attempted from short range (20, 26, 27, and 29 yards).
2. Our linebackers had another very good game, led by another very solid performance from Allen Augustin who has been a very pleasant surprise overall so far this season. He seems to have really stepped up his game and he hasn't seemed to have suffered yet from his smallish size at the middle linebacker position as I feared might be the case this year. He's probably playing the best ball of our starting linebackers at the moment. Game ball to Allen Augustin for another solid performance and to note his effort so far this year.
--Allen Augustin with a -1 yard TFL on a QB scramble.
--Allen Augustin with a tackle for no gain on a run by RB Calhoun.
--Michael Boulware with a solid, sure tackle to hold a completion to WR McCoy to an 11 yard gain for a 3rd and 16 stop. An 11 yard reception isn't ordinarily a positive play, but Boulware did a good job on this one, keeping the action in front of him.
--A.J. Nicholson and Bryant McFadden stuffed a 3rd and 10 completion for a 5 yard gain to force a punt and complete a three and out series for the defense.
--Michael Boulware with an excellent tackle to hold a 2nd and 3 catch by WR Hackett to a 2 yard gain. This was a textbook tackle.
--A.J. Nicholson with a -1 yard TFL after RB Calhoun was tripped by the QB.
--A.J. Nicholson with a good pass breakup for an incompletion on a 3rd and 10 play.
--Ray Piquion with a -2 yard TFL on a run by RB Vickers. Ernie Sims, Buster Davis and Pat Watkins were also in on the hit.
--Allen Augustin with a devastatingly vicious -6 yard sack! This was a textbook hit to crush the QB as he lifted him off the ground and planted him into the turf. I didn't know Augustin had this kind of hit in him.
--Allen Augustin gets a touch for a -2 yard TFL after a fumbled exchange between the Colorado QB and RB.
--A.J. Nicholson and Jerome Carter with good coverage for an incompletion on a 3rd and 28 play.
--Marcello Church with a totally vicious hit to hold a run by RB Caesar to a 1 yard gain. Another textbook tackle and planting here.
3. Our defensive linemen had a phenomenal afternoon, completely controlling the line of scrimmage for most of the game. The fact that we finished this game with an astounding 15 tackles for loss shows that Colorado's OL more than had their hands full with our DL. Kamerion Wimbley really had a breakout performance and looked like a complete monster in this game, finishing with a team leading seven tackles, two sacks, two additional tackles for loss, a good pressure, a forced fumble on a running play, and a recovered fumble on a botched punt attempt. Game ball to Kamerion Wimbley for a huge effort.
This was definitely the best performance of the year so far from our guys up front all-around. If we can get this level of performance from the DL on October 11th against Miami, I have to say that I really like our chances in that game. The long list of highlights for the DL against the Buffaloes included:
--Pressure by Darnell Dockett forced a QB scramble that allowed Allen Augustin to get a -1 yard TFL.
--Kamerion Wimbley with a devastating -5 yard sack! He leaped over a decleater attempt by a running back and crushed the QB.
--Eric Moore with a -2 yard TFL on a run by RB Calhoun.
--Darnell Dockett and Michael Boulware with a -2 yard TFL on a run by RB Calhoun.
--Kevin Emanuel with a huge -10 yard sack and forced fumble! He totally blew by the right tackle on this play. Eric Moore and Travis Johnson also were applying pressure on this play.
--Pressure by Darnell Dockett forced QB Greenberg to get rid of the ball resulting in an 11 yard catch on a 3rd and 16 play and the end of a Colorado drive.
--Darnell Dockett with a vicious -3 yard TFL destroying RB Calhoun immediately on an inside handoff.
--Kamerion Wimbley with a -2 yard TFL on a running play. Excellent job beating the tackle to the inside on this one by Wimbley.
--Pressure by Kevin Emanuel helped cause an incompletion for a 3rd and 2 stop.
--Eric Moore with an excellent pressure and pass deflection for an incompletion.
--Jeff Womble with a -2 yard TFL on a run by RB Calhoun after he slipped.
--Kamerion Wimbley forced a fumble on a 3rd and 1 running play by raking at the ball from behind. Jeff Womble recovered the fumble with 1:11 on the clock to set up another field goal to put us up by more than one score at halftime. This was a very important play in this game.
--Darnell Dockett and Allen Augustin with a -2 yard TFL on a run by RB Calhoun.
--Huge pressure and hit by Kamerion Wimbley caused an incompletion. Wimbley just blew by the tackle again. Kevin Emanuel also had pressure on this play.
--Kamerion Wimbley with a -7 yard TFL destroying a reverse to WR Bloom. Wimbley was blocked in the back but still managed to make the tackle. Monstrous job by Wimbley here.
--Big pressure by Kamerion Wimbley caused an incompletion and near interception for Leroy Smith.
--Kamerion Wimbley recovered a fumbled punt snap at the Colorado 12 yard line to set up a touchdown.
--Chauncey Davis with a punt block and 14 yard return for a TD! Excellent job with all three phases of the play (block, recovery, return). Stanford Samuels with a good block on the Colorado punter to help Davis get into the end zone.
--Kevin Emanuel and Darrell Burston with a huge pressure to force an incompletion.
--Charles Howard with an excellent -2 yard TFL on a run by RB Caesar.
--Charles Howard with a -6 yard sack!
--Kamerion Wimbley with a -7 yard sack! This closed out an absolutely phenomenal day for Wimbley. He reminded me of Virginia Tech's Corey Moore at his best in this game, just completely unblockable, unstoppable, and seemingly everywhere on the field.
4. Our secondary got in on the fun with a few solid plays. They didn't have a terribly active game because our front seven were busy racking up so many tackles/stops, but overall I'd say they did their jobs very well. The highlights for the defensive backs included:
--Jerome Carter held a 3rd and 10 run to a 5 yard gain to force Colorado's first missed FG attempt on their opening drive. Jeff Womble and Allen Augustin were also in on the stop.
--Jerome Carter with good coverage on RB Vickers to help cause an incompletion for a 3rd and 2 stop.
--B.J. Ward with a nice pass breakup on a sideline pattern to RB Calhoun who was lined up as a WR on the play.
--Leroy Smith with a nice pass breakup and near interception to cause an incompletion.
--Rufus Brown with good coverage to cause an incompletion on a deep ball.
--Stanford Samuels with an excellent pass breakup diving to knock the ball away on a 2nd and 1 pass. Then, in what looked to be an attempt to satisfy those FSU fans that like to use the word "swagger", he proceeded to do a set of pushups to "punish himself" for not making the interception.
--Huge pressure by Stanford Samuels on a corner blitz helped for an incompletion on a 3rd and 10 play.
--Antonio Cromartie with a pass breakup for an incompletion. This one should have been an interception. Cromartie mimicked Samuels in doing his set of pushups after this missed opportunity.
--Antonio Cromartie with an awesome hit at the sideline to hold a pass play to no gain.
5. Chris Rix had possibly his best game as a Seminole with a gaudy 30 of 39 for 394 yard performance with 2 TDs and 0 INTs. Game ball to Chris Rix for breaking out the shredder. When you factor in that he had a few dropped passes out there, the numbers could have been absolutely jaw-dropping, not that they weren't impressive enough as they were. Just counting the two drops that were definitely Dominic Robinson's fault and the one pass that should have been ruled a TD to P.K. Sam, Rix's numbers would have been 33 of 39 for around 450 yards. He seemed to benefit tremendously from our decision to more prominently utilize the Fast Break/shotgun offense and mostly did a very good job of seeing the field and hitting the open targets. This is the offense that I feel this year's team needs to utilize more than the I formation, so I was very happy to see us go this route on that side of the ball. That doesn't mean that we should stop using the I, just that the strengths/weaknesses of our team this year dictate the shotgun attack be utilized more IMO.
While Rix's performance and seeing him absolutely light up an opposing defense was definitely a welcomed sight, we should be careful to not get too confident over this performance. Colorado's passing defense was ranked #105 in the nation entering this contest. This was a secondary that was so bad that they made FSU's defensive backs of the last two seasons look exceptional in comparison. I never thought any pass defense could make me say that. I was shocked to see how many plays our receivers found themselves *completely* alone without a Colorado defender within (as many as) ten yards of them. It was so bad that if Chris Rix didn't have this sort of performance in this game, I'd be inclined to think that he could never have a performance like this. So while we should be happy with his effort, we shouldn't make the mistake of proclaiming Rix ready to shred a quality passing defense yet.
The long list of passing highlights on the day included:
--Craphonso Thorpe with a 21 yard catch on a deep out pattern. He was wide open on this play.
--P.K. Sam with a 22 yard catch and run on a 3rd and 25 curl pattern. Sam made a great move dodging two tacklers for six extra yards to put us in position to want to go for it on the subsequent 4th and 3 play. So basically, we really should give an assist to P.K. Sam on the beautiful TD pass to Craphonso Thorpe detailed below.
--Craphonso Thorpe with a 37 yard TD catch on a post pattern. This was a super-aggressive play call to go for the deep pass on 4th and 3 here, and that aggressiveness paid off in a big way with our opening touchdown. Chris Rix threw a total strike with this pass and then Thorpe did a good job breaking a tackle to get the score.
--P.K. Sam with an 18 yard catch on an out pattern. Wide open.
--Chris Davis with a nice 16 yard catch.
--Dominic Robinson with a nice 9 yard catch over the middle.
--P.K. Sam with a 21 yard TD catch that wasn't. I'm not putting this incompletion in the negatives section because it was too beautiful a play to end up there. Sam was robbed on the call by making a catch that was just too good for the ref to believe. FSU would/should have had 51 points on the day instead of 47 had this call been made correctly. This was a perfect throw and a sensational catch by Sam. The Tallahassee Democrat had a photo that showed Sam's foot clearly inbounds on this play. The photo was just before the point that possession was established, but watching it in freeze-frame mode on my tape, there was no juggling of the ball and Sam's foot was planted with about an inch of grass visible after possession was established as it was in the photo.
--Dominic Robinson with an excellent 8 yard catch over the middle with a defender all over him. Pass interference was called on the play and we took the penalty, but I thought I should mention Robinson's nice catch.
--Willie Reid with an 8 yard catch over the middle for a 2nd and 5 conversion.
--Craphonso Thorpe with a 24 yard catch on a deep out pattern. Wide open.
--P.K. Sam with a 17 yard catch and run on a hitch pattern. Great moves shown again by Sam to get 12 extra yards after the catch. P.K. Sam has thoroughly impressed me so far this year in proving himself to be a major playmaking receiver with moves like those shown on this play. Someone else on the team is going to have to get the "possession receiver" tag. He's starting to remind me a lot of E.G. Green.
--Chris Rix with a 25 yard strike to Craphonso Thorpe for a 4th and 3 conversion. On this one, Rix showed good field awareness in not crossing the line of scrimmage while he scrambled to buy time. In 2001 or 2002, this would have probably been a penalty to negate the play. Thorpe wasted a few seconds trying to get a few more yards when he needed to get down with under ten seconds left in the half and FSU with no timeouts.
--P.K. Sam with a 10 yard catch on an out pattern.
--Craphonso Thorpe with a 16 yard catch on an out pattern. Wide open.
--Dominic Robinson with a 19 yard catch on a strike from Chris Rix on a slant pattern.
--P.K. Sam with a 9 yard catch and run on a short out pattern. Sam with some good fight to pick up 6 extra yards after the catch.
--Craphonso Thorpe with a sensational 66 yard TD catch on a bomb. Chris Rix hit him in stride with a beautiful pass. I saw this play as a TD as soon as Rix started back to pass to where I could tell we were looking for the home run. Thorpe just blew by the defender. I guess we decided to just not mess with getting into the red zone here. Game ball to Craphonso Thorpe who responded ***very positively*** to his rough game against Georgia Tech that resulted in his starting job being threatened.
--P.K. Sam with a 23 yard catch on a deep out pattern. Wide open yet again. Game ball to P.K. Sam for his 10 catch, 119 yard performance that would have been spectacular in it's own right if not overshadowed by Thorpe's 205 yard day.
--Craphonso Thorpe with an 11 yard catch and run on a curl pattern pass from Fabian Walker.
--Willie Reid with a 15 yard catch and run on a 3rd and 7 play. He made two nice moves on the run for extra yardage here.
--Lorne Sam with a 27 yard catch and run on a curl pattern. Good running by Sam to break a tackle and make a move for more yardage. Colorado had a 5 yard face mask penalty tacked on to the end of the run.
6. Pat Watkins had a tackle at the 11 yard line on a kickoff return after the Colorado return man slipped. Marcello Church (I think) and Gerard Ross had a good tackle at the 19 yard line on a kickoff.
7. Our running game has seen better days, but it really wasn't needed on a day where I think we could have passed for 600+ yards if we really wanted to. We had 9 successful rushing plays for 88 yards. Here are the highlights for the ground game:
--Willie Reid with a 7 yard run: James Coleman with a block, Paul Irons with a light block, Ray Willis with a block, Eric Broe with a block, David Castillo with two blocks, Matt Meinrod with a block, Alex Barron with a block. I think P.K. Sam missed his block on this one, but I'm not positive.
--Chris Rix with a 9 yard run on a QB draw play: B.J. Dean missed his block, Ray Willis with a block, Bobby Meeks with a block but was knocked down, David Castillo did a great job on this play getting two blocks (knocking one guy off balance and then pancaking another guy), Matt Meinrod with a block and knocked his guy down, Alex Barron with a block.
--Greg Jones with a 4 yard run on 3rd and 1: B.J. Dean with a decleater, Donnie Carter with a decleater, Ray Willis didn't get his block, Bobby Meeks with a light block, David Castillo with a block, Matt Meinrod with a block, Alex Barron was beat to the outside to kill the play, Paul Irons knocked his guy down.
--Willie Reid with a 38 yard run: James Coleman destroyed his man, Paul Irons with a block, Ray Willis with a block, Bobby Meeks with a block but was knocked down, David Castillo with a block, Matt Meinrod with a block, Alex Barron with a block, Chauncey Stovall with a block. Reid with an excellent stiff arm on this run to get around the corner, then had a sensational juke move to get past another defender while staying inbounds prompting the ABC announcers to deem him to be a magician of sorts saying it didn't look possible for him to do what he did. Willie Reid is a very valuable player for this team that continues to just make plays.
--Greg Jones with a 4 yard run on a 3rd and 1 play: James Coleman with a decleater, Paul Irons with a block, Donnie Carter with a block, Ray Willis with a block, Eric Broe pulled and got a pancake, David Castillo with a pancake, Matt Meinrod with a block, Alex Barron with a block.
--Greg Jones with an 11 yard run on a pitch play: B.J. Dean with a block, Craphonso Thorpe with two blocks (good job), Donnie Carter with a block, Ray Willis with a block, Eric Broe pulled and missed his block, David Castillo with a light block, Matt Meinrod with a block, Alex Barron with a light block. This was a very strong run by Jones and a good cut.
--Greg Jones with a 1 yard TD run: B.J. Dean with a block, Donnie Carter with a block, Ray Willis with a block, Eric Broe pulled and knocked his guy down, David Castillo with a block, Matt Meinrod with a block, Alex Barron with a pancake, Paul Irons with a block. This is what we should have done from the one yard line in the second quarter.
--Marlon Napier with an 11 yard run on a misdirection pitch: Chad Canfield with a block, Donnie Carter didn't get his block (not positive on that but I think he missed it), Ron Lunford missed his block, Eric Broe with a block, John Frady with two blocks, Cory Niblock with a block, Mario Henderson with a block, Joey Kaleikini missed his block.
--Ryan Reynolds with a 3 yard TD run on a pitch play: Chad Canfield with a block, Donnie Carter with a block, Ron Lunford with a block, Eric Broe pulled and missed his block, John Frady with a decleater, Cory Niblock knocked his guy down, Mario Henderson and Paul Irons with a double team block, Chris Davis with what looked to be a decleater (couldn't tell with certainty as it was off the screen, but the defender never came back into the play).
8. Chris Rix made a couple of smart decisions to run the ball on scrambles.
--1 yard run for a first down on a scramble with a 15 yard late hit penalty added to the end of the run.
--7 yard run for a first down on a 2nd and 4 scramble. This was a good decision to run as it was there for him. He did have Jones wide open in the flat on this play, but there's no reason to risk an incompletion when Rix was confident in his ability to pick up the yardage himself. It was like an infielder making an unassisted play to beat a runner to the bag rather than risking an unnecessary throw. Rix did make a nice move on the run to get around a DB as well.
9. I felt very good about our chances with a 16-7 halftime lead. I had thought Colorado would start well in this game and that we would come back in the second half as I knew they would wilt in the Tallahassee heat. That we had a lead at the half said to me that we were in very good shape. It also said to me that we were better prepared to play in this game than against Georgia Tech. The field goal to go up by 9 at the half was very big IMO. It actually was a very evenly played first half as it would have been 16-13 if Colorado had made their field goals. But that changed completely as Florida State dominated the second half with 31 points to Colorado's zero.
10. We had an excellent crowd of 83,294 at this game for the third largest crowd in FSU history. I expect a new record crowd for the Miami game.
This was a thoroughly convincing and dominating performance by the FSU squad, especially in the second half. We were one busted coverage away from pitching a shutout in this game. This effort definitely goes a long way towards validating our claims that the real FSU is back on the college football scene, but it doesn't bring us all the way there. Our defense certainly looks to be for real as we now lead the nation in scoring defense. We won't find out exactly how "back" we are until October 11th though.
PLAYERS OF THE GAME:
Offense: Chris Rix and Craphonso Thorpe (with a tip of the hat to P.K. Sam)
Defense: Kamerion Wimbley
Special Teams: Xavier Beitia