Sophomore Christian Ponder won the job during the offseason and he's had an up and down season up to this point. He was benched at one point in the Wake Forest game in favor of fellow sophomore De'vonte Richardson but for the most part, he's had a solid season. The former three-star recruit has completed 40-of-79 passes for 547 yards, six touchdowns, and four picks so far. He'll also be the second quarterback UM has faced so far this season that can make things happen with his feet. He does an excellent job of avoiding tackles behind the line of scrimmage and actually has 118 yards on the ground through four games. Richardson is 20-for-38 for 240 yards, two touchdowns, and two picks. He's added 152 yards and three scores on the ground. The two quarterbacks have combined to throw 58 passes over the last two weeks and have been sacked just one time during that time. Senior Drew Weatherford is now third string and has attempted just two passes this season, completing one of them.
Senior Antone Smith has been Florida State's best offensive player so far this season. A former five-star prospect who picked the Noles over the Canes at the final hour four years ago, Smith has carried the ball 53 times for 302 yards and five touchdowns so far this season. He also has three receptions, including a touchdown. He now has 1,575 career rushing yards and 13 scores. At 5-9 and 190, Smith will be one of the most explosive players on the field Saturday. His backup is true freshman Jermaine Thomas, a four-star recruit last year who has done a nice job making an early impact for the Noles. He has carried the ball 27 times this season for 162 yards and a couple scores. At 6-1 and 180, he doesn't have Smith's breakaway speed. Fullback Joe Surratt (6-1/248) has been leading the way the last couple seasons.
Senior Greg Carr (6-6, 214) has been FSU's best receiver over the last few years and this season has been no different. He leads the team with 12 catches for 173 yards and one touchdown. For his career, he has 121 catches for 2,205 yards and 26 touchdowns. The UM secondary has struggled against big, physical receivers so far this season so this will be an interesting matchup to watch. Junior Preston Parker (6-0, 197) gives FSU a big play threat out there as well. He didn't play in the team's first few games and came back last week with three catches for 34 yards. Carr isn't the only big receiver presence for the Noles, as they have junior Corey Surrency, who at 6-5 and 220, has five catches for 101 yards and three touchdowns already. He was a five star Juco transfer this past recruiting season. Redshirt freshman Tawain Easterling (10 for 116), junior Rod Owens (6 for 76), redshirt freshman Bert Reed (7 fot 129 and 1 TD), and freshman Jarmon Forston (5 fot 61 and 1 TD) have also been involved in making plays in the FSU passing game. This will be the deepest group of receivers the Canes have faced so far this season.
Junior Caz Piurowski (6-7, 280) has gone back and forth between tight end and offensive tackle during his FSU career. After serving a three-game suspension to start the season, Piurowski returned against Colorado and had three catches for 33 yards. He's a big, strong kid who offers a lot as a blocker in the running game as well. True freshmen Bo Reliford (two star recruit from south Florida) and Ja'Baris Little (three-star recruit from Tallahassee) provide depth but are largely unproven up to this point.
Florida State has one of the youngest offensive lines in the country this season, if not THE youngest. They started a couple true freshmen at tackle last week -- former three-star Andrew Datko from St. Thomas Aquinas on the left side and former four-star Zebrie Sanders from Ohio on the right side. Redshirt freshman Antwane Greenlee will also see action there. Sophomore Rodney Hudson and redshirt freshman Will Furlong man the guard spots, while center Ryan McMahon is considered FSU's best lineman. The talented sophomore is on the Remington Watch List. This group is very young but they've done a real nice job the last couple weeks. Against Wake and Colorado, this unit has helped the team average 4.9 yards per carry on 79 tries and it's only given up one sack in the last two games (58 pass attempts). They haven't seen a defensive line as deep and talented as Miami's yet, however.