- David M. Hale, ESPN Staff Writer
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From EJ Manuel's 400-yard passing game to Rodney Smith's career day receiving to Dustin Hopkins' record-setting kick, there were plenty of Seminoles putting up big numbers against Boston College. Here are five stats that made the difference in FSU's 51-7 victory.
9. That's the number of passing plays called by Jimbo Fisher to start the game. Fisher insists he wasn't out to send a message following a week's worth of criticism surrounding his more conservative approach against NC State, but it was certainly noteworthy given that Boston College ranks among the worst run defenses in the nation. FSU also opened its first drive pinned inside the 1-yard line, but Manuel looked deep on four of his first six throws, finally connecting on a 77-yard bomb to Kenny Shaw for a touchdown to wrap up the first drive.
1,632. That's the number of rushing yards Florida State has racked up this season after finishing Saturday's game with 201 yards on the ground. That total through seven games is a whopping 174 more rushing yards than the Seminoles mustered in all of 2011. The 233.1 yards per game FSU is averaging on the ground is more than double last year's average, and Chris Thompson's 68 yards Saturday gives him 640 for the season, 61 more than Devonta Freeman's team-leading total from last season. Thompson needs to average just 60 yards per game (51.4 if FSU plays in the ACC championship) to become the school's first 1,000-yard rusher since 1996.
2. That's the number of Florida State's plays Saturday that went for a loss -- a 6-yard sack of Manuel and a 1-yard TFL on a Freeman run. That's not necessarily proof of a big step forward for the offensive line. BC entered the game with just four sacks on the year (second worst in the ACC) and just 12 tackles for a loss (worst in the conference), but it was remarkable what the extra time in the pocket did for Manuel and the FSU offense. In the previous two games, the Seminoles allowed 19 negative plays, and not coincidentally, they turned in their two worst offensive performances of the season.
439. That's the number of passing yards for Manuel, a career high. But that's just the beginning of the huge numbers in the passing game. Manuel said he'd never thrown for 400 yards in a game -- even in high school. For Florida State, it's the first time a quarterback has topped the 400-yard mark since Chris Weinke threw for 521 against Clemson in 2000. Manuel's four touchdown passes and 27 completions also tied his career highs. He completed passes to nine different receivers -- Fisher was shocked to see that Nick O'Leary wasn't one of them -- including nine completions to Smith, also a career high. Smith and Kenny Shaw became the first pair of FSU receivers to top the 100-yard mark in the same game in a year, and Shaw's 77-yard TD catch represented a career high for both he and Manuel. And while Fisher insists airing it out had nothing to do with sending a message after last week's loss, it's also worth noting that Manuel's 439 yards more than doubled his passing yardage total against NC State.
16. That's the number of consecutive second-half kickoffs Florida State had fielded and failed to follow with a touchdown before marching down the field for an eight-play, 75-yard scoring drive to open the second half against BC. FSU had come up empty on four straight opening possessions of the second half this year, but Fisher said the team worked on upping the intensity in practice with eyes on ending the streak, which finally happened on a 3-yard run by Lonnie Pryor.
4dDavid M. Hale
4dDavid M. Hale