<
>
Insider

Power Rankings: Werner leads the way

9/3/2012

Ranking Florida State's top performers after the first week of the season:

1. Bjoern Werner, DE: The junior defensive end was dominant, recording four sacks, five tackles for a loss, forcing a fumble and breaking up a pass. There were some questions entering the game about how a trimmed-down Werner -- who dropped 20 pounds this offseason -- would perform. The answer was impressive.

2. The running game: It's impossible to pick just one of Florida State's runners to tout after Saturday's win. Lonnie Pryor had three touchdown runs, Debrale Smiley had two more, Devonta Freeman and Chris Thompson each ran effectively and James Wilder Jr. took over in the second half against a gassed Murray State D to finish with 106 yards on 12 carries. Overall, the ground game accounted for 285 yards.

3. Cornelius Carradine, DE: Preseason All-ACC defensive end Brandon Jenkins left the game during the first half, but FSU didn't miss a beat thanks to a dominant performance by Carradine -- who led the all defenders with nine tackles in the game, including one sack and two for a loss. Overall the D line held Murray State to just 39 yards rushing, with Carradine at the forefront of the effort.

4. Xavier Rhodes, CB: It was a nice job overall by the secondary, particularly given the transition FSU endured at corner, but Rhodes was the standout performer with five tackles and his first interception of the season, a floating deep ball that he settled under in the first half.

5. EJ Manuel, QB: Manuel wasn't asked to do a lot in Saturday's win, but that's as it should be. The senior QB made most of the passes he needed to -- save two bad drops by receivers -- but the running game shouldered the load. It wasn't a stat-padding performance that earns Heisman attention, but it was the workmanlike game FSU was looking for.