- David M. Hale, ESPN Staff Writer
In an ugly win over South Florida, there weren't many style points to be gained. But a handful of Seminoles stood out, and the top of the FSU power rankings remains largely unchanged.
Last week's rankings in parentheses.
1. EJ Manuel, QB (1)
Saturday's stats hardly compare to his huge numbers against Clemson, but Manuel was masterful when he had to be. He finished 19-of-26 passing for 242 yards and a touchdown, and he missed a potential six points to Rodney Smith in the end zone in the second half. But Manuel connected on a handful of big plays, including third-down bombs to Rashad Greene and Kenny Shaw.
2. Bjoern Werner, DE (2)
For the second straight game, Werner was held without a sack, but again his impact was felt. USF worked to avoid running at Werner's side of the field, hence his two tackles compared to Cornellius Carradine's nine. But Werner had a big pass breakup and helped corral the perimeter running game and USF's option attack. The Bulls mustered just 125 yards on the ground -- 82 of which came in the first quarter when virtually every rush went to the opposite side of the defense.
3. Chris Thompson, RB (3)
It certainly wasn't a glamorous game for Thompson either, at least compared to his two monster performances against Wake Forest and Clemson. But Thompson was impressive nevertheless, picking up 98 yards from scrimmage and coming up just short of two monster runs. The first would've been a 70-yard touchdown run, but it was negated on a holding call against Kelvin Benjamin. The second might've been a 38-yard scamper for a score, but Thompson chose to pull up after just 17 yards to run out the clock.
4. Cornellius Carradine, DE (5)
If USF was trying to avoid Werner, the Bulls were more than happy to go right at Carradine. The approach found some measure of success on the opening drive, but Carradine shut the door after that, finishing with a team-high nine tackles. But his biggest play came when he found a free lane to backup QB Matt Floyd on the final play of the third quarter, demolishing Floyd, who fumbled. Christian Jones scooped up the turnover for a touchdown in what was the game's defining play and FSU's first defensive touchdown of the season.
5. Xavier Rhodes, CB (6)
Once again, the opposition found little available downfield with Rhodes, Ronald Darby and Nick Waisome playing well at the corner positions. Rhodes blanketed USF's big-play receiver, Andre Davis, throughout, holding him to just one catch for 3 yards. More importantly, Rhodes picked off a B.J. Daniels pass late in the second quarter to allow FSU to tack on an additional three points with just three seconds remaining before halftime.
6. Lamarcus Joyner, S (4)
Joyner suffers from the same problem as Werner. He's not padding his stats because teams are simply wary of attacking him. The safety finished with three tackles against USF, but the Bulls' big-play offense found little room downfield. USF's only two passing plays of more than 15 yards were to the opposite side of the field from Joyner.
7. Rashad Greene, WR (8)
Greene still has yet to enjoy a breakout day in the passing game, but he caught two of FSU's biggest plays Saturday -- a 39-yard reception in the second quarter to convert a third down and a 32-yarder to open a third-quarter drive that ended with a touchdown. Greene also found paydirt on FSU's first scoring drive with a 10-yard end around. And while he failed to return any of USF's six punts, he also didn't fumble any of them, either. That's minor progress.
8. Timmy Jernigan, DT (7)
It was a solid overall game from Jernigan, who finished with two tackles, including one for a loss, and helped stifle the USF ground game, but his personal-foul flag following Jones' scoop-and-score touchdown set up a touchdown on the Bulls' ensuing drive.
9. Christian Jones, LB (NR)
The big tackle numbers simply haven't been there for Jones, but the weakside linebacker was much better about maintaining his responsibilities against USF than he was a week ago against Clemson, and it paid off with his first touchdown since high school.
10. Lonnie Pryor, FB (NR)
A 44-yard run was the highlight of the game for Pryor, but he finished as FSU's second leading rusher with 65 yards and added one catch for six yards. Through five games, Pryor already has more yards (160) and touchdowns (four) than he had all of last season, and he's well on his way to setting career highs across the board.