Monday, November 12, 2012
Florida State 10: Week 10 rankings
By David M. Hale
Rashad Greene had his best performance of the season and caught the game-winner at Virginia Tech.
With 10 games in the books, there hasn't been a lot of shuffling in the power rankings for Florida State, whose top performers have remained consistent throughout the season. But Thursday's dramatic, come-from-behind win over Virginia Tech included a handful of marquee performances, and that's forced a change at the top of the rankings and a few new names sneaking in toward the bottom. (Last week's ranking in parentheses.)
1. Cornellius Carradine, DE (3) It might have seemed impossible to believe before the season started, but Florida State's best defensive player might have been the guy on the bench at defensive end for Game 1. Since Brandon Jenkins was lost for the season, however, Carradine has blossomed, and he could be well on his way to landing in the first round of the 2013 NFL draft. His 11-tackle performance against Virginia Tech was dominant, and with 64 tackles this season, Carradine leads all ACC defensive linemen. His nine sacks also ranks No. 1 in the conference, and he is eighth in tackles-for-loss with 10.
2. Bjoern Werner, DE (1) In fairness, a good portion of Carradine's production comes from offenses staying away from Werner's side of the field. Werner's eight sacks are second in the ACC, his 12.5 TFLs rank fourth, and he's chipped in with six pass breakups, six passes defended and five QB hurries.
3. EJ Manuel, QB (2) Manuel wasn't entirely sharp against Virginia Tech but he made plays when he had to. Despite being sacked five times and getting virtually no support from the running game, Manuel threw for 326 yards and three touchdowns, including the game-winning 39-yard TD pass to Rashad Greene with just 40 seconds left to play. It was his third 300-yard game of the season.
4. Christian Jones, LB (4) Jones turned in another solid performance against Virginia Tech, showing skills in defending the run and in coverage. He finished with nine tackles and is tied with Carradine for the team lead with 64.
5. Lamarcus Joyner, S (5) Joyner was busier than usual against Virginia Tech, but he largely held his own. While the FSU secondary was shaky at times against the Hokies, none of Virginia Tech's big pass plays could be blamed on Joyner, who finished the game with six tackles.
6. Xavier Rhodes, CB (6) It wasn't Rhodes who was responsible for Virginia Tech's success in the passing game, either. He finished with four tackles, but the Hokies largely stayed away from the physical corner, taking aim at Nick Waisome and Tyler Hunter instead. Rhodes remains one of the ACC's elite defensive backs and his eight passes defended leads the team.
7. Telvin Smith/Vince Williams, LB (NR) Perhaps it's not entirely fair to count both players together, but the middle linebacker duo has played exceptionally well this season. Williams was a beast against Virginia Tech, making five tackles -- including one for a loss -- and had two QB hurries and forced a fumble. Smith, meanwhile, had seven tackles and a TFL. For the season, the tag-team partners have a combined 79 tackles, including 11 for a loss -- both stats that would lead the team if they belonged to one individual player.
8. Timmy Jernigan, DT (8) Jernigan had three tackles, combined with Demonte McAllister on a TFL and helped the FSU run defense to another strong game up the middle. The Hokies ran the ball 36 times but mustered an average of just 2.4 yards per carry.
9. Rashad Greene, WR (NR) It's been an up-and-down year for Greene, whose catch totals for the last six games have been a roller coaster -- 22, 6, 1, 7, 1 and 6. Thursday's performance was by far his best of the season, however, as he accounted for 125 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winner. It was just the second 100-yard game of his career and his first two-TD performance since Sept. 10, 2011.
10. James Wilder Jr., RB (NR) It's tough to have anything too positive to say about the FSU running game Thursday, as the Seminoles turned in what was statistically their fourth-worst performance in program history. Wilder did little to help, managing just 13 yards on four carries, but his final rush -- and his only carry of the second half -- was a huge 7-yard rumble up the middle to convert a fourth-and-1 on the game-winning drive. He also had three catches for 21 yards out of the backfield.