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Monday, November 19, 2012
FSU 10: Week 12 player power rankings

By David M. Hale

Maryland didn't figure to put up much of a fight against Florida State, and the Seminoles big lead at the half was no surprise. But while a win was expected, the overall performance -- particularly from the running game -- was a much-needed rebound after the struggles of the previous game.

Here's how the power rankings shake out after 11 games (last week's ranking in parentheses).

Bjoern Werner, Timmy Jernigan
Bjoern Werner (left) continued his stellar play for FSU.
1. Cornellius Carradine, DE (1)
Carradine's continued dominance is finally turning heads, and on Saturday he was again at his best. He finished with five tackles, and now leads the team in tackles (69). His 10.5 sacks are tops in the ACC, and he's added eight more QB hurries. On Saturday, he picked up a fumble recovery for good measure, and he and teammate Bjoern Werner's combined 20 sacks this season is the most by any pair of teammates in the country.

2. Bjoern Werner, DE (2)
Werner turned in his best performance in weeks against Maryland. He finished the game with four tackles, including two for a loss, while adding 1.5 sacks and a PBU. Werner trails only Carradine in the ACC in sacks (9.5), and he's just one off the conference lead in TFLs (14.5) for the season. Perhaps most telling of Werner's impact is that, as a defensive lineman, he's tied for first on the team in pass breakups (7) and second in passes defended (7).

3. EJ Manuel, QB (3)
For the second straight game, Manuel was under a good bit of pressure and was sacked three times. That didn't stop him from connecting on two touchdown throws, and his day was over after three quarters. For the season, Manuel is third nationally in yards per attempt (9.4), seventh in QB rating (167.53), and 10th in completion percentage (68.8 percent).

4. Lamarcus Joyner, S (5)
Joyner had four tackles in Saturday's win over Maryland, and he continues to be the bedrock of FSU's strong secondary. Joyner's numbers don't necessarily underscore his impact -- he's fifth on the team with 39 tackles, and he's chipped in with one INT, five passes defended and four pass breakups -- but his presence on the field routinely impacts opponents' offensive game plans.

5. Christian Jones, LB (4)
Jones was relatively quiet Saturday, finishing with three tackles. He's second on the team in tackles (67) and has six TFLs, two fumble recoveries and three PBUs.

6. Xavier Rhodes, CB (6)
Rhodes finished without a tackle Saturday, as Maryland largely avoided attacking his side of the field. The Terps did complete three long passes in the game, but that was the extent of the success fifth-string QB Shawn Petty had in the passing game. Rhodes remains one of the elite corners in the nation.

7. Timmy Jernigan, DT (8)
Jernigan led all FSU defenders with six tackles Saturday, including chipping in on one TFL. FSU pass rush was exceptional, and the strong push Jernigan and the interior line got up the middle helped Werner and Carradine rack up a combined three sacks. Meanwhile, Maryland finished with just 34 yards on 34 carries on the ground.

8. Rashad Greene, WR (9)
Greene had just 50 yards receiving Saturday, but he hauled in a touchdown pass for the third straight game and led FSU in receptions. Greene leads FSU in receptions (38), receiving yards (549) and receiving TDs (5). Greene also returned to punt-return duties, splitting work with Kenny Shaw.

9. Devonta Freeman, RB (NR)
One week after the worst game of his career, Freeman turned in a career-best 148 yards rushing. He averaged 9.2 yards per carry and scored twice, leading a ground game that picked up positive yardage on every designed run. Despite finishing with negative yards against Virginia Tech, Freeman remains third in the ACC in yards per carry (7.03) this season. He's just 45 yards shy of his total from 2011, despite spending the bulk of the season as a reserve.

10. Telvin Smith/Vince Williams, LB (7)
FSU's middle linebacker platoon had another strong performance, making eight tackles, including two for a loss. While Williams has been a stalwart in stuffing the run, and Smith has been strong in coverage, they've combined to produce impressive results for the Seminoles. Together, they've racked up 87 tackles, 13 TFLs and seven QB hurries this season, while helping FSU to the top of the national rankings in rushing defense.

Honorable mentions: RB James Wilder Jr., K Dustin Hopkins, DT Demonte McAllister, DT Everett Dawkins