Florida State Seminoles: Collin Klein

By the Numbers: EJ's inconsistency

January, 11, 2013
With the 2012 season officially in the books, we took a look through the stats to determine some of the most significant improvements and problems Florida State endured this year, with five stats that defined 2012.

The numbers don't always tell the whole story, but these numbers shed some light on some of the biggest reasons Florida State won 12 games and its first ACC title in seven years, and also why those other two games got away.

We started with a look at the ground game on Monday.

We looked at some curious playcalling by Jimbo Fisher on Tuesday.

We looked at the impressive work by FSU's secondary on Wednesday.

We looked at the depth on the Seminoles' defensive line on Thursday.

[+] EnlargeEJ Manuel
Jeremy Brevard/USA TODAY SportsQB EJ Manuel had a career year, but the numbers suggest that he wasn't necessarily getting better as the season went along.
And finally: 156.03.

That was EJ Manuel's passer rating this season, which ranked second in the ACC and 15th nationally, just a tick behind Heisman finalist Collin Klein.

That rating was an improvement over 2011, as were virtually all of his other stats -- passing yards (3,392), touchdowns (23), completion percentage (68.0) and yards per attempt (8.8). And yet, it's hard to call Manuel's season a complete success.

Big picture, Manuel took a step forward in his fifth year in the program and his second as the full-time starter, but he was maddeningly inconsistent at times, with the loss to Florida -- in which he accounted for five turnovers -- as the low point.

And while the season as a whole represented progress for Manuel, the numbers suggest he might have regressed as the year went along.


In FSU's final five games of the season, the offense mustered fewer than 400 yards four times -- it had topped that total in every other game in 2012 -- and Manuel threw for fewer than 200 yards three times.

The battle to become the next starting quarterback at FSU will be the biggest story of the spring, and while replacing Manuel won't be easy, there are reasons a sizable contingent of fans are excited about the alternatives.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- EJ Manuel walked off the field last week wounded.

His head was woozy and his body beaten after a physical game against Florida, but it was the mental scars that were so evident when it was over. Manuel was beaten, his final home game concluding as one of his worst.
[+] EnlargeEJ Manuel
Sam Sharpe/US PresswireEJ Manuel was the starter in FSU's last appearance in tha ACC title game, but threw two interceptions in the loss to Virginia Tech.

Manuel's misery was intense, but it was short lived.

"He’s been through this enough where he’ll put it behind him because there is a lot to accomplish," Jimbo Fisher said.

Manuel gets his second crack at an ACC championship and his first shot at redemption following the loss to Florida when he takes on Georgia Tech's woeful defense Saturday with a conference title hanging in the balance.

It won't erase the scars of Florida, but it would be an accomplishment no other FSU quarterback has managed in seven years.

“It is a championship game and it hasn’t been done here since ’05," Manuel said. "You just have to move on, process [the loss] and understand why you made those mistakes. Can’t go out there and do that [this] week.”

Manuel is making his second ACC championship game start. The first came as something of a surprise against Virginia Tech in 2010, and Manuel managed to impress -- completing 75 percent of his passes and throwing for 288 yards -- but this time he expects even more.

“It’s kind of like a second bowl game," Manuel said. "The implications of this game are huge and I understand that, my teammates understand that, so we have to get the job done.”

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