FSU Beat: Seminoles Looking to Reach Bye Week at 8-1

Florida State successfully took care of business against the Miami Hurricanes on Saturday night, despite a more than shaky start and a great deal of controversy and sadness resulting from the win. The biggest story on the Seminole front is the loss of senior tailback Chris Thompson, who tore his ACL early in the game. Thompson was on pace to have the best season by a Seminole back since 1996, with a shot at eclipsing the 1,000 yard mark and even an outside shot at the single season team record of 1,418. Thompson was averaging 7.5 yards per carry and 11.8 yards per reception.

The loss of Thompson makes for the best player in each of the three phases for Florida State being lost in 2012. Brandon Jenkins on defense (lisfranc injury) and Greg Reid on special teams (off field issues) are the other two. Compensating for the previous losses has been a challenge, but FSU was as fortunate as the circumstances would allow, in that both Reid and Jenkins were lost before the season ever really got started. Their backups have played their way into mid-season form and the team itself learned to play without depending on their contributions. While Thompson’s reserves have combined for 102 carries for 656 yards and 10 touchdowns on the year, it was Thompson’s production that provided the bulk of the fire power for the Noles in 2012. Adjusting to a heavier load, James Wilder Jr. and Devonta Freeman will have to continue to play well. Fortunately for FSU, all three of their running backs have averaged 6.0 ypc or more on the season.

Injury was not the only story-line in Saturday night’s rivalry game. Florida State played in yet another conference game in which the ACC officials were an overwhelming part of the post game discussions by fans, media members and coaches. Without question, the Seminole fans and media have developed a reputation for complaining about officiating that draws the ire of the rest of the ACC. To be fair, if the numbers were so blatantly slanted against those other teams, they would complain as well. On Saturday night, Florida State was flagged for three offensive pass interference penalties. Wild guess at how many the rest of the ACC has been flagged for all season long? The correct answer is zero. Offensive pass interference is likely the most rare call to occur in all of football at any level. The Seminoles were even called for a “hip check” in which Rodney Smith had a 50+ yard reception negated because he committed a pass interference without using his hands (no push off). Needless to say, Jimbo Fisher and many with a voice within the Seminole media have not taken kindly to this.

Holding also continues to be a major issue, as the Seminoles, despite having the best defense in the entire conference by a wide margin, draw the least amount of penalties against opposing offensive lines. Jimbo Fisher has tried to avoid fully engaging in the subject with the media, but his exasperation is becoming noticeable. Against Miami, FSU out penalized the much younger and less talented Canes by a mark of 12-1 until late in the 4th quarter. Considering that penalties typically occur when players over exert themselves to compensate for talent margins, it’s reasonable to question how Florida State can so routinely be the most undisciplined team in the entire ACC.

Weary with officiating issues or not, the Seminoles continue to try to build on their momentum after a mid-season stumble. The surprising Coastal Division-leading Duke Blue Devils come to Doak Campbell Stadium on Saturday for Homecoming. It will be the Seminole’s ninth straight game of the year, and it’s safe to say they are battered and bruised at this point. Despite a more impressive resume than usual, Duke should not pose a gigantic threat on Saturday. They are wildly over matched on both sides of the ball. Regardless, college football and this very FSU Seminole team have proven that no game or win can be taken for granted. Florida State needs to take care of business on Saturday to reach their bye week and have an opportunity to rest and lick their wounds. After battling Duke this coming Saturday, the weary Noles will have a 12 day break before facing Virginia Tech at Lane Stadium on a Thursday night. For their sake, they had better not be looking ahead to the sweet relief of brief time off. Another letdown is the last thing this team, coach or fan base needs.

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Adam Tolliver, @primediscussion on TwitterAdam Tolliver is an Atlanta, GA native and college football enthusiast who has been covering Florida State Seminole sports for three years. He is currently a contributor at Tomahawknation.com and XOFan.com, where he consistently delivers honest and accurate commentary and reporting regarding Florida State Seminole Football and Men’s Basketball. You can find Adam’s personal twitter account @primediscussion, where he spouts out about all things under the sun, or you can follow @Unconquered_FSU, which is exclusively dedicated to FSU Sports.

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