TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami) – The Florida State Seminoles thumping of tenth-ranked Clemson over the weekend didn’t move the squad up in the polls, but on the national championship scene; the victory put FSU in the driver’s seat for a possible trip to Miami in January.
The Seminoles struggled against Clemson in the first half of the game, but came alive in the second half and quickly dispatched of the Tigers en route to a 49-37 victory. Part of what has spurred the Seminoles’ resurgence this season is the discovery of the ground game.
Last year, Florida State struggled to mount any semblance of a running game. This season, the Noles’ ground game is one of the best in the country.
After just four games, the Noles are averaging 281 yards per game on the ground. That ranks the Seminoles eighth in the country overall in rushing offense. Saturday night, it wasn’t just the Noles’ running backs getting past Clemson.
FSU senior quarterback actually led the Seminoles in rushing for the game, running for 112 yards on 11 carries. His net total ended up being 102 yards after sacks, which was just one yard short of running back Chris Thompson who led the Noles against Clemson.
Manuel also threw the ball extremely well against Clemson going 27-35 for 380 yards and two touchdowns. His performance was enough to vault him into the discussion for the most prestigious college football trophy available, the Heisman Trophy.
But, before FSU can start penciling in names on the Heisman or making plans for Sun Life Stadium in January, they have to get through the remainder of their schedule. Luckily for the Noles, the remaining schedule is not as daunting as it could be.
FSU toughest games remaining on the schedule are at Miami on October 20, at Virginia Tech, and at home against the Florida Gators. If FSU can win out, it should be in prime position to earn a spot for the BCS National Championship Game in Miami in January.