At the risk of being unoriginal and to quote the great Ron Burgundy, “That escalated quickly.” From literally the opening play of the game (a Lamarcus Joyner-forced fumble by Clemson Wide Receiver Stanton Seckinger), Florida State showed who the dominant team in the ACC was going to be and took control of the situation with authority. Clemson never stood a chance as Florida State dominated every facet of the game, playing relentless defense and a sharp and balanced offense. At no point was the game in question and at no point was it close. The Clemson crowd set out to set a decibel sound record on the night. Instead, they set a record for quickest exit by a home crowd on a national televised game. In the end, the only sounds coming through the speakers was that of the Florida State Warchant and its fans celebrating the fact that they may now, finally, embrace what they’ve been afraid to up to this point: Florida State is back. It is loaded. And it is dominant. Anyone questioning that at this point does so only for selfish purposes.
Jameis: 444 yards passing. 3 td throws, 1 td run. 12.7 ypp, 16 passing first downs, Calm and loose before the game. Cordial and thankful for his teammates, current and past. Going into this game, the talk focused on the quarterback battle; who was going to shine? The proven veteran or the upstart new superstar who hadn’t “handled” an environment such as Death Valley before? That was answered loudly. Jameis is for real and he is incredibly special. Understand something: he runs a pro-style offense. He calls plays and checks into plays at the line. He’s not looking for silly signs and coaches to tell him what to do. Then he executes it. Pressure him? He WANTS you to. Because he thrives on it. Give him time? He’ll pick you apart like a vulture. Force him out of the pocket? He’ll run on you. This man is a legitimate Heisman candidate.
Receivers: This group simply isn’t getting its props. Nor is their coach, Lawrence Dawsey. Is it the qb? Is it the fact they are just that good? Is it because they are healthy this year? Is it just talent? Yes. All of it, yes. This may be a nameless crew nationally, but I don’t know if that will continue. Green, Shaw and Benjamin are the best trio of receivers in the country. I don’t even care to argue. They run routes, understand scramble rules, physically dominate, are fearless across the middle and block on the outside with tenacity (Kelvin, I see ya big man! GREAT job blocking last night). Just an incredible effort by these guys and it shouldn’t be overlooked.
On a side note: Rashad, IMO, should be a Heisman candidate and should be a Belitnikoff favorite. 8 catches, 146 yards, 2 tds.
Defense: I’ll call Joyner out on his own, but folks, this defense is FOR REAL. Yes, I believe Clemson’s offense isn’t as good as last year. But they are still VERY good and have elite talent. FSU’s defense took control of that game from the outset and across the board dominated in its entirety. Allowing 3.8 yards per play is just ridiculously stupid against that offense. No ifs ands or buts about that. You simply don’t do that to Clemson.
- Secondary was impenetrable and was blanketed on Clemson’s receivers all night. And not just the upper classmen. I read that we had true freshmen lined up on Watkins at points last night. True freshmen on Watkins? The most explosive player on the field by most accounts. That’s ridiculous. But Joyner, Williams, Brooks, Smith, Darby, and the entire secondary was just dominant.
- Linebackers were crisp and disciplined. They were disguising their blitzes and really putting pressure on Boyd all night. I thought Jones had a great game and Telvin was everywhere. I think Thomas even got in on the action late in the game with a sack or TFL.
- D line was dominant. Jernigan continues to earn his soon-to-be 1st round stock. McDaniel and McCallister were all over the place. They had push all night and Clemson’s Offensive LIne had no answer. Just none. Oh, and how about the FAT GUY TOUCHDOWN! Mario Edwards with the wheels
Lamarcus Joyner: Game changer. He changed the game single handedly and set the tone. His speed on the blitz continues to take qbs by storm and they have no idea what’s happening. I don’t know how much money he made last night, but it’s more than I’ll ever see. Just an incredible, incredible effort by him.
Offensive Line: Back healthy and at full strength, this was to be their real test. They didn’t just pass it, they finished first, turned it in and made faces at everyone else in the classroom. Bottom line is this, folks: Tricket can coach and we need to stop with the garbage about his bad offensive lines. They were dominant and have been wonderful all year. Cam Erving, sans a few penalties, continued to show his dominance. Bobby Hart; let’s talk about Hart for a minute. This kid had the hardest assignment of his career to this point. And he faced it with an incredible effort. Beasley was nearly unheard from and the vaunted Clemson defensive line, while they did get three sacks later in the game, never did much of anything. The pocket was clean and Jameis had time all night. 7.7 yards per play for 565 yards is, in large part, due to these guys.
Nick O’Leary’s Greg Jones impression: Someone please just take the .gif of that and put on the front page and loop it. That was silly.
Nick O’Leary’s Wheels: 94 yards ain’t NOTHIN! Gotta get to the end zone big man Seriously though, he showed wheels. BTW, he was blocking nicely last night, too. Not his forte, either. But he’s getting much better at it.
FSU Crowd: Great showing by FSU fans. They were loud and they were in number. Great job fans.
Jimbo: From his obvious confidence before the game (“streaks are meant to be broken”) to his play calling, I thought that was a signature win for Jimbo. Anyone stupid enough to question his fitness for the job needs to just leave.
Penalties: Somewhat understandable for that environment, especially early on with motion penalties and what-not. But we really struggled early with some of those and I hope that doesn’t continue. We dominated our way through them last night, but there may come a time when we don’t.
Penalties: That was old-school ACC v. FSU type penalty calling. They finally started calling holding on Clemson sometime in the second half, once the game was out of hand. And then they started rolling for Clemson. But early on, it was all us and luckily it didn’t cost us.
Keeping the starters in: I know it’s Jimbo’s way. But Coker and company should have been in there at the start of the 4th quarter. He’s going to transfer next year. Let him get some spotlight and put him in a good light. And don’t risk frustration-laden penalties.
Targeting: The targeting rule all around is a horrible, stupid rule. It’s just a cluster of unbelievable proportions and its ruining the game. However, the one that Clemson’s DB put on Jameis was most certainly deserving of his ejection. It was purposeful, it was out of frustration and it has no business being done in the game. He left his feet, pulled his head down and absolutely went for Jameis’s head. That was a bad look, man. Understand frustration, but that’s gotta go.
Clemson fans this morning: Reading alot of stuff that’s disturbing. And look, fans are fans, but when people are calling for a kid to tear all his ligaments and hoping players injure him going forward, it’s problematic. If you are a Clemson fan and you made those comments, you need to reevaluate yourself. And if you’re an FSU fan, or a fan of any team, and you made comments like that, you need to reevaluate yourself. No need for that. I’m all for the denial that comes with games like this. Clemson fans, by and large, seem to think they “beat themselves” in this one. 51 points, 565 yards of offense and a crushing defensive effort by the opposing team isn’t beating yourself. It’s not “Clemsoning.” Calling it such is a disservice to the team that beat you. Be better than that. You still have alot to play for and I hope you guys can take that At-large BCS spot.
All in all, this was a bloodbath by an elite team. This team is back and it just introduced itself to the world with no wiggle room for deniability. The pundits are speechless and have taken notice, for sure. Even the idiot out in Boise who likes to rank us 15th can’t deny it now. My opinion is this: We are the best team in CFB right now. Now, before you say “Whooaaaa, Chunk. Let’s slow it down,” let me defend this.
1. We have a top 3 offense that is both efficient and explosive. It is deep and has weapons at every position. And we have what will now be a top 2-3 favorite for the Heisman.
2. We have a defense. Not just a defense, but a top 10 defense. And it is deep and talented, as well. Look around college football. Go look at the box scores and watch the games. Defense is a dying breed. When you have one that is dominant, people take notice.
3. Elite kicker. Aguayo (though he slipped on one kick) who can give us an out when needed if we stall.
I don’t see another team that has all three of those. Oregon is improved defensively, but still allow points in bunches. Alabama has a good defense and a decent offense, but I don’t think they are as nearly as dominant as we are. After the three of us and maybe Mizzou, I don’t even consider anyone else on the same level.
We’ll be #3 today when the BCS comes out. So we won’t control our own destiny per se. But we need to keep our focus, keep our hunger and keep our intensity. If we can do that, we’ll be looking at the promised land should anyone slip up.