All smiles again for Florida State after a weather-shortened 55-0 win. This week, the only 'test' the 'Noles needed to pass was showing up and showing some interest in playing. They did just that. Instead of breaking down the offense and defense as a whole - we'll split up the grades into starters (get your "A" stencil out) and top reserves.
Senior quarterback EJ Manuel played just one quarter in the romp and was the predictably surgical in his time running the offense. Manuel went 11-for-13, passing for 161 yards and three scores. The second play from scrimmage, a 61-yard post route to senior Rodney Smith which went for a score, said it all. In all, the first quarter saw zero sacks allowed and a lot of lights on the scoreboard.
Smith and junior Kenny Shaw each had three catches with Manuel at the helm, and Greg Dent hauled in an eight-yard score. Redshirt freshman Kelvin Benjamin earned his first touchdown after bringing down a nine-yard jump ball from Manuel.
Overall passing game grade: A
Top performer: EJ Manuel - 11/13, 161 yds, 3 TD
Much like the passing game, the ground attack did what it wanted in the first quarter. Although the Seminoles didn't run it as much early - 10 carries for 94 yards in the opening frame - they reached paydirt twice as senior Chris Thompson scored from six yards out while sophomore Devonta Freeman scored from five yards out.
Senior Lonnie Pryor added a nine-yard carry and Florida State put a wrinkle on tape as Benjamin took an end-around 16 yards.
Overall rushing game grade: A
Top performer: Devonta Freeman - 5 rush, 44 yds, TD
Defensive end Bjoern Werner picked up where he left off last week, registering a sack and 1.5 total tackles for loss in the first quarter. Junior linebacker Christian Jones, who was limited to a single tackle against Murray State, had two tackles for loss in the opening quarter.
If a front seven is defined by rushing yards, then the Seminoles produced off the charts numbers against an outgunned opponent. The starters forced Savannah State into negative 17 yards on seven carries.
Overall front seven grade: A
Top performer: Bjoern Werner - 1.5 tackles for loss, 1.0 sacks
Florida State's starters didn't have much work in this department. Tiger quarterback Antonio Bostick had little time to operate in the pocket, completing one pass for negative three yards. Bostick was also sacked one time.
Overall secondary grade: A
The Top Reserves
Backup quarterback Clint Trickett completed the first half for FSU, hitting on five of six passes for 66 yards. Third-stringer Jacob Coker notched his first career touchdown throw when he completed a 19-yard slant to Benjamin with 11:24 remaining in the third quarter.
Running back James Wilder Jr. added two touchdowns with the second-team, finishing the night with 24 yards on four carries.
Kicker Dustin Hopkins delivered what may have been the only blemish all night. The senior kicker's streak of consecutive PAT attempts ended at 145, good for sixth all time. Hopkins did not attempt a field goal.
Punt returner Rashad Greene may have gone two-for-two this year in games with a touchdown return had he not run into Wilder Jr. on his first return. Greene averaged 32.0 yards in two punt returns. Tyler Hunter and Ronald Darby also saw action as returners without attempting returns.
Just prior to halftime, punter Cason Beatty pinned Savannah State inside its 10-yard line on his only attempt of the quarter with a high 46-yard boot.
Overall special teams grade: B+
Top performer: Rashad Greene - 2 returns, 64 yards (39 long)
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