by Jeremy Z. of College Football 2Day
Two words can describe this game, EPIC FAIL. The Noles came up short on Saturday. You name it, and it went wrong. Execution and focus were way off in this game. Let’s just hope the Noles can put this game behind them and move on to the next game. You may want to sit down for these; I know I had to.
Offensive line: D
The biggest reason for the poor grade was because of consistency, or lack thereof. There were times where they looked like they were going to pull it together, but then the very next play there would be a blown assignment. Other than a couple solid runs, there were no other running lanes the rest of the game. To add to the frustration, the Noles continued to struggle running the ball once in the red-zone.
Running backs: C+
Freeman had a couple really nice runs. Wilder added to that, but it didn’t amount to much. They caught a couple passes out of the backfield. Freeman punched a run in for a TD, and at that point I felt the tide had shifted. Boy was I wrong there. This was a game that the Noles truly needed senior leadership from Chris Thompson.
Where was EJ Manuel on Saturday? Because I know that’s not the same QB I have been grading all season long……Or was it? Many fans feel that this is the QB EJ really is, and that the Noles have been getting by despite his flaws. Well, his flaws stood out worse than ever on Saturday. He couldn’t hit anybody when they were open. One of his interceptions could have been avoided by throwing to the check-down-man, but he forced it anyway. He couldn’t handle the constant pressure. He never looked comfortable. If some of his problems are fixable, then they need to be fixed this week. Georgia Tech will take some notes from this game for sure.
Wide Receivers: B-
There were dropped passes and lousy route running for much of the game. I’m sure it became even more frustrating for them when the ball had been poorly thrown in their direction. This group had to be more frustrated than anybody else on the team. This is a very talented group and they feel they didn’t get to show that because of the missed throws from Manuel.
Defensive Grades After the Jump.
Bjorn Werner had one of his greatest games as a Nole. Tank Carridine played solid, but where was the interior lineman? The Noles’ defensive tackles were just manhandled all night long. Adding injury to insult, or insult to injury………Tank Carridine is out with a torn ACL. 244 yards on the ground by the Gators; that number is unacceptable for this unit. Werner, I give you an A+, but your teammates let you down in this game.
Their little miscues that I have been mentioning every week, yep, they showed up in this game in a big way. They were overrunning plays left and right. They couldn’t cover in space. It was a very bad night for the linebackers, and sadly it was a night that they needed to bring their ‘A’ game.
Whew! If Florida had a better passer, the Gators would have blown up the Noles’ secondary. There were receivers running free on nearly every pass play, but luckily Driskel hasn’t gotten that good yet. I just wonder if this is the same defense we have been watching all season long. Is this the same defense that put the clamps down on Clemson in the second half of that game?
Special Teams: B-
We can’t go another week and fumble the ball on special teams, can we? I guess it was nice to see that the Noles fielded every punt without a fumble. In fact, there were even some nice returns. Dustin Hopkins was the highlight of the night. That’s about all you can really highlight.
Overall Team Performance: D
Complete and total lack of focus. Where was their pride? You would think that after going up 20-13 in the third quarter that they would pull it together and get their confidence back…but it was just the opposite. There need to be some major improvements this week. You think Seminole fans are upset after this loss? The real Seminoles better show up for the ACC Title Game or there will be some real chaos.