Dawkins was just a scrappy freshman on that bummer of a day in 2009 when the Noles were ambushed by USF. On Tuesday he talked about the locker room shock then and defending against the passing and running of another freshman that day: Bulls QB B.J. Daniels.
The Seminoles faced their biggest test up to this point, they didn’t disappoint. They weathered the storm early and finished strong. Clemson tested the Noles’ mental and physical toughness, but the Noles wouldn’t back down. So, how did each unit fair? Pretty well if you ask me.
Offensive line: A+ The offensive line controlled the line of scrimmage the entire game. They opened running lanes for the backs, and more importantly they gave EJ Manuel time to make plays with his arm. The most encouraging sign was that they appeared to get better as the game progressed. This was a huge test against Clemson’s defense and they aced it.
Running backs: A+ 287 yards rushing. Chris Thompson does it again. 15 carries for 103 yards and 2 TDs. Thompson also caught 8 passes for 79 yards. He wasn’t the only one that got over the century mark in rushing. Designed run plays for EJ Manuel helped spring him for just over 100 yards. James Wilder Jr. added 9 carries for 65 yards and a pair of TDs. Lonnie Pryor also added a TD. Another ace for the offense.
Quarterbacks: A+ The spotlight was on EJ Manuel all night long. This was his chance to show the country that he had improved and was ready for the big stage. Well, if there were any questions about Manuel, they were put to rest Saturday night. EJ finished 27-35, 380 yards and 2 TDs. Oh, and he added 102 yards rushing on 12 carries. First time since the Charlie Ward days that FSU had a QB throw for over 300 yards and rush for 100 or more yards. It was clearly EJ Manuel’s best game thus far as a Nole, and he couldn’t have chosen a better game to do it. Heisman watch? If he continues this kind of success, then he is well on his way.
Wide Receivers: A+ You couldn’t put your finger on any one guy. Every receiver made crucial plays. That was the problem for Clemson. If Clemson focused on one or two guys’ it left mismatches for the other receivers to take advantage of. I’m sure many fans would have loved to see more deep passes, but Clemson made sure they wouldn’t be beaten deep. I had to laugh a few times during the game. Clemson’s safeties would drop back so far on pass plays. That would lead to easy completions underneath for much of the game.
1. Memo to Florida Governor Rick Scott: Regarding that little wager with the Governor of South Carolina, the bet (for eating purposes only) of key lime pie vs bar-b-que, you did make sure that the wager was bar-b-que for everyone as in everyone in the state right? I know at least 80,000 or so people that could go for some right about now.
2. Coming off two straight shutouts by the Florida State defense, fans sure didn't have to wait long to see if the Seminoles would make it a three-peat. Of course Clemson's defense didn't have to wait to see if they would have a shutout either.
3. Despite losing 49-37 Saturday night there is good news for Clemson coach Dabo Swinney ... he didn't get a speeding ticket on his way out of Tallahassee.
4. For those of you wondering why the ACC referees did not bother to measure for a first down, a controversial spotting of the ball that Jimbo Fisher challenged, after Clemson's fake FG attempt .... I have it through reliable sources that the reason the officials did not use the yardsticks was because they had not yet been trained in the proper technique of adeptly sliding the ball up to the marker. Don't worry though, they should be fully versed in said procedure any day now.
5. Stat of the game: FSU SID Rob Wilson's decibel measurement of 115 during the second half of the game. That would equate to the volume of a rock concert. I'm guessing the 80,000 plus at Doak didn't mind.
6. As everyone knows, former Seminole Lee Corso picked the 'Noles to win Saturday night's game. In doing so he planted a spear into a grass patch and then began to sing the warchant. It would be a wise choice for Lee to NEVER EVER in no way shape or form, God help us all if he did, to decide to become a ........ professional singer.
7. And speaking of former Seminoles, Keith Jones made the following comment while doing play by play for the Miami/GT game, " If I lost 50 pounds, I would be a sex symbol." Mrs. BFT disagreed, btw. I believe her exact words were, "He has got to be kidding right?" No offense Keith.
8. One thing missing in yesterday's ESPN's Gameday show ..... where was that obligatory guy waving the Washington State Cougars' flag?
9. Now there were plenty of signs at the Gameday show in which to choose from, but my favorite was "Dadgum." I still say that should be added to FSU's motto .... Vires, Artes, Mores, Dadgum.
10. Headline in yesterday's Miami Herald sports section - "Florida Gators focus on not taking LSU Wildcats for granted." Memo to the headline editor: Don't quit your day job. Oh wait ...... that is your day job!!!
Bonus Deniably Random and Decidedly Meaningless Thoughts (after the jump)