This season we will look at each week’s stock report after every game. Following a thrilling contest versus No. 9 Notre Dame that resulted in a 41-38 OT loss, let's take a look at this week’s 3 up, 3 down.
Simply, what a great college football game and atmosphere on Sunday night in Tallahassee. It was not the result that Florida State fans wanted, but nonetheless, there is a lot to be excited about when it comes to what the Seminoles can do this season.
Each week will have different players stepping up, while others will need to head into the next week looking to get back on track. Here’s how this week’s Notre Dame game unfolded.
1. Defensive Line
What a difference a year makes. Some pundits viewed Florida State’s losses on the defensive line as a difficult task to replace this season, but that proved to not be true Sunday night. Last season, the Irish ran for over 330 yards on FSU - Sunday night they ran for 65 on 35 carries (1.9 ypc). Not only were the Seminoles much stronger against the run, they were also able to generate pressure on the quarterback.
Jermaine Johnson proved to be what we thought coming in (7 tackles, 1.5 sacks), and several others registered sacks. What makes this unit a bright spot in the game was the depth they showed. Quashon Fuller looks like a different player and had his best game as a 'Nole. On back-to-back plays, he wreaked major havoc, the second resulting in a sack. Derrick McClendon, Jarrett Jackson, Robert Cooper, and Marcus Cushnie all flashed at times giving this unit a solid two-deep moving forward.
2. Running Backs
We knew coming in that FSU was going to have a rotation at running back, which we saw Sunday, but we didn’t expect the 'Noles to be as dominant as they were on the ground. Jashaun Corbin’s 89-yard touchdown run in the first quarter was both huge in that it settled the offense down, but it also showed that Corbin has his explosiveness back after his knee injury two years ago.
Lawrance Toafili had a few runs where he showed off his patience and vision. Treshaun Ward was a star here. Building off of a great camp, Ward became the primary back-up to Corbin and was in the game late, providing a 4th quarter touchdown that helped the 'Noles make their 18 point comeback. This was the first time FSU ran for over 250 yards on a top 10 team since 2012.
3. Jarvis Brownlee and Sidney Williams
GREAT GAME by these two. Brownlee was good in coverage, but where he really shined was in run support. He had four solo tackles with most being solid pops that resulted in losses to little gains. Williams wasn’t a starter but he was in the rotation quite a bit. Much like Jarvis, Williams was excellent in the run game, and he delivered some great hits in the passing game. I really like what I saw from these two young players.
1. Travis Jay
Travis was really good in the short passing game and in run support, but he gave up two plays that impacted the game. The first touchdown he gave up saw him jump just a tad early and resulted in him getting beat on a 50/50 ball. The second one was worse, where he didn’t get his head around. Jay is one of the most gifted players on this roster and he will get better as his technique improves. He was replaced in the second half by Jarrian Jones, a move that was made to shut down the outside receivers of Notre Dame while also letting Jay see what was going on.
2. FSU’s passing game
Simply put FSU won’t win a ton of games throwing for 178 yards. Jordan Travis battled snapping issues and an aggressive defense, but his three interceptions led to 21 Irish points. Not every play is going to be perfect - perfect snap, blocking, route running, etc. Travis missed several open receivers while rolling out of pocket. He made an amazing throw on the touchdown to Ja’Khi Douglas.
The inconsistency hampered the offense and led to the ability to sustain drives. While McKenzie Milton didn’t light up the world when he came in, what he did provide was stability and smart play. Getting the ball off in time, picking up the fumble late, and throwing it out of bounds - the offense had more flow under Milton due to timely throws and overall better play.
3. Center play
This makes the list this week due to the number of poor snaps throughout the game. There were concerns here coming out of camp, and those didn’t stop this week. Starter Maurice Smith struggled. He had at least 6 snaps that were both poor and threw the play off of timing. He was replaced by senior Beveon Johnson in the second half. Johnson had a few low snaps and another issue, but he played better overall. Does FSU make a change here heading into next week?