Midseason report: Florida State

October, 11, 2011
10/11/11
10:00
AM ET
FLORIDA STATE

Record: 2-3, 0-2 ACC

Surprise.

Or maybe not, if you’re one of the many college football fans who have heard this story before. Stop me if you have …

Florida State enters the season with lofty expectations, hype surrounding a potential run at the national title and as the overwhelming preseason favorite to win the ACC.

Midway through the season, the Noles are still looking for their first conference win and have to beat Duke to get it.

It’s one thing to lose to Oklahoma in respectable fashion, but Florida State reached the midpoint of the season on a three-game losing streak and with a team that has fallen from No. 5 in the country to out of the Associated Press Top 25 this week. The thud has resounded throughout all of college football.

Sure, there are plenty of excuses, starting with injuries and an inability to find cohesiveness on the offensive line. But halfway through the season, Florida State’s best wins are against Louisiana-Monroe and Charleston Southern. The Seminoles are No. 100 in the country in sacks allowed, No. 112 in the country in rushing offense and No. 114 in turnover margin. Quarterback EJ Manuel suffered a shoulder injury in the loss to Oklahoma and didn’t return until coach Jimbo Fisher deemed it an “emergency” situation when the Noles were losing to Wake Forest. Both Manuel and Clint Trickett, though, combined for five turnovers in that game.

Not once this season has Florida State looked like the defending Atlantic Division champs, and part of that can be attributed to undisciplined play and a lack of focus. No team in the country has been penalized more (9.4 per game), and a lack of leadership has been a problem. Instead of defending their division title this year, the Seminoles have come precariously close to playing their way out of the ACC race in the first half of the season.

Offensive MVP: WR Rashad Greene. Greene leads the team with six touchdowns and is on pace to shatter the freshmen school record for receptions and touchdowns in a season. He is No. 35 in the country with 91.4 receiving yards per game.

Defensive MVP: DE Bjoern Werner. Werner has been outstanding against the run and leads the Noles in sacks and is tied for third in the ACC with four. He also has 5.5 tackles for loss. He also has two forced fumbles, two passes defended and one quarterback hurry.

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