This one goes much deeper than Florida State's running game, or how many yards the Noles will lose without Chris Thompson in the lineup.
This one is personal.
Last year, Thompson was in a hospital bed with two broken vertebrae in his back after an injury he sustained against Wake Forest. He didn't know if he would walk again, let alone play football. Thompson made a remarkable comeback this year as the team's leading rusher only to be knocked out of the game again on Saturday, this time with a season-ending torn ACL in his left knee.
"He's what's right about college football," coach Jimbo Fisher said, "but this game takes no prisoners."
It's a devastating injury to Florida State's offense as the Seminoles try to finish the season with only one loss, but it's even more discouraging news considering Thompson's injury history. Thompson is a leader on the team and he'll be tough to replace in the lineup, but this is the type of injury that can actually wind up inspiring others -- especially as Thompson encourages them from the sideline. It happend against Miami on Saturday, when Devonta Freeman rose to the occasion and had 70 yards and two touchdowns in a 33-20 win.
"I knew I had to step up, when Chris Thompson went down," Freeman told ESPN.com Saturday night. "I knew I had to step up and do everything that he did."
The Noles are confident in their super sophs, Freeman and James Wilder Jr. Florida State's running game will survive, as Freeman was the team's leading rusher a year ago and has had 140 yards and two touchdowns in his past two games. Wilder ranks third in the ACC with seven rushing touchdowns. FSU will continue to use both.
"Chris is a tough back, he's one of the smaller guys, it's hard for him to take all the reps so that's why we all get the same amount of reps in practice just to make sure we're all prepared," said Wilder Jr after the game. "... We have the depth at running back that we are able to do that, so we were prepared [to step up]."
They've got no other choice now.