Big 12: EJ Manuel

Respectable performance by Trickett

September, 17, 2011
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Nice drive by backup quarterback Clint Trickett, who had to replace injured starter EJ Manuel.

It was better than Florida State could have hoped for, as he came in against the No. 1 team in the nation, held his composure, and led the Noles on an eight-play, 50-yard drive that took 3:28 off the clock. It ended in a 46-yard field goal and closed the deficit to 13-6.

Trickett looked prepared and ready for this chance. For Trickett to come into the game under those circumstances and not only keep the Noles afloat but in the game is admirable. It should give the Noles confidence moving forward.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Here's a quick look back the highlights and lowlights of the first half:

Turning point: In such a tight game with little margin for error, Florida State needed to capitalize on every scoring opportunity that presented itself, and the Noles squandered one of those chances with a turnover late in the first half. EJ Manuel's second pick of the half set up first-and-goal for Oklahoma from the Noles' 3-yard line. FSU's defense stood strong and limited the Sooners to a field goal, but the turnover gave the Sooners the momentum and the 13-3 lead heading into the locker rooms.

Stat of the half: Excluding the production from Manuel, the Seminoles only have 12 yards rushing. Manuel leads the team in rushing right now with 43 yards.

Best player in the half: Oklahoma linebacker Tom Wort: He was all over the place in the first half and finished with five tackles, one sack, two tackles for loss and one interception he returned 12 yards. His interception came at a critical moment, as it halted a potential scoring drive with FSU in the red zone.

Already a better start for FSU

September, 17, 2011
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Don't get me wrong, Florida State has little margin for error as it trails 7-3 against Oklahoma, but so far, this is a much better effort than what we saw against the Sooners a year ago.

Florida State's defense got pushed down the field with Oklahoma's methodical opening touchdown drive, and it looked like it could be a long day for the Noles' D, but EJ Manuel responded with a lengthy drive of his own that ended in a field goal and gave the defense a much-needed chance to recover.

This has been a respectable performance so far, and the defense came up with a big takeaway when it needed it. Florida State's offensive line was playing well until Manuel got sacked for a loss of 11 yards, but it's clear after one quarter that Florida State isn't in over its head in this game.

Pregame notes: FSU lineup changes

September, 17, 2011
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- A few quick lineup changes for you for Florida State:
  • Freshman Rashad Greene is expected to start at receiver, though I'm told Bert Reed is healthy enough to play and will.
  • Jacob Fahrenkrug will start at left guard, and Bryan Stork will start at center. The two have flip-flopped before.
  • Xavier Rhodes will start at boundary corner over Mike Harris.

The stadium is slowly starting to fill up here, as the Noles are out there warming up. Three predictions as to what you might see Saturday night:
  • EJ Manuel will run more. We're bound to see some new wrinkles in FSU's offense. There's no way Florida State showed its full hand in the first two blowout wins against unheralded opponents. One of those wrinkles could be the use of Manuel's mobility.
  • Oklahoma will struggle up front more with Florida State's defensive line. Brandon Jenkins will get after Sooners' quarterback Landry Jones, and the Noles won't be as neutralized as they were up front a year ago.
  • Florida State will have the edge in special teams. Not only in the return game and with field position, but also in the kicking game. The Seminoles have one of the top kicker/punter duos in the country in Dustin Hopkins and Shawn Powell, and in a tight game, special teams could play a major role.