- David M. Hale, ESPN Staff Writer
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With the 2012 season officially in the books, we took a look through the stats to determine some of the most significant improvements and problems Florida State endured this year with five stats that defined 2012.
The numbers don't always tell the whole story, but these numbers shed some light on some of the biggest reasons Florida State won 12 games and its first ACC title in seven years, and also why those other two games got away.
We started with a look at the ground game on Monday.
Next up: 3.
That's the number of completions for EJ Manuel on throws of 10 yards or more against NIU in the Orange Bowl. He attempted just nine throws of 10 yards or more in the game.
What makes that number significant is that it was such a surprising departure from the norm, and in a game in which Florida State relied so heavily on its passing game and had a distinct advantage physically, both at the line of scrimmage and on the perimeter, it was hard to figure the game plan. And as a hefty contingent of FSU fans bemoaned throughout the 2012 season, explaining Jimbo Fisher's play calling was always a bit frustrating.
Here's a look at Manuel's passing charts for the season:
Prior to the Orange Bowl, 37 percent of Manuel's throws were beyond 10 yards, and those throws accounted for a whopping 52 percent of his passing yards. Against NIU, however, just 24 percent of Manuel's throws went beyond 10 yards, and those accounted for a paltry 21 percent of his passing yards. Against a better team, that might have made sense. Against an overmatched NIU, it played a big factor in why FSU struggled to pull away.
Florida State fans can look back to similarly strange play calling against NC State and Virginia Tech and find more frustration, which is why the question of when Fisher will hand over the keys to his offense to a play-calling coordinator remains front and center going into 2013.