Florida State Seminoles: Casey Brockman

Florida State opened its season with a 69-3 win over Murray State in which the running game led a huge offensive performance, the defense looked as dominant as ever and the special teams provided the first touchdown of the game for the Seminoles.

But that doesn't mean it was a flawless performance for FSU all the way around, so we dug into the Week 1 numbers and handed out our position-by-position grades.

QUARTERBACKS

The most noteworthy moment of Saturday's game for EJ Manuel was probably his first-quarter interception, which snapped a streak of 128 straight throws without a pick. Of course, the INT was hardly Manuel's fault. The pass was delivered with precision, but Kenny Shaw bobbled it into a Murray State defender's hands. Shaw's blunder certainly kept Manuel's nuambers more pedestrian -- 16-of-22 for 188 yards -- but he also hauled in Manuel's lone touchdown throw of the game.

Given the questions surrounding the offensive line and the running game, it's not surprising that Manuel wasn't asked to do a lot as Jimbo Fisher tested his ground game often. But it's also worth noting that eight of the first nine offensive plays of the game for FSU were passing plays -- the sum total of which garnered the Seminoles 47 yards (5.9 yards per play, compared to FSU's game average of 7.9 yards per play). Manuel was also just 1-of-4 for 2 yards on third-down passes, and he converted just one of five third downs he faced in the game -- the lone conversion coming on a QB run.

With FSU rolling in the second half, Manuel didn't stick around too long. Clint Trickett entered in the third quarter and looked sharp, completing 8-of-11 passes for 117 yards, including a beautiful pitch-and-catch with Shaw for 40 yards. Trickett's highlight though? That would probably be his shoving match with a Murray State defender after Debrale Smiley's touchdown in the fourth quarter. Trickett boasted about bulking up in the offseason, noting that he was lifting weights with the linebackers these days, so he must have been eager to show off his new found moxie.

Jacob Coker also got in his first career game, too, completing 1-of-2 passes for 16 yards.

Overall, the FSU QBs were 25-of-35 for 321 yards in the game.

GRADE: B

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Racers should test CB Nick Waisome

August, 31, 2012
8/31/12
8:22
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Going against 6-foot-6 Kelvin Benjamin in practice, it helps to have a plan.

The key, Nick Waisome said, is getting inside his arms, keeping him away from the ball. The outcome -- well, that's not always perfect.

"It's a coin toss," Waisome said.

Murray State won't provide Waisome with quite as tough a matchup Saturday, but that doesn't mean Waisome won't be tested in his first career start. Then again, he's also expecting to win more than half those battles, too.

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Florida State opens the 2012 season Saturday against FCS opponent Murray State, and while fans are no doubt excited for the season to begin, the opponent remains something of a mystery. So we talked to MSU head coach Chris Hatcher to get some inside information about the Seminoles' first foe of the season.

The Racers might not be a familiar foe, but Hatcher has plenty of ties to the area. Hatcher played and coached at Valdosta State, and his resume also includes stops at Kentucky and Georgia Southern. We previewed this game earlier this summer in our March on 2012 profiles, but Hatcher provided a good bit more detail.

Nole Nation: You've had a chance to see your team in action for the past month. How prepared do you think your guys are for the season opener in Tallahassee?

Chris Hatcher: We've gotten a lot better, there's no question about that. Whether that equates to us having more wins, only time will tell. But we're a much deeper team than we've been in the past.

Unfortunately a lot of that depth has come from freshmen that we've just signed. But we practice well, and I think for our level of ball at the FCS, we have an opportunity to have a good team, to be competitive in our conference. I'm excited about the progress that our program's made in a three-year period. When we got here, they'd only won 13 games in five seasons. We've won 13 in the past two. We're looking to step that up a notch this season.

NN: You've coached your share of these types of games in the past. What is it that you hope your team can get out of going up against a top-10 opponent like Florida State?

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