Heading into tonight’s matchup with Boston College, one of the questions surrounding Florida State was the Seminoles’ peculiar struggles coming out of halftime. Head coach Jimbo Fisher always defers if given the chance, but it hasn’t necessarily been a recipe for success for FSU.
The FSU offense came out with a sense of urgency in the second half.
Prior to tonight’s second half opening drive, the Seminoles had scored just one touchdown in 20 attempts. In the last four games, each of the Seminoles’ first drives in the second half resulted in a punt.
But tonight, it was a different story.
EJ Manuel and the FSU offense came out of halftime with guns hot, conducting a nine play, 75-yard drive to step on the throats of the Eagles and go up 38-7. Whether it was through the air or on the ground, it was clear the Seminoles were on a mission to change the disturbing trend.
After the game, Manuel acknowledged FSU had focused on the matter after last week’s disappointment.
“That’s something we stressed all week,” Manuel said. “When we had a break during practice, we treated it like a halftime and came out for the second half of practice not as flat. We did that today.
“We made sure everybody back with a punch. We wanted to go out there and get a touchdown.”
Running back Chris Thompson had 25 of the drive’s 75 yards, 16 of which came on the ground. He admitted there was a noticeable difference tonight compared to weeks past.
“Yes, most definitely,” Thompson said. “We just went down on the first drive and just drove the ball quick. That’s what we have to do, coming out in the second half – play just as hard as we do in the first half.”
Freeman returns to rotation
One of the more surprising developments of the 2012 season had been the disappearance of sophomore running back Devonta Freeman. After leading the team in rushing yards with 579 in 2011, it was thought he’d at least put up similar numbers in 2012.
To be fair, not everyone expected Chris Thompson to recover as nicely as he has, and James Wilder’s emergence as a do-it-all power back has influenced Freeman’s playing time as well.
However, Freeman’s personal life also needs to be taken into account, as his brother was recently killed back in his hometown of Miami.
“I’m glad [Freeman] is finally back out on the field again,” Thompson said. “He went through some things and as a running back group, we were there for him. We helped him in his time of need, but now all of that is out of his mind.”
Freeman had four carries on the night and netted 34 yards.
“When he first came off from his first drive, he didn’t touch the ball,” Thompson told reporters after the game. “But he was like, ‘man, it feels so good to be back out there again’.
“I’m happy for him and I’m happy that we have this rotation going, keeping everybody fresh and just letting people make plays.”
Hopkins breaks record
By Bob Ferrante
Florida State senior place-kicker Dustin Hopkins made a 51-yard field goal as time expired in the second quarter of Saturday’s 51-7 win over Boston College, helping him break two scoring records.
Hopkins became the Seminoles’ all-time scoring leader and grabbed first place on the Atlantic Coast Conference’s scoring chart. He made three field goals and six extra points on Saturday and now has 402 points.
“Being mentioned with guys’ names that have done so much for the university and the ACC, I’m just humbled by the whole thing,” Hopkins said.
Former FSU kicker Derek Schmidt had 393 points from 1984-87, and former Maryland kicker Nick Novak (2001-04) also led the ACC with 393 points.
Hopkins is just the fifth player in Bowl Championship Series history to surpass the 400-point mark. He is quickly approaching the NCAA’s all-time kicking leader, Art Carmody of Louisville (433).
Hopkins has now made eight straight field-goal attempts and is 12 of 15 this season.