This past summer I predicted that Jermaine Thomas would rush for 1,000 yards this season. Each week I will try to give an update on Thomas' progress, unless it becomes painfully clear that he won't make it. Thomas and the Noles' running game are not off to a great start -- a surprise to most of us -- but Jack State may be just what the doctor ordered.
It seems that Jimbo's game plan against the Canes was pass first, run second (if at all). I believe this reflects a strategic decision rather than a lack of confidence in the running game. Jimbo called a stellar game and Ponder executed superbly. That being said, here are the rushing numbers:
110 yards isn't horrible, but most of it (70 yards) came in the 4th quarter. (FSUncensored has slightly different numbers.) I'll let the play-calling experts hash out the reasons why Ty Jones was able to gash the Canes defense in the 4th quarter, but my guess is that they were more focused on defending the pass at that stage of the game.
Perhaps 30 carries was just about what Jimbo wanted, but I'm sure he was hoping for better than 3.67 YPA. With the talented backs we have and a Trick-ed-out O-line, why couldn't we muster more than this? Most of us here at TN looked into our crystal balls this summer and saw FSU backs chomping up yards at a staggering pace. It is too early to tell if we were as wrong as we look right now.
What is interesting is that among all the preditions made -- sub-par defense, poor special teams, revitalized running attack, a great year for Ponder -- this is the one that appears to have missed the mark.
In order for Thomas to achieve the 1,000 mark, he will need to average only 76.9 yards per game, assuming we play in the ACC championship contest. Needless to say, he's got some ground to make up. J.T. struggled against Miami and limped in the third quarter with a leg contusion, but he's looked fine in practice this week. Here's how his progress breaks down:
|Yds this week||Yds remaining||On pace for(season total)||New avg. needed|
Thomas will need to rack up more than 82 yards this week to keep the dream alive. Will Jimbo call more running plays this week against Jack State? Hard to say. But my hunch is that he will make a statement to future opponents by running all over the Gamecocks. I'll go out on a limb and predict at least 45 carries for 250 yards.
Last season, JSU gave up 157.4 YPG to their opponents -- a list which included Austin Peay and Eastern Illinois. Last week, JSU surrendered 335 yards on 50 attempts to the juggernaut that is the Georgia Tech running game. So, my prediction is nestled safely in between those numbers. We won't gain as much as Tech because we won't run as much as Tech. Thomas should have a big day, but Ty Jones has earned a few more carries this week. Look for both to crack the century mark. Come on, Earth, Wind and Fire -- make us forget all about last week!
Does anyone have any new insight on what was going on with our running game last week?