Putting together a list of Florida State's top 10 performers for the season seems a bit incongruous considering the somber mood among Seminoles fans and the lack of impact any of FSU's talented starters made down the stretch against NC State. But the season must go on, and so, too, the power rankings. Here's how things stack up after six weeks. (Previous rank in parentheses.)
1. Chris Thompson, RB (3)
Sure, Thompson wore down in the second half against NC State, but it's hard to find much fault in his performance. He matched a career high with 25 carries and he provided the bulk of the first-half offense, but Jimbo Fisher should have found a way to get the fresher, stronger James Wilder Jr. a few touches late in the game if he wanted to run the football with power.
2. Lamarcus Joyner, S (6)
Joyner's open-field tackle of Tony Creecy to force an NC State punt in the fourth quarter should have been a game changer, if only the offense could've come up as big as Joyner did. It wasn't his only big play either -- it's just that most of them were quickly buried by the shortcomings elsewhere on the field. A prime example: Joyner's brilliant strip of a catch by Mario Carter at the FSU 2-yard line in the fourth quarter that was immediately followed by a Mike Glennon touchdown pass to Shadrach Thornton.
3. Bjoern Werner, DE (2)
Is Werner to blame for FSU's lack of pressure on Glennon? Probably not. The junior was asked to do a little of everything, and he did most of it well. Moreover, he got a ton of attention from the NC State blockers whose singular goal appeared to be not letting Werner beat them -- by any means necessary. And yet, Saturday marked Werner's third straight game without a sack, and that's hard to shrug off in the face of such a gut-wrenching loss.
4. EJ Manuel, QB (1)
Through the first five weeks of the season, even when Manuel didn't look to be at his best, he made the big plays when he had to. Saturday was the opposite. Manuel's overall numbers -- 17 of 29 for 218 yards and a TD -- weren't awful, but he simply made too many mistakes at crucial times. Twice he missed Kelvin Benjamin on potentially big plays. His INT in NC State territory could well have been a 14-point swing in the game, and his 15-yard sack on a botched bootleg in the fourth quarter took FSU out of field-goal range with those three points representing what would've been the winning margin.
5. Timmy Jernigan, DT (8)
There wasn't enough pressure put on Glennon throughout the game, but for the most part, Jernigan did his job. He finished with three tackles, including one for a loss, and he disrupted the backfield routinely while shutting down NC State's running game. The problem is that Jernigan -- like the rest of FSU's D line -- couldn't turn penetration into sacks, and Glennon got rid of the ball quickly on one short route after another. FSU had no answers.
6. Xavier Rhodes, CB (5)
It wasn't an awful game for Rhodes, who finished with seven tackles. Glennon rarely looked deep, so Rhodes was rarely tested. But the pass interference flag on Rhodes on NC State's final drive was devastating, and that will likely be his defining moment from the game.
7. Rashad Greene, WR (7)
He finished with a season-high six catches, and he led Florida State with 60 yards, but it was Benjamin who was open at the biggest moments in the game, and Greene failed to make the impact FSU needed -- in the passing game or on punt returns -- down the stretch.
8. Christian Jones, LB (9)
Plenty of blame for Saturday's loss falls to the Florida State linebacking corps, which struggled to find an answer for the short crossing patters NC State used over and over in the second half to dink and dunk its way down the field. But while Telvin Smith and Vince Williams struggled in coverage, Jones had at least a handful of shining moments while racking up a season-high 14 tackles with two pass break-ups.
9. Cornellius Carradine, DE (4)
One week after making the play of the game against USF, Carradine was virtually silent in Saturday's loss. He did finish with eight tackles, but that's more a matter of NC State directing its offense toward him and away from Werner. Carradine rarely managed to find his way into the NC State backfield, and the lack of pressure on Glennon was the defense's biggest failure.
10. Terrence Brooks, S (NR)
After an ugly game against Clemson, Brooks has rebounded with two strong performances, including making his first interception of the season against NC State. Brooks had a chance at a few others, as he showed strong instincts jumping routes and batting away throws. He finished with four tackles and two PBUs, but what Florida State really needed was for one more of those near-misses to turn into a second INT for Brooks.