There's little in the way of awards talk this week other than a few remaining rumblings about how far the Seminoles have fallen. It's all about dishing out blame right now, which means there are few players rising up the ranks in this week's awards watch.
K Dustin Hopkins, Sr. (Groza)
Hopkins connected on three field goals for the second straight week, pushing him ever closer to the school and conference scoring titles. But what he'll remember about Saturday's game is the two field goals he never got a chance to try -- the 52-yard attempt early in the fourth quarter in which Jimbo Fisher decided to punt and a potential game winner as time expired that never came to fruition.
LB Christian Jones, Jr. (Butkus)
It wasn't a perfect game for Jones, and the linebackers share a significant chunk of the blame for allowing NC State to effectively use all those dink-and-dunk crossing patterns to great success in the second half. But Jones also defended those throws as well as anyone, breaking up two passes, and he finished with a game-high 14 tackles.
S Lamarcus Joyner, Jr. (Bednarik, Nagurski, Thorpe)
If Saturday's game had ended with a win, Joyner would be hailed as a hero. Because it ended with a loss, the best of his contributions will be forgotten. Joyner made a handful of huge plays in the second half, including stripping a catch near the goal line and making a game-saving open-field tackle to force an NC State punt in the fourth quarter -- but it was all for naught. He finished with seven tackles in the game.
DT Everett Dawkins, Sr. (Outland)
The goal entering Saturday's game was to get Mike Glennon out of the pocket. That never happened, and part of the reason was the lack of push by the big men up front. But Dawkins was stout in the running game once again -- NC State averaged just 2.4 yards per carry -- and he had three tackles. It wasn't his best game, but there was plenty of blame to go around.
DT Timmy Jernigan, So. (Outland)
The sophomore had three tackles, including one for a loss, and a QB hurry against NC State, and he was active against the run. But the lack of pressure from anywhere on the defensive line was a major concern throughout.
CB Xavier Rhodes, Jr. (Bednarik, Nagurski, Thorpe)
It's not so much about the bad plays Rhodes made as it was about the big plays he failed to make, including one near INT. His pass interference flag on NC State's final drive also proved critical.
DE Cornellius Carradine, Sr. (Bednarik)
NC State focused primarily on Bjoern Werner, and Carradine still couldn't manage to disrupt the Wolfpack passing game in the second half. He had pressure at times, but he could never bring Glennon down before the pass was off, and that, as much as anything, proved to be FSU's undoing.
WR Willie Haulstead, Jr. (Biletnikoff)
Haulstead was again held without a catch.
DE Brandon Jenkins, Sr. (Bednarik)
Jenkins' absence has been noticed, but Saturday likely marked the first time it was really felt on the field. The lack of pressure on Glennon was crucial, and it's hard not to imagine the veteran Jenkins might have been able to do more.
QB EJ Manuel, Sr. (Heisman, Maxwell, O’Brien)
Manuel failed to pick up blitzes, missed on several deep balls and couldn't get the offense jumpstarted when the Seminoles desperately needed a first down late in the game. Some of it was questionable play calling, much of it was poor protection -- but in the end, Manuel bears the brunt of the weight for the loss, and his Heisman chances likely ended with it.
LB Nick Moody, Sr. (Butkus)
Moody had two tackles, but again saw only limited playing time as FSU spent much of the second half in nickel formations.
DE Bjoern Werner, Jr. (Bednarik, Lombardi, Nagurski)
The man who could do no wrong for so much of this season did little of anything at all Saturday. In Werner's defense, NC State paid him careful attention, desperate to keep him from beating them singlehandedly. But given the makeshift status of the Wolfpack offensive line, for Werner to finish without a sack -- his third straight sack-free game -- is tough to ignore.