2013 has certainly been a season to remember for Florida State. The top-ranked Seminoles notched a school-record 13th victory on Saturday night in a 45-7 win over Duke in the ACC Championship which clinched a trip to Pasadena where they will face Auburn for the BCS National Championship.
Florida State has proven to be one of the nation’s best and its rise back to the top has been long awaited by FSU fans. While Florida State has put forward dominant team efforts week in and week out, it could be a season that ends with strong individual accolades as well.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Jameis Winston looks to be a shoo-in to win the Heisman Trophy while senior cornerback Lamarcus Joyner is a finalist for the Thorpe Award and freshman kicker Roberto Aguayo is a finalist for the Groza. On the field however, Florida State will be playing for its first national championship in 14 years and in the BCS title game, it is possible that four different Seminoles could hit the 1,000-yard mark.
Junior running back Devonta Freeman finished with 91 yards rushing and a touchdown in Saturday’s victory over Duke and now has 943 yards on the season. With 57 yards on the ground against Auburn, Freeman would become the first Florida State rusher to hit the 1,000-yard plateau since Warrick Dunn in 1996. Early last week, Freeman became the Seminoles’ first All-ACC first team running back since Dunn.
Where the Auburn defense is most vulnerable however, is where the Florida State offense is most potent and that’s in the passing game. While Freeman has a very good chance to become the first 1,000-yard rusher at FSU since Dunn, three different players could eclipse the 1,000-yard mark receiving, something that has not been done since Anquan Boldin finished with 1,011 receiving yards in 2002.
The most likely Florida State receiver to get there will be junior Rashad Greene. Greene sits just 19 yards away after finishing with 67 yards receiving in the ACC Championship. With 981 yards on the season, Greene is leading FSU in receiving for the third straight year.
After 74 yards and a score against Duke, senior Kenny Shaw will need 71 yards to get to four digits in his final game as a Seminole. Shaw has finished with 100 yards receiving in a game just once this year, but has hit the 90-yard mark on six different occasions.
The guy who has really come on of late and will serve as the biggest match-up nightmare for Auburn on January 6th however, may be redshirt sophomore wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin. At 6’5″ and more than 230 pounds, Benjamin has tight end size, but runs like a wide receiver. Over the last several weeks, Benjamin has emerged as the biggest deep threat for Winston and the Florida State passing attack.
Over his last three games, Benjamin has 392 yards receiving and seven touchdowns. Benjamin has found the end zone in five straight games and leads the ACC with 14 touchdown grabs on the season. With 957 yards receiving, Benjamin will need just 43 yards against Auburn to hit 1,000. Benjamin has catches of longer than that in each of the last two weeks.
What’s most important for Florida State will be defeating Auburn in Pasadena, but the opportunity for individual accomplishment will also make the trip from Tallahassee. Most FSU fans will tell you that playing for a national championship is something that was long overdue, but the fact that the Seminoles have not had a skill player reach the 1,000-yard mark in over a decade is baffling considering all the talent that has come through the program.
January 6th’s BCS National Championship will give the Seminoles a chance for their first national title in 14 years and an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone or in this case, four birds and a pack of Tigers.