The Florida State Seminoles beat their Sunshine State rivals, Miami, by two scores, but in the end Florida State might have suffered a bigger blow than the one they dealt to the Hurricanes. Chris Thompson, the 'Noles leading rusher, suffered a knee injury that took him out of the game and could leave him sidelined for quite some time.
Obviously, getting the win was job one for Jimbo Fisher and his team, but losing Thompson is something that will hurt the 'Noles down the line, should the injury be severe. We'll find out in the next few days just how serious things are. As is the case anytime a player is hurt, we hope that Thompson gets some positive details and the injury looked worse than it actually is.
Yes, Florida State still has James Wilder Jr. and Devonta Freeman in the backfield to tote the rock. However, Thompson was the clear leader of the pack. A shifty back that also brought power to the table, Thompson was the driving force behind the Seminoles' run game. With 640 yards, Thompson was on pace to be the first Florida State 1,000-yard rusher in a long, long time.
On the macro level, this is a blow to the Seminoles' season because they may lose a weapon. On the micro level, this could be so much worse. Thompson missed eight games and plenty of time a season ago due to a brutal injury. The junior suffered a broken back and cracked vertebrae against Wake Forest, and he spent the entire offseason preparing for this season.
If Thompson is out for an extended period of time, who do you think steps up?
We'll find out this week just how serious the injury is; but without Thompson things get interesting for Florida State. Wilder and Freeman will take on more of the load, and while both are capable, neither possesses the blend of speed, power and maturity that Thompson brings to the position. The two young bucks will have to grow up quick, should they lose their leader at the position, and that process will be an interesting one to watch.
A season ago, Freeman stepped up and became "the guy" with Thompson out for most of the year. This season, Wilder has been the second "go-to guy" for the Seminoles' run game. Both players will have to get better should Thompson not be able to go.
So, while Florida State got a win in the rivalry game, they may have lost a key part of their ACC Championship formula. Let's hope for the best. Thompson's certainly been through enough already, so some good news is due that young man's way.