ACC Championship: Seminoles Who Will Shine in Blowout Win over Georgia Tech

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistDecember 1, 2012

BLACKSBURG, VA - NOVEMBER 08:  Quarterback EJ Manuel #3 of the Florida State Seminoles runs with the ball as defensive end James Gayle #99 of the Virginia Tech Hokies chases at Lane Stadium on November 8, 2012 in Blacksburg, Virginia.  (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images)
Geoff Burke/Getty Images

The Florida State Seminoles come into the ACC Championship game as huge favorites to lock up a BCS bowl berth. 

Barring some kind of miraculous effort from the 6-6 Yellow Jackets, the Seminoles will live up to that favored billing. Georgia Tech hasn't defeated a ranked team all season and is coming off of an ugly 42-10 loss to Georgia. 

The 10-2 Seminoles, on the other hand, have been the class of the ACC all season and boast a dominant offense and defense. With both units ranked in the Top 10 nationally, there's no doubt that they can beat most teams on both sides of the ball, and we should see that play out on the field on Saturday.

These are the Seminoles that will put on great performances as Florida State gets one more opportunity to improve before heading to a BCS bowl matchup.


Christian Jones, LB

Going against a disciplined triple-option football team means that the defense must be equally disciplined. It also means depending on your linebackers to make a ton of plays as the defensive linemen fulfill their responsibilities up front. 

With the defensive line responsible for maintaining gaps and ensuring that they don't create lanes for the Jackets' running attack, they'll rely on Jones to clean things up.

At 6'4" 232 pounds, Jones is a big man who has shown he knows how to stuff running lanes and stat sheets—he's second on the team with 76 tackles and six tackles for a loss. Expect the announcers to be calling Jones' name early and often.


E.J. Manuel, QB

Manuel is putting together an extremely efficient season for the Seminoles in his senior year. 

He's thrown 23 touchdowns on the season to only six interceptions and boasts a quarterback rating of 160. With a matchup against the Georgia Tech secondary, Manuel's efficiency numbers will only be improved further. 

Opposing quarterback Aaron Murray didn't get too many opportunities to throw the ball against the Yellow Jackets, but when he did it was bad news for Tech. Murray finished the game 14-of-17 for 215 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. 

Coming off of a bad three-interception game against Florida to end the season, Manuel will look to get back on track in a big way against the Yellow Jackets.


Devonta Freeman, RB

In Florida State's loss to Florida, the Seminoles really got away from the running game. 

With a much more friendly matchup, the running game should be in full force once again for Seminoles. Freeman was limited to just 37 yards on eight carries against the Gators and will look to have a great bounce back performance against Georgia Tech. 

The Yellow Jackets haven't been all that great at stopping the run this season either. Georgia's lethal combination of Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley ran all over their defense and each averaged over eight yards per carry. 

With a blowout looming, Freeman should get all the carries he'll need to post a big day as the Seminoles get ready to take the national stage, most likely in the Orange Bowl.