There were several outstanding performances in the ACC this past weekend, but none greater than what we saw out of Florida State quarterback EJ Manuel.
The senior set his Heisman campaign ablaze with a jaw-dropping performance in a 49-37 victory over Clemson on Saturday night in Tallahassee. Manuel threw for a career-high 380 yards with two touchdowns and ran 12 times for 102 yards to become the first FSU quarterback to pass for 300 yards and run for 100 yards in the same game since Charlie Ward did it against Maryland in 1992.
Ward won the Heisman in 1993.
The 482 yards of total offense gives Manuel the third-highest total by an ACC player against a nationally ranked team. Former FSU great Chris Weinke recorded the only two better performances, both in 2000. That includes a 509-yard effort against then 10th-ranked Clemson at Doak Campbell Stadium.
Weinke won the Heisman that same year.
It is too early in the season to start connecting the dots, but Manuel right now is the No. 1 ACC player in the Heisman race, and he should be getting plenty more love this week after that terrific performance. We saw a new level of efficiency and consistency from him in the first three games of the season. For him to carry that on against a nationally ranked opponent clearly speaks to the strides he has made in this, his senior season.
If he keeps this pace up, who knows where he could end up in early December.
"I just want to win games for my teammates," Manuel said after the game. "I’m not really about personal accolades and things like that. If it comes it does. I just want to win and leave a legacy at Florida State for our fans.”