By the Numbers: EJ's inconsistency

With the 2012 season officially in the books, we took a look through the stats to determine some of the most significant improvements and problems Florida State endured this year, with five stats that defined 2012.

The numbers don't always tell the whole story, but these numbers shed some light on some of the biggest reasons Florida State won 12 games and its first ACC title in seven years, and also why those other two games got away.

We started with a look at the ground game on Monday.

We looked at some curious playcalling by Jimbo Fisher on Tuesday.

We looked at the impressive work by FSU's secondary on Wednesday.

We looked at the depth on the Seminoles' defensive line on Thursday.

And finally: 156.03.

That was EJ Manuel's passer rating this season, which ranked second in the ACC and 15th nationally, just a tick behind Heisman finalist Collin Klein.

That rating was an improvement over 2011, as were virtually all of his other stats -- passing yards (3,392), touchdowns (23), completion percentage (68.0) and yards per attempt (8.8). And yet, it's hard to call Manuel's season a complete success.

Big picture, Manuel took a step forward in his fifth year in the program and his second as the full-time starter, but he was maddeningly inconsistent at times, with the loss to Florida -- in which he accounted for five turnovers -- as the low point.

And while the season as a whole represented progress for Manuel, the numbers suggest he might have regressed as the year went along.

In FSU's final five games of the season, the offense mustered fewer than 400 yards four times -- it had topped that total in every other game in 2012 -- and Manuel threw for fewer than 200 yards three times.

The battle to become the next starting quarterback at FSU will be the biggest story of the spring, and while replacing Manuel won't be easy, there are reasons a sizable contingent of fans are excited about the alternatives.