The 12th-ranked Florida State Seminoles currently rank 10th in the country in total offense. In what has become a breakout year for quarterback EJ Manuel, senior running back Chris Thompson has been a key piece in the Seminoles’ resurgent offense as well, averaging over 7.5 yards per carry this season while being a key pass-catcher out of the backfield. That makes Monday's news that Thompson will miss the remainder of the season with a torn left ACL all the much harder to take for the Seminoles and their fans.
Incredibly, the Seminoles haven’t had a 1,000-yard rusher since 1996 (Warrick Dunn), the longest current streak in the country for any team. But Thompson was on pace to be the first in 16 years to do so.
Coming into the game against Miami he needed to average just 60 rushing yards per game for the final five games to break the elusive 1,000 yard barrier. All of those hopes and dreams came shattering down, along with Thompson’s left knee, as he landed awkwardly after hauling in a leaping catch along the sidelines in the 2nd quarter versus the Hurricanes on Saturday.
Need proof of Thompson’s impact on the offense this season? He was responsible for 94 of Florida State’s 112 yards of offense on the day at the time of his injury. Thompson also ranked 2nd in the ACC in yards from scrimmage coming into the game with 935, trailing only Giovani Bernard of North Carolina.
The news about this injury is especially cruel and disheartening when you consider that Thompson, a senior, broke his back in a loss to Wake Forest last season and missed the final eight games of the year, yet still managed to become the starting running back this season after more than nine months of grueling rehab and fear that he may never play the game of football again. As head coach Jimbo Fisher so correctly stated later on: “He’s what’s right about college football, but this game takes no prisoners”.
Florida State will now turn to their sophomore tandem of Devonta Freeman and James Wilder Jr., both prized recruits coming out of high school. Freeman was last year’s leading rusher and has 140 rushing yards in the last two games, while Wilder currently ranks 3rd in the ACC with seven rushing touchdowns; but must keep his off-the-field issues behind him.
The Seminoles are now hoping that the combination of these two can add up to what Thompson may have done all alone. It will be challenging, but their ACC and National Title hopes depend on it.
Brian Vornberg is the lead college football writer for CraveOnline Sports. Follow Brian on
Twitter @briberg14 or subscribe at Facebook.com/CraveOnlineSports.
Photo Credit: Richard C. Lewis/Icon SMI