It is easy in the Post-Game frenzy to remember and talk about the exploits of Jameis Winston, or the wall that was Timmy Jernigan. It is easy to remember the effort of Rashad Greene or the redeeming touchdown catch of Kelvin Benjamin. I am positive that you will always have Levonte Whitfield’s kickoff return in the 4th quarter that ignited the Seminoles sideline engrained in your memory. Football though is the ultimate team sport, and without all three facets of the game, Florida State would’ve been left wanting. So this article isn’t about Devonta Freeman or Lamarcus Joyner, rather the little guys that made lifting that crystal ball possible.
Karlos Williams transferred from safety to join Jimbo Fisher’s corp of running backs this year. Despite spending most of the year behind both Devonta Freeman and James Wilder Jr. many people close to the organization said he was the most talented of all three. Through hard work, Williams climbed into the number 2 running back spot prior to last night’s game. And trust me he did not disappoint. While his stats weren’t overly impressive (5 rushes for 25 yards and 1 reception for 0 yards) the small things he did, including the 5 yards he picked up on a fake punt to secure a first down, helped lift the Seminoles offense. However his biggest contribution was leading the charge down the field in front of Whitfield’s kickoff return. The slight block he made freed a lane for the explosive return man and put the Seminoles ahead.
Chad Abram replaced FSU grinder Lonnie Pryor this year, not easy shoes to fill. He might have only been on the field for a few plays last night, but when he was out there he made sure to make a difference. Whether he was leading the charge for one of the three RBs or staying in to help block while the Seminole offensive line was being overwhelmed, Abram did what was asked. He was handed the ball only once but picked up a crucial first down in the first quarter on a 3 yard run. He was rewarded for his efforts though. Jameis found him out of the backfield and on his one reception of the night, Abram brought the Noles to within two points with some hard running. Not content with his contribution, Abram also threw a block that helped spring Whifield’s kickoff return.
Roberto Aguayo might have been the most important player on the field last night for the Seminoles. The freshman kicker followed up his stellar season with a performance that can only be described as robotic. Florida State having a weapon like Aguayo gives them a huge advantage over any other school in the country. Alabama and Oregon had their championship dreams shattered because of poor kicking in one form or another. However, Aguayo went the entire season while only missing one field goal and was perfect on extra points. This brilliance lead to the freshman out scoring all Seminole opponents in the regular season. And Nole fans remember Auburns kicker missed one and you won by three. How ‘bout them apples.
There are many other Seminole players I haven’t talked about that played a huge roll in last night’s victory. While the defensive line didn’t look the same when Timmy Jernigan was on the bench, the pressure generated by Mario Edwards and the run stopping of Jaccobi McDaniel cannot go unnoticed. Also, while he was beaten a few times, Ronald Darby kept his head in the game and made some crucial plays down the stretch including a batted ball in the endzone.
Football is the ultimate team sport. While the efforts of Jameis Winston and PJ Edwards will never be forgotten, we should still take a second to remember the roll players. The Deon Sanders and Charlie Wards of the world have banners to commemorate their exploits on the football field. The only thing some of these kids will have is a memory and a tivo’d copy of the game. But they still made a difference, and deserved to be thanked.