Those of you who follow me on Twitter (@os_coleyharvey) may have seen the following tweet from me come across your timelines Sunday night following the Sun Sports replay of Florida State's 49-37 win over Clemson: "Was convinced last night that EJ Manuel looked like a really good, solid sr QB. Watching replay, I'm convinced he looked like an elite QB."
OK, yes, the grammar is a little off in those 140 characters, but hopefully you got the message: EJ Manuel didn't just look good Saturday night. He looked great, exceptional, on-the-money. Bottom line, he looked like a quarterback who may have just had his finest hour on one of the biggest stages of his career.
But was it his finest hour?
Although there are some who may convince you otherwise, Manuel actually had his share of fine hours before the recent 380-yard passing, 102-yard rushing performance that some say vaulted him well into the Heisman Trophy race. Down below, we take a quick look back at five games during his career that could arguably be considered his five greatest -- so far.
At the bottom of the blurbs, check out our poll. Vote in it and leave a comment below. Tell us, what are your top-5 EJ Manuel games? Which performance deserves to be No. 1?
In no particular order, here are the five:
Nov. 13, 2010 -- FSU 16, Clemson 13
While it was a last-second Dustin Hopkins field goal that ultimately broke a 13-all tie and gave the Seminoles one of their biggest wins of the 2010 season, Manuel enjoyed one of his finer performances during his final year as a backup. Playing in relief of injured starting quarterback Christian Ponder, Manuel passed for 210 yards, going 15-for-24. He also had one interception. Manuel also rushed 15 times for 71 yards and had a rushing touchdown. The performance began convincing some that the Seminoles would be in good hands when Ponder, the eventual NFL Draft first-rounder, left.
Dec. 29, 2011 -- FSU 18, Notre Dame 14
Remember, we're talking "individual" performances here. Following a first half that saw the Seminoles go scoreless, allow four sacks and pile up just 104 yards of total offense, Manuel snapped his troops to life in the second half of last year's Champs Sports Bowl. Settling down his group of true freshmen offensive linemen Manuel got better protection and fought through what was later called broken leg injury to spark a second-half comeback. Along with a 33-yard third-down completion to a diving Rashad Greene, touchdown passes to Greene and Bert Reed helped finalize the 18-14 come-from-behind bowl win. Manuel finished with two passing touchdowns on 249 yards passing. He was 20-for-31.
Jan. 1, 2010 -- FSU 33, West Virginia 21
Manuel has a knack for playing well when it matters. Once again in a bowl game, this time with the potential off-field distraction of the fanfare and circus surrounding coach Bobby Bowden's final game, Manuel rallied the Seminoles to a two-score victory in the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville. It was his first bowl start and came as his Hall of Fame coach was riding off into the sunset of a forced retirement. The then-redshirt frehman had a big hand in sending the new Division I-A coaching wins leader off on a high note. Manuel was 17-for-24 passing and had 189 passing yards. He also rushed 14 times for 70 yards and a touchdown.
Oct. 29, 2011 -- FSU 34, North Carolina State 0
Previous to his performance last Saturday, Manuel set a career-high in passing yards in a conference game when he threw for 321 against the Wolfpack in Tallahassee. He had two touchdowns on the afternoon, and also threw an interception. It was the last interception he would throw until this year's season opener, when receiver Kenny Shaw bobbled a pass that fell into the hands of a defender nearby. That has been Manuel's only interception this season.
Sept. 22, 2012 -- FSU 49, Clemson 37
Clearly his best performance of this season -- also, the only game he has played four quarters of; the first three were blowouts -- Saturday night's 380-yard passing, 102-yard rushing performance was a career game. He also had two passing touchdowns. Only once before had an FSU quarterback passed for more than 300 and rushed for more than 100 in a game. That quarterback was Charlie Ward, and he did it in a 1992 laugher against a horrendous Maryland team. Manuel's performance came against the 10th-ranked team in the country and occurred on national television with a throng of national college football writers in attendance. Could the performance have been considered the greatest by a quarterback in school history? That's something else to debate, and for history to decide.
Vote in our poll below and comment, as well. Let's see what you're thinking about Manuel's career performances to this point: