TALLAHASSEE — Florida State RB Chris Thompson, who had a strong start to his senior season and was closing in on a rare Seminoles rushing milestone, is done for the year and possibly for his college career, coach Jimbo Fisher announced Monday afternoon.
That will increase the role of James Wilder Jr., the former Plant High standout who will be the "co-No. 1" tailback with Devonta Freeman, Fisher said. Wilder has a team-high seven rushing touchdowns.
MRI results of a left knee injury Thompson suffered in Saturday's 33-20 win over Miami revealed he had a torn ACL. It is his second season-ending injury in a year.
"He was upset, very disappointed. Having a great year, doing everything right," Fisher said. "He's what's right about college football. I say it all the time. But this game takes no prisoners. It's a very unforgiving game."
Last season, the starting tailback missed all but five games after breaking vertebrae in his back in the first half of a game at Wake Forest. He spent all of the offseason training and strengthening his back for a return.
That return took a hit six plays into the second quarter of the Seminoles' eighth game.
On a 32-yard screen pass, Thompson went down on a seemingly routine tackle near midfield. Trainers rushed to attend to him. Soon, FSU announced he had a knee injury and was out for the rest of the game.
Thompson was leading the Seminoles with 687 yards rushing. Had he reached 1,000, he would have been the first FSU running back to do so since Warrick Dunn in 1996.
FSU is exploring options of medically redshirting Thompson. The NCAA typically doesn't give medical redshirts for players who have had season-ending injuries after playing more than one-third of the season. Because of the nature of his two long-term injuries in consecutive years, the Seminoles hope a medical redshirt can be obtained after this season.
Combining his missed games from last season with the ones he will miss this season, Thompson will have been forced out of 13-14 games with serious injuries. That's the equivalent of a full season. He also missed two games his freshman year following the death of a grandparent.
Thompson's injury also adds to the rather long list of Seminoles who have suffered season-ending injuries. Among them is DE Brandon Jenkins, who entered his senior season with preseason All-America honors.
"It's going to be challenging, we're going to go through things, but it will be great. We're prepared," Wilder said. "Coach always told us to be prepared for any opportunity when our time is called upon."
USF: Pass D subpar
TAMPA — One particular area of disappointment for USF coach Skip Holtz during Saturday's loss at Louisville was the Bulls' pass defense, and this weekend USF faces Syracuse, which has the Big East's top passing attack, averaging 308 yards.
"This is not exciting to say walking into what we're walking into, but I don't think our pass defense is what it needs to be," Holtz said on the Big East's weekly coaches' teleconference. "The pass defense is one of the biggest things. It's not just coverage, but Saturday one of the things that showed up was pass-rush lanes. You can't just tape your ears back every play and go flying back there for the quarterback, especially against an athletic one like we did last week."
Syracuse ranks 15th nationally in pass offense, with senior Ryan Nassib throwing for 2,159 yards and 13 touchdowns and completing 65 percent of his passes; WR Marcus Sales is tied for the conference lead in touchdown catches, and he and Alec Lemon are both in the Big East's top four in catches and receiving yards. USF ranks last in the league in pass efficiency defense, in part because the Bulls have no interceptions.
Holtz said he's seeing progress in USF's running game, as well as the run defense from its front seven, but he was more concerned about problems against the pass after seeing another opponent march down the field for a winning touchdown after USF had rallied for 15 straight points in the fourth quarter to take the lead with 3:09 to play.
Asked about USF's close losses and why the Bulls might be better than their 2-5 record, Holtz was blunt: "I don't know. Somebody else might have to answer that question."
KICKOFF: USF's next home game after Syracuse, Nov. 3 against Connecticut, has been set for a 7 p.m. kickoff, on ESPNU.
Greg Auman, Times staff writer
UM: Streaker revealed?
MIAMI GARDENS — We may now know the identity of the man who caused momentary chaos at the Miami-Florida State game Saturday night.
Travis Moscow is claiming credit for being the semi-clothed streaker who ran into the middle of a play in the first quarter of the game. Using his Twitter page, Moscow explained the post-arrest process.
"I was held at the field jail untill the game was over, then they took us to DADE COUNTY JAIL, for the night, Got out at 11AM … ," Moscow tweeted to Sports Illustrated blogger Jimmy Traina.
The picture on Moscow's website looks like the man who was crushed by a security guard at the end of the dash.
Michael Casagrande, Sun Sentinel