Capital One Orange Bowl: Florida State 33, Michigan 32, 5 Things That Matter, What’s Next For 2017?
Florida State hung on to beat Michigan 33-32 in a classic Orange Bowl. What are the five things that matter and what’s next in 2017?
Dalvin Cook might have been the player of the game, but …
This was Deondre Francois’ game. He only completed 9-of-27 passes for 222 yards and two scores with a pick, and he only ran for nine yards and a score, but after getting blasted early in the game, and not being quite right throughout, he ran for a late score to push the Wolverines, and he made the prettiest throw possible to take the lead for good.
This was DeMarcus Walker’s game. Matthew Thomas made 15 tackles and 3.5 tackles for loss, but it was Walker who wreaked havoc with four tackles with a sack and all of those tackles behind the line.
This was Keith Gavin’s game. It might have been ill-advised, but his kick return paved the way for the game-winning score.
This was Nyquan Murray’s game. He caught two passes, but they went for 104 yards and the two scores, making up for the early fumble on the one on a kick return.
But it was Dalvin Cook’s game.
No one was able to rumble on the Michigan run defense, but it was Cook who barreled behind an absolutely brilliant day from the O line, finishing with 145 yards and a score, and catching three passes for 62 yards.
This was Florida State’s game. It might’ve been a disappointing season, but it finished with ten wins, and it beat the Wolverines in the Orange Bowl.
The Jabrill Peppers and Jake Butt problem
If you ever wanted to see the differences between the McCaffrey/Fournette argument, and those who think it’s fine to skip bowl games to prevent big injuries before turning pro, this game was it.
Peppers legitimately hurt his hamstring, but if he decided to sit out with some sort of NFL flu, great – that’s what you’re supposed to do, and Butt’s knee injury might’ve shown why.
Butt could’ve turned pro last year, didn’t, and now he suffered a potentially big problem with his knee that could be devastating to his draft stock. At the very least, it’s going to hurt his draft status.
The Peppers hamstring will be fine in a few days. The Butt knee still has to be worked on. Everyone was watching this game, and future pro prospects saw it, too.
Jim Harbaugh’s big loss
And now will come the backlash.
Spin it however you’d like, but Michigan lost to Ohio State. It lost to Florida State. It lost to Iowa. Michigan might’ve been three plays away from being unbeaten, but that’s how this works – win, or don’t.
Yeah, Harbaugh’s Wolverines destroyed Florida last bowl season, but it lost this time around on the big stage, they’re 0-2 against the Buckeyes, 1-1 against Michigan State, and now haven’t won a Big Ten title over those two years, or even a division championship.
Again, make as many excuses or explain it away however you’d like, but Penn State won the Big Ten title, and it has a bajillion more reasons to have come up with a dud of a year.
Michigan was close, and the program is better under Harbaugh’s watch, but Ohio State will be better next year. Michigan State will be better next year. Penn State might be better next year. Michigan might be worse, because …
What’s next for Michigan in 2017?
The Wolverines are about to rebuild. The recruiting classes under Harbaugh have been incredible, but it’s asking too much for a slew of young players to rock right away in what might be the best division in college football. Offensively, all the receivers are gone, including injured TE Jake Butt, but Wilton Speight is back at quarterback. De’Veon Smith is done, but can Chris Evans be the new star running back? Kyle Kalis at guard and Erik Magnuson are done on the right side of the line, and tackle Ben Braden is gone on the left. In all, eight starters should be gone off the offense.
And the defense has bigger problems.
The brilliant line is all gone, and while Rashan Gary might be special, and there are good options to step in, losing Chris Wormley, Taco Charlton, Ryan Glasgow and Matthew Godin will be missed. Jabrill Peppers will obviously be missed, as will Ben Gedeon in the middle of the linebacking corps. As will Jourdan Lewis at one corner spot, and Channing Stribling at another, and Delano Hill at safety. All 11 starters need to be replaced. That’s tough, even for Michigan.
What’s next for Florida State in 2017?
Dalvin Cook is too good to not be in the NFL, as is tackle Roderick Johnson, but the FSU offense should be fine, no matter what. Nyqwan Murray showed how good the receiving corps will continue to be, and now it’ll be up to Jacques Patrick and others to carry the running game. Three starters are gone on the line, but the left side will need work.
FSU always reloads on the line, but it’ll lose DeMarcus Walker on one end, and potentially others. Even so, Josh Sweat, Demarcus Christmas, and the front four should be great. The entire linebacking corps should be back, and the secondary is loaded, even with the loss of CB Marquez White. It’s not a given – depending on who leaves early – but nine starters could be back.