The Daily Nole

On My Mind Monday: How Have FSU QBs Fared in First Start Post-Injury?

Damon Herota/FSU athletics

Florida State head coach Willie Taggart made it clear on Monday that redshirt sophomore James Blackman will remain the team’s starting quarterback when the Seminoles travel to take on No. 2 Clemson on Saturday.

Blackman missed FSU’s 31-13 victory over NC State on Sept. 28 with a knee injury after many speculated that he would be the starter. In this piece, we’ll look at how Florida State starting quarterbacks have fared recently in their first start post-injury.

This list will only take into account when the injuries occurred during the same season in which the quarterbacks made their next start. For example, Deondre Francois was lost for the year, following a patella tendon tear in the 2017 opener against Alabama. Francois did not return until 2018, therefore that start will not be on the list.

Without further ado, here’s what FSU quarterbacks have done in their first starts after an injury in recent years:

Deondre Francois
Opponent: at Notre Dame, Nov. 10, 2018
Result: Lost, 42-13
Statistics: 23-for-47 passing, 216 yards, one interception
Overview: Fresh off an injury in a 59-10 loss to Clemson, Deondre Francois returned to face another top-5 team. Francois’ first pass of the night was intercepted, Notre Dame scored 75 seconds in and never trailed the rest of the way. Francois didn’t get great help from his receivers, but had an all-around difficult night. The Seminoles, trailing 35-13, threatened to make it a game when they had 1st-and-goal in the third quarter, but could not score and never threatened again.

Everett Golson
Opponent: vs. NC State, Nov. 14, 2015
Result: Won, 34-17
Statistics: 5-for-9 passing, 52 yards, two interceptions
Overview: After showing concussion symptoms prior to an Oct. 31 contest against Syracuse, Everett Golson missed two starts after a promising beginning to 2015. Golson was put back in the lineup for FSU’s ACC finale against NC State, but turned the ball over three times in less than a half. Golson left with FSU trailing 17-7. Sean Maguire would enter the game and with him under center, the Seminoles scored the game’s final 27 points. The contest would be the last start of the Notre Dame transfer’s career.

E.J. Manuel
Opponent: at Duke, Oct. 15, 2011
Result: Won, 41-16
Statistics: 9-for-14 passing, 239 yards, two touchdown passes, 62 yards rushing, two touchdown rushes
Overview: E.J. Manuel missed two starts with a shoulder injury suffered in a loss to Oklahoma, but he missed just one game. After starter Clint Trickett was ineffective in a 35-30 loss at Wake Forest, Manuel entered the contest. In his first start back from injury however, Manuel accounted for four total touchdowns and was ultra-efficient. Manuel threw touchdown passes to Rodney Smith and Nick O’Leary and rushed for two scores. FSU won seven of its final eight games to close the year. Manuel never missed another start.

Christian Ponder
Opponent: South Carolina, Dec. 31, 2010 (Chick-fil-A Bowl)
Result: Won, 26-17
Statistics: 1-for-5 passing, 6 yards
Overview: After missing the ACC Championship against Virginia Tech with a bursa sack injury, Christian Ponder lasted less than a half in his final game at FSU. The Seminoles would beat South Carolina in the Chick-fil-A Bowl to clinch their first 10-win season in seven years, but Ponder’s concussion forced the team to turn to Manuel. Manuel passed for 84 yards and the game-sealing touchdown pass to Taiwan Easterling and rushed for 46 yards in the win.

Christian Ponder
Opponent: at Maryland, Nov. 20, 2010
Result: Won, 30-16
Statistics: 16-for-26 passing, 170 yards, one touchdown pass, one interception
Overview: After a bursa sack injury forced Christian Ponder to miss FSU’s 16-13 win over Clemson, he returned to the lineup for a pivotal ACC Atlantic contest against Maryland. Ponder wasn’t at his best, but did enough to help his team earn the win. The Seminoles trailed 16-13 in the third quarter when Ponder found Bert Reed for a 44-yard touchdown that put FSU ahead for good. Safety Nick Moody sealed the game with a 96-yard interception return for a touchdown with less than a minute remaining.

Chris Rix
Opponent: vs. Duke, Nov. 6, 2004
Result: Won, 29-7
Statistics: 9-for-15 passing, 94 yards, one interception
Overview: Chris Rix suffered an ankle injury early in the season against Clemson and watched Wyatt Sexton lead FSU to five straight victories, Rix was re-inserted into the lineup against Duke after Sexton struggled in a loss at Maryland. Rix left with FSU up 9-7, but did not play well and was eventually replaced by Sexton in his first start in almost two months. With Sexton under center, the Seminoles would outscore Duke 20-0 to end the game. After Sexton struggled in the regular season finale against Florida, Rix started FSU’s 30-18 win over West Virginia to cap the season and the California native’s career.

Mike Ferguson is the editor of The Daily Nole. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeWFerguson. Like The Daily Nole on Facebook. To pitch an idea, author a post or to learn more about The Daily Nole, email Mike Ferguson at

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply