Since Jimbo Fisher took over the Florida State Seminoles, he has returned the program to national relevance. This season, the Noles are a perfect 6-0 and No. 2 in the initial BCS rankings following a complete dismantling of the Clemson Tigers last week. The win was their first in Death Valley since 2001 but they’ve got another monkey to get off their back this week when they take on the NC State Wolfpack. NC State is the only ACC program with a winning record against Fisher and will look to once again be FSU’s stumbling block towards a national title this Saturday.
Fisher took over the Noles in 2010 and has gone just 1-2 against the Wolfpack over the last three seasons. Last year’s game may have been the most painful of the losses as FSU had risen to No. 3 after the first five weeks of the season before blowing a 16-0 halftime lead to lose 17-16. It was the first loss of the 2012 season for the Noles and effectively ended their shot at playing for the national championship last season. Fast forward to this season: FSU is ranked No. 3 again (in the AP and Coaches Polls) with a serious opportunity to make a national title run.
This team remembers what happened to them last season and Fisher is using it to motivate his team. He wants them to focus on the Wolfpack this week and avoid complacency from their big win over Clemson last week and keep them from looking ahead to their showdown with the No. 7 Miami Hurricanes next week.
“Feel that pain. Pain is preparation. You want that pain again? Don’t prepare. You want to eliminate that pain? Prepare and take care of your business.”
NC State head coach Dave Doeren knows that the challenge will be a tall one to pull off the upset. He describes them as “dominating” when he watched them on film and expects their best game when the Wolfpack come to Tallahassee on Saturday. He hopes to rely on the experience of his roster who have “played well against them” to lead the way but he’ll need more out of them then they’ve shown this season. The Wolfpack are 0-3 in ACC play this season so far and have yet to score more than 14 points against a conference opponent.
That won’t get it done against FSU, the No. 3 scoring offense in college football but it may be all they get against the No. 3 scoring defense in the country. Florida State has allowed more than 14 points just once this season while scoring 41 points or more in every game. While the Wolfpack are hoping for another magical rally like last year, it’s more likely they’ll have flashbacks to 2011. That was the last time NC State was in Tallahassee and got dominated in a 34-0 beatdown.
Is home cooking (and arguably the most talented team in the country) enough to get Jimbo Fisher back to .500 against NC State or will the Wolfpack force another FSU stumble on their way to a national championship?
It was a great week for everyone who roots for the Florida State Seminoles. Winning big against quite possibly the toughest opponent they will face all season long, the Seminoles proved that they are the elite team in the ACC, taking down the Clemson Tigers 51-14 on the road.
On the other side of the field, the North Carolina State Wolfpack are just 3-3 on the season and have yet to take down a quality opponent. This will be the Wolfpack’s toughest game of the season and a win can give them hope for a bowl game appearance when the time comes.
Florida State is led by a guy that goes by the name Jameis Winston. While many people refer to him as ‘Famous Jameis’ the freshman quarterback has openly admitted he doesn’t like the nickname because he isn’t famous yet. His numbers say otherwise as the star quarterback has passed for 1,885 yards and 20 touchdowns in six games for the 10th-best passing attack in the nation. Rashad Greene and Kenny Shaw combine for 1,083 yards and 10 touchdowns on 59 catches. Devonta Freeman leads the run game with 469 yards and four touchdowns.
N.C. State has been fairly average on offense this season, ranking in the 50-range nationally in both pass offense and run offense. The Wolfpack are led by quarterback Pete Thomas who has 1,314 yards this season, but just three passing touchdowns. Not being able to get into the endzone through the air has been an issue for this team and the run game has been forced to score the touchdowns for this offense. There are no real stars on this side of the ball.
Defensively, the Wolfpack have a solid unit, ranking 27th in the nation in points allowed per game and 29th in the nation in yards allowed per game. Florida State has an impressive defense that ranks third in the nation in points allowed per game and seventh in the nation in yard allowed per game.
North Carolina State will travel to Florida State to take on the Seminoles at 3:30 p.m. EST on Saturday, Oct. 26. The game will be broadcasted on ABC and ESPN 2.
PREDICTION: North Carolina State 10, Florida State 42
After being down 7-6 in the late second quarter of their ACC game versus NC State in Raleigh, North Carolina on Thursday night, the Clemson Tigers took control to win the road test 26-14. The victory keeps Clemson very much in the BCS Championship race being ranked No. 3 in the country behind just Alabama and Oregon.
As the game unfolded, it was clear to see that Clemson’s Heisman candidate Tajh Boyd has grown to be an NFL ready quarterback. In fact, I believe he is the most NFL ready QB in NCAA football today. If he can stay healthy, I don’t see any reason why he wouldn’t be the first quarterback taken in the 2014 NFL draft.
If you compare Boyd to any other QB in the league today, he reminds me of Buffalo Bills rookie starter EJ Manuel. In his first two weeks as the Bills’ offensive leader, EJ has shown great poise and maturity. In back-to-back home games in Buffalo, Manuel led the troops to a 21-20 lead over the New England Patriots in Week 1 before Tom Brady orchestrated a late comeback on the Patriots’ final drive winning a 23-21 squeaker. In Week 2, Mr. Manuel had the opportunity to make the most out of the final drive of the game with 1:36 remaining in the fourth quarter and the Bills trailing the Carolina Panthers 23-17. EJ succeeded in throwing a touchdown pass to wide receiver Stevie Johnson with two seconds remaining. That was a fantastic and emotional win with EJ’s father in the stands celebrating his birthday while watching his son hurl the final dagger.
Because of Boyd’s incredible physical and mental attributes in his senior year playing for Clemson, I find that the similarities between Tajh and EJ are staggering. As with Manuel, Boyd doesn’t force throws and make unnecessary mistakes. Of course, this is an extremely positive trait that all NFL teams look for in a starting quarterback. In addition, Tajh mirrors EJ in regards to arm strength and accuracy as well as with his ability to escape the pocket and run the football.
At the forefront of the Clemson attack, Mr. Boyd and the Tigers have a great chance to put themselves into position to play for the BCS Title in Jan. 2014 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. Tajh will push Clemson the rest of the way with his poise, maturity, tremendous arm, athletic ability and the most important characteristic of all – the vital organ between his ears.