N.C. State wary of Seminole defense
OCT 02, 2012 5:15p ET
But it won't be easy generating offense for Glennon and the Wolfpack (3-2, 0-1 ACC) when they host third-ranked Florida State, which will be making its first ACC road appearance of the season.
The Seminoles (5-0, 2-0) have the league's best defense and feature its two top pass rushers in defensive ends Cornellius Carradine and Bjoern Werner, who already have 13 1/2 sacks between them. Florida State's defense ranks first across the board in the ACC in all of the key defensive categories.
Most of the Seminole defenders are the same players who smothered the Wolfpack 34-0 a year ago, sacking Glennon four times and intercepting him twice while holding him to a career-low 130 yards passing.
And this time he'll be playing behind a beat-up, patchwork offensive line that will feature a different starting lineup for the fourth time this season.
"It's going to be a challenge for those guys up front," NC State coach Tom O'Brien conceded Monday. "We've got to be able to protect the quarterback and we have to be able to throw the ball."
Florida State is coming off wins over schools with mobile quarterbacks who were largely able to escape its pass rush, but Glennon is a prototype quarterback who, at 6-6, can look over the field and given time is deadly accurate. He has thrown for 1,422 yards and 10 TDs this season but has been intercepted six times.
"He can throw every ball," Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said Monday. "An extremely talented guy."
But quarterbacks need time to do what they do best and that responsibility falls mostly on the guys up front.
"We'll have our hands full with them and having a few guys out is going to hurt, but hopefully those guys will step up," 310-pound Wolfpack offensive tackle R.J. Mattes said. "Their ends are real good."
The 6-5, 265-pound Carradine, who is called "Tank" by teammates and coaches, stepped into the starting lineup after Brandon Jenkins broke his foot in Florida State's opening game. Carradine leads the team with 28 tackles and seven sacks while the 255-pound, German-born Werner has 6 1/2 sacks at the other end position and leads the Seminoles with nine tackles for loss.
"They have great speed," O'Brien said. "We saw that last year. We hadn't played speed like that until we got to them last year."
While the Seminoles are third nationally in total defense and fourth through the air at 128.4 yards per game, the Wolfpack are 100th against the pass at 278.6.
That doesn't bode well against EJ Manuel, eighth in the country in both passer rating (176.7) and yards per attempt (9.6). Manuel hasn't been intercepted since the opener.
The senior threw for 321 yards and two TDs last season against NC State, but this will be his first time playing in Raleigh, where the Seminoles have dropped three of their last five visits - including a 28-24 loss in 2010 in the most recent one.
After Florida State fans made up at least half the crowd in a 30-17 win at USF last Saturday, Manuel isn't expecting such a friendly road environment this week.
"Their fans are right up on you as far as being on the visitor sideline, the fans are right on your back," Manuel said.
If the defense plays the way it's capable of, Manuel might not have to do too much. The Seminoles have allowed 20 points once in 11 games dating to their win over NC State on Oct. 29, coming out of those contests with a plus-15 turnover margin.
"Hopefully we'll match up," Fisher said. "We'll find out Saturday."
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