NCAA FB

No. 5 FSU and No. 1 Oklahoma have big rematch game

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP)

Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher is hoping that one bad experience might lead to a good one when his fifth-ranked Seminoles host top-ranked Oklahoma on Saturday.

It's been 53 weeks since Oklahoma whipped the Seminoles 47-17 on Sept. 11, 2010 in what was just Fisher's second game as a head coach.

If nothing else, Saturday's marquee game will show just how far Florida State (2-0) has progressed since.

''It'll be a measuring stick,'' Fisher said. ''It's not the season, but it can be a great building block.''

Fisher said his coaches and players have matured since their nightmare in Norman and that the experience provided a lesson on what it takes to win big games.

''Hopefully our team has grown and we've gotten better,'' Fisher said Monday.

''We know our players better, they know us better,'' he said. ''They know our scheme better.''

It's the first real test of the season for the Seminoles, who have outscored two inferior opponents by a combined 96-10. The same can be said for Oklahoma which opened its season with a 47-14 win over Tulsa on Sept. 3.

''They blew us out last year,'' said quarterback EJ Manuel, who replaced a struggling Christian Ponder in the second half of last year's game. ''They played great. Last year was their year.''

Oklahoma (1-0) had an open date Saturday and Sooners' coach Bob Stoops gave his players a three-day weekend to relax while his coaches were most likely studying up on Florida State.

Florida State's coaches, meanwhile, are tinkering with the offensive line in an effort to get the running game untracked.

Center Jacob Fahrenkrug and guard Bryan Stork swapped positions midway through last Saturday's 62-10 rout of Charleston Southern.

''It's a work in progress,'' Fisher conceded at his weekly Monday meeting with reporters. ''We'll get better.''

Freshman James Wilder Jr. leads the team in rushing with 76 yards and he did that in one quarter. Remove Wilder and receiver Bert Reed's 35-yard gain on a reverse out of the team's statistics and Florida State is averaging 2.4 yards a carry despite playing overmatched opponents.

Jermaine Thomas, who had 58 yards on 11 carries in last year's Oklahoma game, has had just four carries all season despite being healthy.

Manuel is counting on the home crowd to make a difference. The game is a sellout.

''I think our fans will make it very loud for those guys,'' Manuel said Monday. ''Hopefully it'll rattle them a little bit.''

Fisher knows there'll be plenty of distractions this week for what has shaped up as arguably the biggest nonconference game here against an out-of-state opponent since Pittsburgh with quarterback Dan Marino visited in the early 1980s.

''We can't concern ourselves with the hype,'' Fisher said. ''You go do what you know and play the game.''

Fisher expects to get safety Nick Moody back from an injury, but said wide receiver Willie Haulstead remains day-to-day dealing with the effects on a concussion suffered in practice last month.

Cornerback and punt returner Greg Reid and linebacker Telvin Smith are both back after a one-game suspension for violating an unspecified team rule.

Tagged: Florida State, Florida, EJ Manuel, Oklahoma

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