Chattanooga, No. 16 Florida State share common goals
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) Florida State and Chattanooga each gave the same goals for Saturday's game - get out of it in one piece since the stakes are bigger next week.
The 16th-ranked Seminoles have a key game at No. 8 Florida next Saturday to keep their hopes of reaching one of the New Year's six bowl games alive. The Mocs are headed to the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs after winning the Southern Conference last week.
Both teams are 8-2. Florida State is 14th in the College Football Playoff rankings and Chattanooga is eighth in the FCS poll.
Despite being highly favored, Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher remains wary of the Mocs. One of Chattanooga's losses was to Jacksonville State, which nearly upset Auburn.
"This team is used to playing FCS teams and having success. So we'll have to play an game," Fisher said.
Chattanooga coach Russ Huesman said earlier this week that the timing of the game isn't great, but such is the case often when Football Subdivision Teams schedule FCS opponents.
"I don't know if there is a best or worse time. We're just thankful that they're playing us," Huesman said. "It is important that our players get opportunities to face this caliber of opponent and it helps our budget."
This is the second time in three years that Chattanooga is facing a Top 25 opponent in November. It faced Alabama in 2013 and lost 49-0. The Mocs remain in contention for a first-round FCS bye but won't find out until the bracket is released on Sunday.
With his team headed to the postseason, Huesman said he would not alter playing time for his starters but would keep a tab on how many hits some of his skill position players are taking so that they will be ready for the playoffs.
Fisher's biggest concern might be keeping his senior's emotions in check. This is Florida State's final home game of the season and 19 will be honored in pregame ceremonies. The group has 47 wins in four years, which is second in FBS behind No. 2 Ohio State, which has 48.
Some other things to know about the Chattanooga-Florida State game:
MAGUIRE'S TIME: Quarterback Sean Maguire gets his third start of the season for Florida State but this was the first time he had been the undisputed starter all week. Maguire replaced Everett Golson during the second quarter of last week's game against North Carolina State and led the Seminoles to four straight scoring drives. With the exception of the Nov. 7 loss at Clemson, the offense has looked more cohesive when Maguire has been at the controls.
25 AND UNDER: Florida State remains the only team in FBS that has not allowed 25 or more points in a game this season. They are 10th in the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 17.4 points per game.
COOK'S RUN: Dalvin Cook set Florida State's single-season rushing record last week as he continues to make a case for postseason awards consideration. The sophomore is second in the nation in yards per carry (8.1) and has 17 carries of 20 or more yards. He has rushed for 150 yards or more in five of the eight games he has played.
1,000-YARD DUO: The Mocs are on the verge of having two players with 1,000-yard rushing seasons for the second straight year. Quarterback Jacob Huesman is three yards away from doing it for the second straight season and running back Derrick Crane needs 34 for his first. It would be the 35th time in FCS history that it has occurred.
OPPORTUNISTIC DEFENSE: Chattanooga has four defensive touchdowns this season, including three via interception. The Mocs have also held opponents under 300 yards in total offense four times in the past seven games.