Loss at NC State in 2012 reminds FSU to maintain focus

October 21, 2013

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Most coaches would be concerned about the potential of a letdown coming off a top-5 game on the road.

Not so for Florida State. The No. 3 Seminoles (6-0) won’t have any trouble focusing this week.

Jimbo Fisher has only had to remind his team about what happened on Oct. 6, 2012: NC State 17, Florida State 16.

"Feel that pain," Fisher said. "Pain is preparation. Do you want that pain again? Don't prepare. Do you want to eliminate that pain? Prepare and take care of your business."

It would be easy not to prepare this week. Florida State, now No. 2 in the Bowl Championship Series standings, could very well think they could cruise through Saturday afternoon's home game against NC State. Especially with a top-10 showdown against BCS No. 7 Miami (6-0) looming on Nov. 2 in Tallahassee.

History has shown Florida State not to overlook the Wolfpack. NC State has upset Florida State four times (2005, 2006, 2010 and last
season) when the Wolfpack were an unranked AP team and the Seminoles were ranked.

The Wolfpack (3-3) are coming off a bye week but lost their last two games, at Wake Forest (28-13) and home against Syracuse (24-10).

Florida State has in the past been susceptible to the trip-up games, and the loss last year in Raleigh, N.C., is a perfect example. The Seminoles were 5-0 going into the game and led 16-0 at the half in what looked like a runaway victory. But the Wolfpack climbed back into the game with a third-quarter field goal, tacked on a touchdown in the fourth quarter and then won it on Mike Glennon's 2-yard strike to Bryan Underwood with 16 seconds left.

Everything unraveled that night. Quarterback EJ Manuel was intercepted in the fourth quarter. Florida State's line allowed four sacks. The running game stalled in the second half. The Wolfpack blocked a punt. NC State converted on 3 of 4 fourth-down tries.

Since then, Florida State has not lost in the ACC. The Seminoles have since built a 10-game ACC winning streak (which includes the ACC championship game win over Georgia Tech on Dec. 1).

"Our team is legit," quarterback Jameis Winston said. "Too legit to quit."

References to MC Hammer's rap lyrics aside, Florida State is in the driver's seat in the ACC's Atlantic Division and in the national championship hunt. A dominating performance against Clemson vaulted the Seminoles from No. 5 in the polls into the championship discussion.

And a number of Seminoles were rewarded for their efforts on Monday. Winston, left tackle Cam Erving, wide receiver Rashad Greene, cornerback Lamarcus Joyner and linebacker Telvin Smith were named ACC players of the week.

Winston was named the Davey O'Brien Quarterback of the Week for the third time this season on Monday. He completed 22 of 34 passes for a career-high 444 yards, three passing touchdowns and one rushing TD against Clemson. He was also given the O'Brien weekly award after wins over Pittsburgh and Maryland.

Since Saturday night, the already simmering Heisman talk has reached a rapid boil. Winston has completed 71.3 percent of his passes for 1,885 passing yards and 20 touchdowns in just six games in his freshman season.

Winston continues to deflect the Heisman talk. Fisher again said that the stats need to be kept in perspective.

"If you want to be in the Heisman race, keep winning games," Fisher said. "As much as it is about great play, it's about your team winning games and being successful. Keeping things in perspective that way. I think he will and I think our team will."

Fisher was upbeat one day after the initial BCS standings were released, showing that Florida State was No. 1 in the computer rankings and No. 2 in the overall BCS standings.

He was quick with a quip when asked about his disdain for the computers in 2012 and his reaction to where the computers have ranked Seminoles this season.

"I love the computers now," Fisher said, laughing.

"The only thing I ever asked with the computers last year, we were as high as sixth in one poll and we weren't in the top 25 (in the computer rankings). Whatever it is, just give me some consistency."

Contact Bob Ferrante at bobferrante17@gmail.com
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