FSU (1-0) looks to turn up the heat in Saturday's season-opener against the Maryland Terps (0-1) at Doak Campbell Stadium.
Although Maryland finished higher than FSU in the national rankings in each of the last two years, the Seminoles have dominated the series against the Terps, going 13-0 overall and wining by a combined score of 89-41 the past two seasons.
Ranked 15th in the preseason poll, Maryland entered the season with high expectations and its sights set on winning the ACC title for the second time in three years. But the Terps fell out of the Top 25 with a stunning 20-13 overtime loss to Northern Illinois on Aug. 28.
FSU, meanwhile, thumped North Carolina 37-0, recording its 21st shutout and seventh over an Atlantic Coast Conference team during the Bobby Bowden era.
The Seminoles allowed UNC to cross midfield only five times in 14 possessions, with the Tar Heels' deepest venture ending on a missed field goal after reaching the 20-yard line. The only other time UNC reached inside of the FSU 30, cornerback Stanford Samuels thwarted the drive with an interception..
The defense limited the Tar Heels to three plays within the red zone (20-yard line) with two incomplete passes and a missed field goal.
Despite the solid effort, FSU defensive ends coach Jody Allen is looking for improvement from his unit. Interior linemen Brodrick Bunkley and Travis Johnson each were credited with a half-sack against the Tar Heels.
"Obviously when you get a shutout you are excited. But probably the most exciting thing is there's a lot of room for improvement," Allen told TheTerritory after reviewing the film.
"There was some things I was real disappointed in. It's hard to talk about disappointment after a shutout. I think we were nervous a little bit. Some of the guys had put so much into it, that they got out there and the moment was finally there, but we didn't get the take offs like we needed to get. I didn't think we rushed the passer with the same confidence and the fury that we had been rushing it with."
Allen said right defensive end Eric Moore was his most consistent performer in a unit that finished with six quarterback hurries. He rotated five of his six ends into the game -- true freshman D.J. Norris did not play -- and Chauncey Davis had a unit-best two hurries.
Still, Allen expects a better all-around performance Saturday. Feeling his group was tentative at times versus the Tar Heels, Allen is looking for better technique on assignments that should increase pressure on Maryland quarterback Scott McBrien.
The Terps' offensive line has been slowed by injuries -- right tackle Eric Dumas and left guard C.J. Brooks anchor a unit that surrendered two sacks against Northern Illinois.
"When you go against the (FSU) offense for that long, you learn the snap count, you pick up little things and little things that can help you cheat a little bit," Allen said.
"Then you play a brand new team and all of a sudden you start from scratch again it takes you a little while. Especially early in the game. I thought we were tentative in our take offs and are overall aggressiveness. But as the game went on, I thought it got a little better and I think this week it will be much improved, I hope."
"We had a lot of mistakes but I thought we played okay as a group," Moore said. "Me personally, I wanted to get a lot more pressure on him (UNC quarterback Darian Durant). But he didn't take many licks because they usually tried to get the ball off very quickly.
"Maryland is more of a run-at-you football team -- that's basically what they've tried to do against us the past two years -- so we will have to be prepared for both the run and pass. Plus, they will throw the option in there. This is going to be a big challenge for us."