Smoke Signals

Although unceremoniously bounced from the national championship race, <b>Florida State </b> is determined to bounce back and make a statement Saturday against North Carolina State. The Seminoles (8-2, 6-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) missed a chance to remain in national title contention and wrap up the ACC crown last Saturday, losing 26-10 to Clemson in Bowden Bowl V.

They will get another opportunity to clinch their 11th league title in 12 seasons in their regular-season home finale against the Wolfpack (7-3, 4-2). Kickoff is 3:30 p.m. at Doak Campbell Stadium and the game will be televised by ABC.

N.C. State, of course, is coached by former FSU assistant Chuck Amato and is looking for its third consecutive win over FSU.

"It's always important to keep your focus," defensive lineman Travis Johnson said.

"You are going to lose focus over the course of a 12-, 13-game season. We had a little stumble (at Clemson), so now we need to get back up and keep going. It's a little frustrating with the opportunity to go to the national championship and we watched it disappear in 60 minutes. But we are capable of bouncing back."


Both MLB Allen Augustin (ankle) and OLB Michael Boulware (ankle) participated in limited drills Wednesday. Of the two, Boulware is more likely prepared to start at this time, FSU coach Bobby Bowden said. Augustin, however, continues to receive around-the-clock treatment and has told teammates he plans to play.

Still, Sam McGrew continued to work with the first unit at MLB in place of Augustin.

"It's going well," McGrew said.

"I feel very comfortable. (I've been) working with the ones on and off. I am feeling a whole lot comfortable. I am understanding where everybody else is supposed to be at and where I am at. Overall, I think I can do a whole lot better honestly. I know what to do. Usually, I am thinking about too many things. I just have to focus on what I know."


The Seminoles' mood continues to improve.

"You wake up feeling bad about yourself but you have to pick yourself up and get ready for next week," tight tackle Ray Willis said.

"Everybody on this team knows we have to refocus and get these last two games. We still have a chance to do a lot of good things this season. We put ourselves out of the national championship race, but we still can get into a BCS bowl and we still have a chance to beat two very good teams coming up (North Carolina State and Florida)."

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