Another Important Test

Hot or cold? Feast or famine? Home run or strikeout? Which will it be for <b>Chris Rix</b> and the Florida State Seminoles Saturday against North Carolina State? Rix, the Seminoles' talented but oft-troubled quarterback, will be looking to quiet the critics as well as lead FSU to its 11th Atlantic Coast Conference championship against the Wolfpack in the regular-season home finale at Doak Campbell Stadium.

Rix and the Semnoles are coming off a disappointing defeat at Clemson a week ago, knocking FSU from the national championship race for the third consecutive season. Despite the setback, the Seminoles can still clinch the ACC and lucrative Bowl Championship Series berth with a Homecoming win over the Wolfpack.

But it's not expected to be easy, especially since N.C. State, coached by former FSU assistant Chuck Amato, has won the past two games against the Seminoles.

All eyes, of course, will be on Rix and the Seminoles' offense.

The Tigers rattled Rix and Co. last Saturday, relying on an effective blitz package that limited Rix to 194 passing yards -- his third-lowest total of the season behind Georgia Tech (160) and Virginia (189). Rix also tossed three picks and was replaced by Fabian Walker in the fourth quarter.

Rix, however, has been extremely resilient this season.

After struggles against the Yellow Jackets and the Cavaliers, Rix responded with 300-yard passing performance in wins over Colorado (394) and Wake Forest (339).

FSU quarterbacks coach Daryl Dickey told TheTerritory following Thursday's practice the Seminoles will need a solid effort from Rix this weekend.

Rix has five touchdown passes, six interceptions and has been sacked seven times in his last three games.

"We are sure going to need to - it's going to be a challenge," Dickey said.

"They are going to challenge you and make you make throws. You have to be sharp there. They are very multiple on defense, give you a lot of different looks. It's a mental game this week. It really is and he (Rix) is going to have to be sharp."

Dickey admitted he kept a close eye on the mental approach of both Rix and Walker this week.

"Just attitude -- being able to bounce back, come to work every day and get prepared and I think they've done a good job of that this week," Dickey said.

"Chris is a tremendous competitor. He loves the game and he fights every play until the end of the whistle. And he does that during practice, which is really good this year. He has competed on the practice field every day and I think that's important.

"Fabian knows he needs to get more consistent, and he has to continue to work on that. I thought he got better at this week. He needs just to keep working every day to get better."

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