On The Road

Florida State has one final chance to cure the road rash that has plagued them all season. The Seminoles travel to North Carolina State tonight before closing the regular-season next weekend at home against rival Florida. FSU also remains in contention for the Atlantic Coast Conference title, meanning tonight is another must-win for coach Bobby Bowden.

The Florida State Seminoles (7-2) are perfect at home this season.

They are far from perfect on the road -- 2-2 away from Tallahassee, including a pair of narrow escapes against Wake Forest and Syracuse. FSU visits N.C. State (4-5) tonight at 7:45 on ESPN.

Head coach Bobby Bowden thinks he may have figured it out.

"I think the big thing is probably not getting ahead," he said. "I think we've been behind in every one of them. You've got to get the crowd out of it."

The Seminoles have trailed 120:19 out of 191:48 possible minutes on the road. The majority of the remaining 72 or so minutes that FSU was ahead came in their 16-10 loss at Miami, a game in which the Hurricanes drove the field to tie the game with two minutes to play.

Quarterback Wyatt Sexton, who will get the start over Chris Rix, completes nearly 70 percent of his passes at home. On the road, the sophomore has struggled to find his rhythm, connecting on just 48.2 percent of his throws and tossing twice as many interceptions.

"It could be inexperience," Bowden said.

"There's so many distractions away from home. The crowd. The noise. The different look. I guess you just have to become accustomed to it and become a veteran against it. Remember when Chris Weinke went to N.C. State as a sophomore and threw six interceptions? I guess it's like that."

Sexton will make his return to the starting lineup against a Wolfpack defense that rates second in the nation in total defense and is tops in the Atlantic Coast Conference in defending the pass (125 ypg).

He'll get is top two weapons back in tailback Leon Washington (separated shoulder) and wide receiver (Craphonso Thorpe). Willie Reid, who was limited to only punt returns in last weekend's 29-7 win over Duke, will return to the rotation at split end.

"I think this is going to be a battle of two great defenses," Sexton said.

"We are going to do our best job to protect the football and not put their offense in an easy situation to score points.

"We are going to have to be focused and mentally prepared. We are going to have to not make any mistakes mentally and execute and hopefully slip a few past them."

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