Suffocating Defense

Florida State's defense had heard all the talk about its counterparts at North Carolina State. About how the Wolfpack entered the game ranked first in the Atlantic Coast Conference in total defense (241.6 yards per game allowed) and passing defense (125.1 yards per game). Well, the Seminoles had heard enough and wanted to prove a point on Thursday night at Carter-Finley Stadium. Mission Accomplished -- in a big way as FSU kept its Atlantic Coast Conference title hopes alive.

Florida State didn't give North Carolina State's offense any breathing room on Thursday night.

"We went in there strong and played well, Seminoles linebacker A.J. Nicholson said.

"We did our part. We proved we are the best defense in the nation. We stood up in the second half. Credit N.C. State. They played hard but we were the best team tonight."


Florida State rallied from a 10-0 deficit at the half to upend the Wolfpack 17-10 at Carter-Finley Stadium. The Seminoles relied on an impressive defensive showing, limiting the home team to one first down -- by penalty -- in the second half.

Overall, FSU held North Carolina State to seven first downs (three by penalty), 23 yards rushing and 123 total yards.

"We wanted to attack our gaps," FSU defensive lineman Travis Johnson said.

"Don't try to make a play -- you know, make the plays you are supposed to make and just do our job. You see when we do our job, we couldn't be stopped. Field position was a big part. We knew field position was going to be the key of the game."

FSU defensive end Chauncey Davis said the chatter amongst teammates leading up to the game centered on wanting to prove a point. FSU entered the game ranked first in the ACC in rushing defense (66.2 yards per game) and scoring defense 13.4 points per game).

"We talked about it all week -- the talk of how they were better than us," Davis said.

"We just had to prove we were better than them. That was our plan, to go in there and stop the run. Make them pass and create turnovers and we did that, too."

FSU coach Bobby Bowden admitted the coaching staff didn't have to look very far for added defensive motivation.

"We challenged them all week on that. That North Carolina State has the No. 1 defense in our conference. We are No. 2," Bowden said.

"They are No. 2 in the nation. We are No. 5 or whatever. They were challenged all week about that."

Wolfpack quarterbacks completed just 2-of-13 passes in the second half and finished with 26 total yards. While the Seminoles couldn't muster field position in the first half, the Wolfpack was stuck with its back to its own goal line during the second half.

"When we went through the first half, I am thinking, 'Gosh, we didn't even get out of own 10-yard line,' " Bowden said.

"But, we didn't give them any points. Usually a great defense will take the ball away from you, force a bad punt, get points. The only thing we did good was we did not give them any points."

"We finally got it where we could operate. And they couldn't get where they could operate."

Off today, FSU returns to practice on Satuday to begin preparations for its regular-season finale at home against rival Florida.

Thursday's victory closed out the Seminoles' (8-2) league schedule at 6-2. FSU still has a chance to claim the league title as Virginia, Virigina Tech and Miami each have key games remaining against each other.

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