NC State (4-5) vs. Florida State (7-2)
Thursday, November 11, 2004
12:00 pm Carter-Finley Stadium (56,500)
Florida State Links
Tramain Hall, HB - Back pain
Derek Morris, OT - High ankle sprain
Marcus Stone, QB - Knee sprain/wrist injury
Richard Washington, WR - Knee sprain
Leroy Harris, OG/C - Shoulder sprain
Jed Paulsen, C - Ankle surgery, 10/12
Leon Washington, RB -Shoulder separation
Chauncey Stovall, WR - Hamstring
Bobby Meeks, G - Ankle
Buster Davis, LB - Elbow
Eric Moore, DE - Ankle
Matt Meinrod, OG -Knee
Florida State Scouting Report
|Leon Washington leads the ACC in Rushing|
3 Leon Washington, RB – Washington has missed the past two games with a shoulder injury, but still enters as the ACC's leading rusher (98.6 YPG). He's a burly runner who rushes with great power and speed. He's also a dangerous special teams player.
28 Lorenzo Booker, RB – If Washington's the "Thunder," then Booker's the "Lightning." He may be the conference's fastest tailback, and if he gets behind the defense, go ahead and put six on the board. He's elusive, fast, and is always capable of breaking the big play.
19 Wyatt Sexton, QB – Young quarterback took over for Chris Rix early in the season, and he has performed well. Sexton's a pocket-passer who will control the offense and not make many bad decisions.
34 Ernie Sims, LB – Sims leads the Seminoles with 4.5 sacks from his outside linebacker position. Considered the nation's top prep player two years ago, Sims has stepped into the FSU defense and is already making plays all over the field.
54 A.J. Nicholson, LB – North Carolina product entered the season with high expectations and has performed well. He leads the Seminoles in tackles, tackles for loss, and fumble recoveries.
22 Pat Watkins, S – Terrific safety has four interceptions and eight pass breakups on the season. He's a playmaker in the defensive secondary and also a very good tackler.
SEVENTH THURSDAY NIGHT GAME FOR FSU
The NC State contest will be Florida State's eighth appearance on Thursday night. The last season the Seminoles played on Thursday night was in 2002 when FSU played in back-to-back Thursday night contests. That year, FSU fell 26-20 at Louisville on September 26, 2002 and rebounded for a 48-31 home win vs. Clemson the next week on October 3rd. All time, Florida State is 5-2 on Thursday night. Four of the seven contests have been on the road.
SEMINOLES IN THE FINAL CONFERENCE GAME OF THE SEASON
Florida State closes out is 13th ACC season against NC State Thursday night. The Seminoles are 11-1 (.917 winning percentage) in conference closers and have a 3-1 record against the Wolfpack to close out their league schedule. After winning their first 10 ACC closers, the Seminoles fell to NC State, 17-7, Nov. 23, 2002.
SEMINOLES CLOSE OUT ROAD SCHEDULE
Florida State closes out the road portion of its regular-season schedule against NC State Thursday night. With a 2-2 road record, the Seminoles are looking to close out their road schedule with a winning record for the 18th consecutive season. The last time the Seminoles finished at .500 or worse on the road was during the 1986 season. Florida State was 2-3 away from Tallahassee in 1986 playing a road schedule that included games at Nebraska, Michigan and Miami.
RUSHING YARDS UP THIS SEASON
Florida State is averaging 173.4 yards rushing yards per game this season. The Seminoles are averaging 40 yards more rushing yards per game this season than they did last season (133.4 yards per game).
BOOKER TAKES OVER RUSHING LEAD
With a career-high 130 yards against Duke, sophomore running back Lorenzo Booker became the Seminoles' rushing leader through the first nine games of the 2004 season with a career-high 743 yards. As Florida State's featured running back since the injury to junior Leon Washington at Wake Forest (Oct. 23), Booker has gained 181 yards in the last two games.
STOVALL DOUBLES HIS PLEASURE
Senior wide receiver Chauncey Stovall has a career-high 38 catches for a careerhigh 557 yards this season. He has twice as many catches this season (38) as he had last season (19) and more than twice as many receiving touchdowns this season (five) as he did last season (two). Stovall recorded a single-game career-high eight receptions for a career-high 138 yards in Florida State's victory over Duke.
SEXTON LOOKING TO MOVE ABOVE 60 PERCENT FOR THE SEASON
Wyatt Sexton has completed nearly 60 percent of his passes this season. He is looking to become the first Seminole quarterback to complete more than 60 percent of his passes since Chris Weinke completed .617 percent of his passes in winning the Heisman Trophy and leading the Seminoles to the National Championship game against Oklahoma.
PICKING UP THE PACE
Florida State has outscored opponents by a margin of just 37-30 in the first quarter through nine games this season. Through the final three quarters, however, the Seminoles have scored 100+ points more than their first eight opponents. FSU has outscored opponents in the second, third and fourth quarters by a total of 205-91.
FLORIDA STATE AND ACC WINS
Florida State has an all-time record of 95-8 in ACC play. The Seminoles, who own the highest winning percentage all-time in league play (.922), have already won more ACC games than Georgia Tech (83) which joined the league in 1979. Florida State is the only team is ACC history to have a conference winning percentage better than 65 percent. Clemson has won a league record 208 conference games since 1953 and has a winning percentage of .652. It took Clemson 29 years to win its 100th league game. Since joining the ACC, Florida State has an overall record of 133-25- 1 for a winning percentage of .840.
BOWDEN ONE AWAY FROM WIN #350
While Bobby Bowden became major college football's winningest coach with his win over Wake Forest last year, he earned his 275th career victory at Florida State with this year's 20-17 win over the Deacs this year. Overall, Bowden has 349 career wins – now eight victories more than Penn State's Joe Paterno (341) and is just one away from milestone win #350.
LEADING THE LEAGUE
Several Seminoles sit atop the ACC individual stats this week. Antonio Cromartie and Pat Watkins are tied for the league lead in interceptions with four apiece. Tailback Leon Washington, who is expected to return to action against NC State after missing two games with a shoulder injury, leads the conference in rushing yards per game (98.4 ypg). Defensive tackle Travis Johnson is tops among ACC defensive linemen with 14.5 tackles for loss.
WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN THE SEMINOLES HAVE THE BALL
Florida State will try to establish the run behind their huge offensive line, likely looking to rush north-south against NC State's athletic defensive front. The Wolfpack defensive ends will need to get up the field and contain on the edges while the linebackers must fill gaps. Oliver Hoyte and Stephen Tulloch have done a very good job this season against I-formation rushing attacks, and they must do the same against the Seminoles for NC State to have a chance.
Also, keep an eye on Florida State QB Wyatt Sexton. Sexton can throw the deep ball very well and will likely look to pass a lot off play-action. When given the opportunity, NC State must be able to get pressure on Sexton.
However, the most important factor will be the battle in the trenches. Florida State's offensive line is very big, and NC State's front is extremely fast. Can the Wolfpack use its quickness and confusing formations to handle a strong, yet slow offensive line? Will Florida State's o-line tire out the Wolfpack's defensive front and eventually be successful grinding it out on the ground? This could be the telling battle when Florida State has the ball, and the winner in the trenches will likely win the football game.
WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN THE WOLFPACK HAS THE BALL
No one really knows at this point. NC State quarterback Jay Davis struggled against Clemson and Georgia Tech, but has showed promise throughout the season. Davis needs a big play against Florida State early to gain confidence, and that could come courtesy of the terrific skill players on the offensive side of the ball. If Davis continues to struggle, the Wolfpack will likely turn to Marcus Stone. A huge play in the passing game will get Davis or Stone the confidence they will need.
NC State's going to try and establish the ground game behind junior T.A. McLendon. McLendon also had problems recently running behind an injury-plagued offensive line, and will look to bounce back against the Seminoles. Can NC State's offensive line give McLendon, Blackman, and the other running backs holes to run through? That's a critical question for NC State's offense against Florida State.
Finally, NC State MUST stretch the field against the Seminoles. Maryland had success throwing the ball, and the Wolfpack can't be afraid to test the Florida State secondary. NC State has several deep threats in Tramain Hall, Richard Washington, and John Dunlap, so with Florida State crowding the line of scrimmage the play-action pass should be successful.
NC State Special Teams vs. Florida State Special Teams: Special teams will be critical in this game. Both programs have had problems in the kicking game, and it's going to be area to keep an eye on tonight. NC State must limit penalties, the foolish mistakes, and turnovers. If they do so, expect the Wolfpack to be in the game until the end with the Seminoles.
QB Wyatt Sexton
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Thanks to NC State and Florida State Athletics for much of the information in this preview.