Oct. 27, 2011
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Bouncing back nicely on the practice field, Florida State wrapped up the on-field preparation for its Saturday's ACC Atlantic Division game with NC State at Doak Campbell Stadium.
"It was a good day; a really good day," FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said, following Thursday's practice and weekly skull session. "It was one of the best Thursday's we've had. We were really sharp. ... I just like the demeanor and how we executed. I was really happy with how we responded back after yesterday."
In a match-up of two teams trying to maintain modest, two-game winning streaks, the Seminoles (4-3, 2-2 ACC) have no reason to expect anything but the best effort from NC State (4-3, 1-2). Recent history seems to drive that point home.
Though the Seminoles hold a commanding 21-10 all-time series lead, the teams have split the last 10 games. Over that 10-game stretch, the average margin of victory has been less than a touchdown - 6.4 points to be precise.
Oddly enough, all five of NC State's wins have come against ranked Florida State teams. Conversely, the Seminoles have not been ranked in any of their last three victories over the Wolfpack, which came in succession from 2007-2009. Fisher was the FSU offensive coordinator for each of those three victories.
The Seminoles prevailed at home in 2009, 45-42, when Bert Reed scored on an end-around with 1:36 remaining. NC State won last year's Thursday night match-up 28-24, when the Seminoles lost a fumble inside the Wolfpack 5-yard line with about a minute to play.
"They've been donnybrook's, that's for sure," Fisher said, rattling off the outcomes of the past four meetings which he has been a part of. "They've been fun to watch. I'm sure this won't be much different."
Eight of NC State's 10 series wins have come since Florida State joined the ACC for the 1992 season; more league wins over the `Noles than any other team.
From Fisher's vantage point, there's a reason the series has been so close.
"They've got speed, tight ends, receivers that can run," he said. "They always seem to have good skilled guys; running backs that can run the ball well. They can run it and throw it."
NC State may well have to be at its best against the Seminoles, who have scored 30 or more points in nine of their last 11 games. While FSU seems to be hitting its stride offensively, in light of its vastly-improved running game of the past two weeks, the Seminoles' defense has done its part as well.
Mark Stoops' unit leads the ACC in total defense, yielding just 291.4 yards a game; good enough to rank sixth nationally. The `Noles are second in scoring defense in league play (19.3 ppg), which 19th nationally.
Hopkins named Groza semifinalist
Florida State junior kicker Dustin Hopkins has been selected as one of 20 semifinalists for the Lou Groza Award, presented to the nation's top collegiate placekicker. It marks the second consecutive season the Houston, Texas native has made the semifinal cut for the award that has gone to Seminoles on three previous occasions. Sebastian Janikowski was a two-time winner (1998-99), while Graham Gano won the Groza in 2008.
Hopkins has converted 12 of 13 field goals in 2011. He had a streak of 17 consecutive field goals made - the second-longest in school history - end last week against Maryland. He has converted all 29 of his PAT attempts this season, extending his school record streak of 115 consecutive conversions, which is the third-longest mark in ACC history.
Hopkins is one of four kickers from Florida schools to make the cut, joining Florida's Caleb Sturgis, Miami's Jake Weiclaw and FIU's Jack Griffin. Also on the list from the ACC are Clemson's Chandler Catanzaro and Wake Forest's Jimmy Newman.
DOUBTFUL Rashad Greene (ankle)