Oct. 10, 2012
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- From 1987 to 2000, Florida State lost back-to-back games just three times in a 14-season span. The next 11 seasons, well, they weren't as kind. The Seminoles experienced at least two consecutive losses eight different times from 2001 and 2011 and have dropped at least two ballgames in a row in each of the last three years.
In the aftermath of an embarrassing 17-16 loss at unranked NC State, the question remains: Will the 'Noles get back in the win column Saturday at home against Boston College or will recent history rear its ugly head?
"I think our team is mature enough and mentally tough enough to do it," quarterback EJ Manuel said about the former.
Playing against down-and-out Boston College obviously helps. The Eagles come to Tallahassee for the 5:30 p.m. game fresh off a 34-31 loss to previously-winless Army last weekend and are 1-4 overall. They're 104th in the nation in total defense and dead last in tackles for loss. They are heavy underdogs to the No. 12 'Noles.
But that doesn't matter. Boston College wasn't favored in its upset victory over FSU in 2009, a week after the Seminoles had lost to USF. North Carolina and Wake Forest were both overmatched but still beat FSU teams coming off losses in each of the last two seasons as well.
In addition to proper preparation and practice, perhaps the most important thing that Florida State players can do this week to avoid a similar letdown and in the process end a not-so-favorable streak is to simply let it go. Move past what happened in Raleigh and focus on what should happen in Tallahassee.
"You have to be a man about it and not pout about it and allow it to turn into a snowball effect," Manuel said. "Move on to the next week and come back harder."
"We don't dwell on any games," linebacker Christian Jones added. "You know we lost this game but all you can do is just from it and move on. That game is in the past and now we are just focused on Boston College."
Early returns from the practice fields suggest that the 'Noles haven't had any setbacks in turning the proverbial page.
Just like it was in the days leading up to the Atlantic Coast Conference opener against Wake Forest and a week later before the big showdown against Clemson and so on, FSU's players haven't paid much mind to what happened the Saturday before.
"Once we got on the field and got sweating [Monday] they flew around," FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said. "And [Tuesday] was really good. It was back to normal -- a normal Tuesday and they practiced pretty well."
The Seminoles will practice two more times this week -- Wednesday and Thursday -- like they always do for a Saturday game before Friday's walk-through. And then it's on to Saturday where an Eagles team is next on a regular-season schedule that is already 50 percent complete.
FSU's positioning for the post-season is now more important than ever. It's national-title hopes are essentially dead but the team's quest for its first ACC Championship is still very much alive despite the divisional loss to the Wolfpack but there is no room for error.
"Everybody still understands we still have our goals to reach and we have to do our job and just win out," EJ Manuel said.
And forget about what happened on the road last weekend.
Well, maybe not everything.
"That feeling motivates you," defensive tackle Everett Dawkins said. "Seeing some of their fans run on to the field; how happy they all are. How upset we were. It motivates you. You don't want to feel that way ever again."