By Brandon Mellor, Seminoles.com
How about this for a storyline?
Neither Florida State nor North Carolina has a player on their 2009 team that was on their roster the last time the Seminoles and Tar Heels met.
In that game, quarterback Wyatt Sexton started under center for the first time in his career and tossed three touchdowns to lead the No. 9 Seminoles to victory. Sexton’s impressive performance on the field against North Carolina occurred at the end of a week that saw him earn an induction into FSU’s Golden Key International Honor Society for his exploits off the field in the classroom.
But while Sexton made headlines in his first start, tailback Leon Washington stole the show by putting a serious dent in the box score.
The Jacksonville, Fla. native carried the ball just 10 times but that was all he needed to churn out 153 yards and one score. Fellow running back Lorenzo Booker also added 84 yards and one touchdown for FSU’s one-two punch on the ground.
Through the air, nine different Seminoles caught Sexton passes as Chauncey Stovall led the way with seven grabs for 78 yards and a touchdown. Craphonso Thorpe also pitched in with four catches of his own for 48 yards.
The 2004 ACC matchup between the Seminoles and Tar Heels may have been quite a few seasons ago, but up until that point the two programs were quite familiar with each other.
FSU, which first played against UNC in 1983, boasts an all-time record of 14-1-1 in the series history.
By Ryan Pensy, Seminoles.com
|T.J. Yates – Quarterback
Last season was shaping up to be a banner year for starting quarterback T.J. Yates. Yates was leading the ACC in passing efficiency before a fracture to his left ankle against Virginia Tech sidelined him for five games. Yates returned to the starting lineup with three games left in the season and led the Tar Heels to a 1-2 record. Although Yates is back to 100% the question remains who will step up at wide receiver for the starting quarterback to throw to. Hakeem Nicks, Brandon Tate, Brooks Foster and Richard Quinn are all pursuing a career in the NFL which leaves Tate looking to build chemistry fast with a group of young wideouts. Five games into the season the Seminoles will know if Yates has built that chemistry or not. If he has, then the first Thursday night game ever in Chapel Hill could be a tough game for the Noles.
|Bruce Carter – Linebacker
On a defense that returns an ACC leading nine players from last season, North Carolina will have a number of players who will need to be accounted for. What separates Bruce Carter from his teammates is his ability to wreak havoc on special teams. Last season Carter led the nation with five blocked kicks – a punt at Miami, three punts vs. Connecticut and a field goal attempt at Virginia. All three of the blocked punts against Connecticut came in the second quarter propelling UNC to a win over the 24th ranked Huskies. Carter also started 13 games at outside linebacker for the Tar Heels last season and led the team with 11 tackles for loss. In a tight game on a Thursday night in Chapel Hill, every time the Florida State special teams steps onto the field they need to keep two players keyed in on Bruce Carter.
Offensive Starters Returning: 54% (6 of 11)
Shaun Draughn (TB), Lowell Dyer (C), Kyle Jolly (OT), Alan Pelc (OG), Bobby Rome (FB), T.J. Yates (QB)
Defensive Starters Returning: 81% (9 of 11)
Marvin Austin (DT), Kendric Burney (CB), Bruce Carter (LB), Jordan Hemby (CB), Robert Quinn (DE), Quan Sturdivant (LB), Cam Thomas (DT), Deunta Williams (S), E.J. Wilson (DE)
Starters Lost – 31% (7 of 22)
Calvin Darity (OG), Brooks Foster (WR), Hakeem Nicks (WR), Richard Quinn (TE), Garrett Reynolds (OT), Trimane Goddard (S), Mark Paschal (LB)
|Tar Heel Breakdown|
|Head Coach:||Butch Davis|
|At NC State:||3rd year, .480 winning percentage|
|2008 Record:||8-5 / 4-4 ACC/ Tied for 3rd Place|
|Series Record:||14-1-1, Florida State|
|2008 Team Stats||Yards||NCAA Rank||ACC Rank|
|Points Per Game:||27.7||43rd||2nd|
|Points Allowed Per Game:||21.2||32nd||7th|
Returning Stat Leaders
|Rushing:||Shaun Draughn||(866 yards, 3 TD’s)|
|Passing:||T.J. Yates||(1,168 yards, 11 TD’s)|
|Receiving:||Greg Little||(146 yards, 0 TD’s)|
By Scott Kotick, Seminoles.com
November 8th, 1997: Florida State at North Carolina
In what was supposed to be the biggest game in ACC history, the number three Seminoles traveled up to Chapel Hill to meet up with the number five Tar Heels. Most North Carolina fans thought their team could pull out the win, but it was complete domination by the Seminoles for four quarters of football.
The Seminoles thrashed the Tar Heels 20-3 and remained perfect on the season behind one of the best performances under defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews. The number one Seminole defense racked up nine quarterback sacks, three forced turnovers, and allowed only 73 yards of total offense. That defense even held the Tar Heels to -28 yards rushing, in a performance that left North Carolina feeling like they had just been run over by a freight train.
In a game that will be forever known as Seminole defensive domination, future first round draft pick Andre Wadsworth had three sacks and future NFL defensive end Greg Spires had four of his own.
Thad Busby and the Seminole offense put the game away by the end of the first half, as the senior quarterback threw two touchdowns to Melvin Pearsall and E.G. Green. It was also an evening of true freshman, as Sebastian Janikowski added three field goals for the Seminoles, and running back Travis Minor rattled off 128 yards on the ground on 30 carries.
August 30th, 2003: Florida State at North Carolina
The Seminoles came out in all-white uniforms for the first time since 1991, and it proved to foreshadow how the Seminoles would go unblemished all night long up at Kenan Stadium.
The Seminole shut out the Tar Heels 37-0 in the opening game of the 2003 season behind 301 yards of total offense in the first half alone. Junior quarterback Chris Rix ran for two touchdowns and threw for another, while freshman running back Lorenzo Booker ran for another score, and the Seminole offense racked up 553 yards of total offense on the night.
But this game will forever be remembered for the famous “Greg Jones Hit.” On a routine 1st down toss sweep, Jones got the outside corner and all-ACC cornerback Dexter Reid approached Jones as if to make a routine form tackle. Instead, Jones switched the ball to his left side and threw a vicious forearm into Reid, who was thrown backwards into another defender and lost his helmet in the process. It was a display of sheer physicality that was the epitome of Jones’ running style while at Florida State.
Florida State finished the 2003 season with a 10-2 regular season record and won their 11th ACC Championship.
September 16th, 2000: North Carolina at Florida State
It was yet another perfect season in the ACC for the Seminoles, who welcomed the North Carolina Tar Heels for a September matchup that proved to be the worst defeat in the history of this series.
Behind Chris Weinke and Snoop Minnis, the Seminole throttled North Carolina 63-14 and enjoyed and impressive performances on both sides of the ball. Ten different players scored for the Seminoles that day. Weinke showed why he would win the Heisman Trophy later in the season when he threw for four touchdowns and 262 yards with no turnovers. Minnis caught two touchdowns and Atrews Bell added two more of his own in an offensive onslaught with 540 total yards of offense.
On the defensive side of the ball, Mickey Andrews’ defense sacked the Tar Heel quarterbacks five times, forced four turnovers, and safety Chris Hope even returned a fumble for a touchdown. It was nearly a perfect day for the Seminoles, who rolled to their ninth consecutive ACC Championship and improved to 64-2 overall in ACC play.