Oct. 27, 2009
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – When Tuesday’s driving rain finally let up, the Florida State football team headed off to the turf field and turned their full attention to Saturday’s homecoming opponent – N.C. State.
“It left a window of about 2 1/2 hours which enabled us to come out, so we came out on the band field since our field was so wet,” FSU coach Bobby Bowden said. “Thank goodness we got it in. We got the whole practice in.”
While the heaviest rain, which dropped more than an inch on the FSU campus had passed, the coaching staff didn’t take any chances. They adjusted to the practice schedule to assure that all of the 11-on-11 work was done if the weather turned foul again, then finished the 22-period practice with special teams work, which is normally at the beginning of practice.
The Seminoles aren’t taking N.C. State lightly, and for good reason. The two teams have more in common than identical 3-4 records, thanks in large part to two of the ACC’s most dangerous dual-threat quarterbacks – FSU’s Christian Ponder and N.C. State’s Russell Wilson.
“If you look at the statistics, they’re very similar,” Bowden said. “They are a higher scoring team than we are and their defense is holding people lower than we are and yet we’re close. On paper, you’d say it’s going to be a high-scoring game, but you never know. Somebody may rise to the occasion and make it a different game.”
The Wolfpack are averaging 31.9 points a game, compared to 29.9 for the Seminoles. N.C. State’s defense is allowing 27.1 points compared to FSU’s 28.0 through seven games.
N.C. State (3-4, 0-3 ACC), which is still looking for its first ACC win of the season, is the first of four consecutive Atlantic Division opponents Florida State will face. That provides the Seminoles (3-4, 1-3) with an opportunity to climb back into division contention if it can build on its dramatic, 30-27 victory at North Carolina.
“This is going to be a big week for us,” said sophomore linebacker Nigel Carr, who made his first career start against UNC in place of injured defensive captain Dekoda Watson. “We’ve been watching film on them and their quarterback is very good. They have good tight ends and physical runners, so we just have to go out there and play our game and we’ll be okay.”
Carr may be relegated to reserve role as Watson has practiced the last two days without showing signs of a groin injury suffered against Georgia Tech. Wide receiver Richard Goodman, who also missed the UNC game with a groin-area injury, was back in practice as well.
Those could be key additions in a matchup of teams who, combined, are averaging more than 800 yards and 60 points a game.