September 20, 2011 - by
12th Man From Germany To Tally

Sept. 20, 2011

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Bjoern Werner’s in-laws picked a good time to attend their first college football game in the United States.

Florida State’s married-man in the middle hosted his wife’s parents, who had made the long trek to Tallahassee from Germany, this past weekend. They had ventured to America to spend time with their daughter and son-in-law and to see Werner, a sophomore defensive end, play in the biggest game of his life against Oklahoma on Saturday.

Like the 84,390 other fans inside Doak Campbell Stadium that night, they came away impressed.

Brandon Mellor
Brandon Mellor Senior Writer
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“They couldn’t even say anything,” Werner said Tuesday. “They were like, ‘wow.’ That’s what they said, ‘wow.’ They’ve gone to soccer games with 80,000-plus people but soccer games are like, ‘We missed a shot, aww.’ But the football game is three hours straight and people are yelling and getting crazy.

“They couldn’t talk right after the game because their throats were sore from yelling.”

FSU fans were loud and proud Saturday night and everyone that attended the top-five showdown between the ‘Noles and Sooners got to experience it first hand — even if they hadn’t traveled from another country.

The sports world watched both teams battle to the end before a late OU score. Viewers of ABC’s telecast helped the network achieve its best Saturday-night ratings mark in two years according to ESPN PR man Mike Soltys.

All those viewers got to see a raucous and rabid fanbase that’s appreciative of the strides that the Florida State football program has made the last two years under head coach Jimbo Fisher. The television viewers saw a game that was filled to the brim with the most people that had ever gathered together inside Doak Campbell Stadium in the venue’s storied history.

Most importantly, those fans that helped set the new record in the stands also helped set the tone for FSU on the field.

Oklahoma may have won the game by a close margin but Sooners players admitted afterwards just how much of an affect the crowd had on them.

It also had an affect on FSU players.

“I got goosebumps,” Werner said. “All the people, I felt so much energy. I wasn’t tired at all for some reason. I was so ready to go and when the game was over I was like, ‘what, it’s already over?’ I couldn’t believe it. It was great.”

“I am going to say that was the craziest atmosphere I have played in of everywhere I have played and I was the home team,” kicker Dustin Hopkins added. “I can’t stop smiling because it was such a sight to see. Fans [were] there before while you’re warming up and staying until the end of the game. Myself and all the players want to thank the Seminole fans because they came out strong.”

While the focus for Werner, Hopkins and the rest of the FSU players and coaches shifts to a road trip to Clemson on Friday and building off the performance against Oklahoma, the focus of Seminoles fans everywhere needs to be building off their own impressive showing last weekend.

That means working hard to turn Doak Campbell Stadium — like it was this past Saturday and every weekend in the glory days — back into a “we don’t want to go there” building for FSU opponents.

“We have a lot of work to do,” Fisher said on Monday. “If we want to be elite we have to win and win those kind of games. That’s what we have to continue to move forward to.”

The Seminoles will do their job to make it happen. If last Saturday proved anything, it’s that the “12th man” is just as important as the first through the eleventh.

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