September 30, 2016 - by
First and 10: No. 12 FSU vs. No. 23 UNC

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – After back-to-back road games, the Florida State football team returns to Doak Campbell Stadium for only its second home game of the season. On deck is a rare meeting with the North Carolina Tar Heels, who the Seminoles have not played since 2010, Jimbo Fisher’s first season as head coach. Here’s all the names, numbers and notes you need to know before FSU takes on UNC.

1)    Game on
No. 12 Florida State (3-1, 0-1 ACC) vs. No. 23 North Carolina (3-1, 1-0 ACC)

When/Where: Saturday, 3:30 p.m./Doak Campbell Stadium (79,560) in Tallahassee, Fla.
TV/Radio: ESPN/Seminole IMG Radio Network; FSU Broadcast Live Stream

Florida State injury report:
QB      Sean Maguire (foot) 

Out For Game
RB      Johnathan Vickers (concussion)
DT      Darvin Taylor II(shoulder)

Out Indefinitely
DE      Keith Bryant (foot)
DB      Derwin James (knee)

Out For Season
WR     George Campbell (core muscle)

North Carolina Tar Heels

Coach: Larry Fedora (35-21 in five seasons at North Carolina, 69-40 overall)

Last game: Behind 453 yards and five touchdown passes from quarterback Mitch Trubisky, UNC overcame a 13-point deficit in the fourth quarter to beat Pitt, 37-36, in Chapel Hill. Trubisky threw the winning TD with two seconds to play.

Last game vs. Florida State: North Carolina’s T.J. Yates threw for 439 yards and two touchdowns to help lift the Tar Heels to a 37-35 victory in Tallahassee on Nov. 6, 2010. FSU kicker Dustin Hopkins missed a 40-yard field goal with less than a minute to play.

North Carolina vs. Florida State all-time: FSU leads the all-time series 15-2-1 and is 7-1-1 in Tallahassee.

1983: Florida State 28, North Carolina 3 (Peach Bowl)

1985: No. 11 Florida State 20, NORTH CAROLINA 10

1986: No. 15 FLORIDA STATE 10, North Carolina 10

1992: No. 8 FLORIDA STATE 36, North Carolina 13

1993: No. 1 Florida State 33, No. 13 NORTH CAROLINA 7

1994: No. 3 FLORIDA STATE 31, No. 13 North Carolina 18

1995: No. 6 Florida State 28, NORTH CAROLINA 12

1996: No. 2 FLORIDA STATE 13, No. 11 North Carolina 0

1997: No 3 Florida State 20, No. 5 NORTH CAROLINA 3

1998: No. 5 FLORIDA STATE 39, North Carolina 13

1999: No. 1 Florida State 42, NORTH CAROLINA 10

2000: No. 2 FLORIDA STATE 63, North Carolina 14

2001: NORTH CAROLINA 41, No. 6 Florida State 9

2002: No. 15 FLORIDA STATE 40, North Carolina 14

2003: No. 13 Florida State 37, North Carolina 0

2004: No. 9 FLORIDA STATE 38, North Carolina 16

2009: Florida State 30, NORTH CAROLINA 27

2010: North Carolina 37, No. 24 FLORIDA STATE 35

2016: No. 12 FLORIDA STATE vs. No. 23 North Carolina, Saturday, 3:30 p.m.

First and 10: No. 12 FSU vs. No. 23 UNC

  • The Seminoles are back in Tallahassee looking to build on last week’s non-conference win over South Florida. UNC is the third ranked team the Seminoles have faced this season, and the fifth in their last seven opponents.  FSU also boasts the nation’s longest home winning streak, having won 22 straight at Doak Campbell Stadium.
  • Saturday has big implications for the Atlantic Coast Conference standings. A few hours after FSU and UNC kick off, No. 3 Clemson will host No. 4 Louisville in a game that could decide the Atlantic Division. FSU, of course, hopes it does not. The Seminoles need a win against the Tar Heels to avoid losing any more ground in the division race, and a Clemson win would be big a help to their cause, too. A Louisville victory would essentially give the Cardinals a two-game lead (factoring tie-breakers) over FSU and Clemson, their two biggest hurdles to the Atlantic crown.
  • FSU’s running game is firing on all cylinders after last week’s 478-yard outburst at USF. And Dalvin Cook and Co. should be front and center again against a UNC rush defense that is statistically one of the worst in the country. The Tar Heels allow an average of 4.98 yards per carry (106th in the country) and 240.25 yards per game (118th). Not coincidentally, time of possession could play a factor on Saturday: FSU possesses the ball an average of 36:19 per game – fifth-highest in the nation – while the Tar Heels hold the ball for just 22:55, which ranks 126th out of 128 teams in the FBS.
  • The Tar Heels, however, hope the the roles will be reversed when their passing offense lines up against FSU’s pass defense. The Heels throw for more than 330 yards per game, and Trubisky’s 74.5 completion percentage is the second-best in the country. FSU, meanwhile, allows a reasonable 207.8 passing yards per game, but the Seminoles are also surrendering a startling 8.9 yards per pass attempt. That’s more than all but 12 teams in the nation.

One offensive and defensive player from each team who could swing the game

North Carolina: In receiver Ryan Switzer, the Tar Heels have a dynamic playmaker who is equally effective in the passing game and the return game. The 5-10 senior caught 16 passes in UNC’s win last week. And, with seven punt returns for touchdown in his career, he needs just one more to claim the NCAA record.

The Heels have struggled in some defensive areas, but Fisher has said he believes both of UNC’s starting cornerbacks have NFL futures. Between M.J. Stewart and Des Lawrence, the Heels may have the best cornerback tandem in the ACC. Stewart has already forced two fumbles this season, and Lawrence leads the team with three pass break-ups.

Florida State: Dalvin Cook claimed most of the headlines with last week’s 267-yard performance against USF. But somewhat lost in the spotlight was a 124-yard output from sophomore Jacques Patrick. Patrick has enjoyed an exceptional start to the season and, with FSU figuring to go heavy with the running game and control the clock – like it did last week – Patrick likely has another significant role to play.

Switzer, UNC’s top receiver, primarily lines up in the slot, which means he should see a heavy dose of Marcus Lewis. Lewis, like most of FSU’s defensive newcomers, has shown flashes of brilliance along with moments of youth this season. He’ll be in for a big test on Saturday.

First and 10: No. 12 FSU vs. No. 23 UNC

Total offense: FSU: 487.3 YPG (28th nationally); UNC: 470.8 YPG (38th)

Scoring offense:  FSU: 43.0 PPG (16th); UNC: 41.3 PPG (27th)

Passing offense: FSU: 242.5 YPG (57th); UNC: 334.0 YPG (13th)

Rushing offense: FSU: 244.8 YPG (21st); UNC: 136.8 (100th)

Total defense: FSU: 413.5 YPG (86th); UNC: 424.8 YPG (90th)

Scoring defense: FSU: 35.0 PPG (108th); UNC: 30.0 PPG (84t)

Passing defense: FSU: 207.8 YPG (51st); UNC: 184.5 YPG (30th)

Rushing defense: FSU: 205.8 YPG (99th); UNC: 240.3 YPG (118th)

Number of note, courtesy of Pro Football Focus: During FSU’s big rushing day against USF, the Seminoles ran for 149 yards before contact – in essence, yards earned by the offensive line. In their previous three games combined, the Seminoles totaled 162 yards before contact, indicating the FSU’s line had by far its best game of the season against the Bulls.

“I laugh about it. The work we put on the field, I know the runs I make on the practice field. People got caught up on the stats. Nothing wrong with me. Keep going from here.” – FSU running back Dalvin Cook on critics who questioned him at the start of the season

“When you’re able to run the ball like that and keep pushing it down the field, not only does it wear down the other team’s defense, you put your will on the other team. When you move the ball down the field like that it really takes away some of their gumption where they don’t want to play. That’s violent. Run plays are contact every single play.” – FSU center Alec Eberle on setting the tone via the running game

“Dalvin Cook is different than all the running backs we’ve faced. I mean, he’s got great, great speed, great quickness and great make-you-miss ability. Even in the hole itself, you can be one-on-one with him in the hole, and he can still make you miss.” – UNC coach Larry Fedora


“Got to quit giving up so many big plays on defense, but that’s something we’re working on, and that’s something we’ll continue to do. But we’ve shown that we can play in all three phases.” – FSU coach Jimbo Fisher

  • FSU’s 479 rushing yards last week were the most by any team in college football this season. Army, the top rushing team in the country, averages 374.75 rushing yards per game.
  • Fisher is 0-1 all-time against the Tar Heels, which means UNC is the one school in the ACC that he has yet to defeat during his tenure.
  • An FSU would on Saturday would give Fisher an .814 winning percentage (44-10) in the ACC, which would surpass Seminole legend Bobby Bowden for the best all-time.
  • Fisher has never lost an ACC home opener, and the Seminoles haven’t lost their ACC home opener since 2009.
  • Saturday will mark the first FSU-UNC game where both teams are ranked since 1997. That was the last of a run that saw the Seminoles and Tar Heels meet as ranked opponents in 1993, 1994, 1995 and 1997. FSU went 4-0 in those games, including a 20-3 victory at No. 5 UNC in 1997. Current FSU assistant Tim Brewster was on the staff of each of those North Carolina teams.
  • The Tar Heels have lost three straight games to ranked opponents, and they haven’t beaten a team ranked in the top 15 since 2009 at Virginia Tech.
  • UNC’s director of student-athlete development, Ochuko Jenije, played defensive back at Florida State from 2006-10.
  • A pair of former FSU All-Americans — Sam Cowart and E.G. Green — will participate in FSU’s “Sod Talk” outside the Sod Cemetery Saturday at 2 p.m.
  • Both FSU and North Carolina will wear Kidz1stFund decals on their helmets during today’s game.

If you’ve got two hours and 53 minutes to spend on your Friday afternoon, this recording of the 1983 Peach Bowl between Florida State and North Carolina is well worth your time. Come for the footage of the early Bowden-era Seminoles (including Weegie Thompson, Roosevelt Snipes and Eric Thomas), stay for the 1983 commercials, some of which are still present in the recording.

Bob Ferrante of the Osceola takes a look at FSU’s plan to defend UNC’s Ryan Switzer.

Jim Henry of the Tallahassee Democrat caught up with Ochuko Jenije, a Tallahassee native and former Seminole football player who now serves as the director of student-athlete development at North Carolina.

Andrew Carter of the Raleigh News-Observer profiles North Carolina linebacker Andre Smith, a Jacksonville native who once hoped to play for the Seminoles.

Andrea Adelson of has a story about UNC DT Nazair Jones, who woke up one morning five years ago to find that he couldn’t walk.

Corey Clark of the Tallahassee Democrat believes the Seminoles might be missing one of their top defenders from a year ago.

Another week, another difficult opponent for Florida State. While UNC doesn’t present the same challenge of a dual-threat quarterback that Louisville and USF did, Trubisky may be the most accurate quarterback the Seminoles face this season – Marquez White said as much earlier this week. The Tar Heels’ hurry-up offense will likely put up some points. But FSU should be able to mitigate the damage if it can reestablish its running game in the wake of last week’s eruption at USF.

Trubisky and Switzer are talented players, but they won’t have much chance to make an impact if Cook and Patrick are chewing up more than 40 minutes on the game clock. If they do that, then FSU should emerge with a win and turn the spotlight toward Coral Gables, where new coach Mark Richt and the Miami Hurricanes await.

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