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)
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.
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.
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
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 ESPN.com 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.