By Tim Linafelt
Seminoles.com Senior Writer
@Tim_Linafelt on Twitter
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Midway through his postgame press conference following Thursday’s 42-31 victory at Louisville, a reporter joked with Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher that, “obviously, it’s not ideal to be down three touchdowns on the road.”
“No,” Fisher said with a smile, “I’d rather not.”
“But,” the reporter continued, “if you have to …”
Then “I’d take that group of guys in that locker room,” Fisher said.
Those guys haven’t always been dominant. And their wins haven’t always been pretty. But through eight games, they’re still undefeated.
And, much to the chagrin of some college football fans and pundits, they’re still in the hunt for a second straight national title.
“We know we’re the team that everybody hates,” junior cornerback P.J. Williams said. “We like the fact that everybody wants us to lose. We like the fact that every team is going to come with their A-game.
“So we’re just going to fight hard and work hard to make sure that we win.”
No. 2 FSU stormed back from a 21-0 deficit to top the Cardinals on Thursday, its latest circus-act escape in a drama-filled 2014 season.
The Seminoles are 8-0 for a second consecutive season. Three of those wins have come after fourth-quarter rallies.
And a fourth, at North Carolina State, came only after the Seminoles fell behind 24-7 in the first quarter.
“Now we put ourselves in a lot of very tough situations,” Fisher said. “But our guys continue to affect each other all the time in a positive way.
“They believe in each other, they love each other, they’re a great group.”
When FSU hasn’t looked vulnerable, it has looked virtually unstoppable.
In the four games that they’ve trailed at halftime, the Seminoles have come back to outscore their opponents 111-44 over the remainder of those contests (including six points scored in overtime against Clemson.
Their triumph over the Cardinals may have been the most impressive. After another week in which their credentials had been questioned, the Seminoles found themselves quickly down by three touchdowns in front of a raucous, Thursday-night crowd.
The Cardinals boasted two NFL-caliber players on offense (running back Michael Dyer and receiver DeVante Parker) and the nation’s No. 1-ranked defense.
“When they’ve got the No. 1 defense in the country and we’re down 21-0, what were y’all saying?” Winston said. “It was crickets.
“…We bounced back and the Seminoles rise again.”
Against explanation sometimes, they do.
The players can’t quite explain it, either.
“I’m still trying to figure it out, just like you all,” senior receiver Rashad Greene said. “I’m still trying to push my teammates to come out and start faster, because once we get behind we become so dominant.
“If we started that way games would be over quickly.”
Greene is probably right.
Florida State has four regular season games left, then a likely date in the ACC Championship Game on Dec. 6.
And while they’d like to avoid the type of drama they’ve survived over the season’s two months, they’re at least confident that, when adversity comes, they can handle it.
“We do anything to win,” Winston said. “It’s great that we always persevere. I don’t know why we put ourselves in that situation … but this team is so special.”