Wolfpack present tough challenge for No. 19 Seminoles
Going into Saturday's game, the Wolfpack have defeated the Seminoles seven times since the Seminoles joined the ACC in 1992. In each case, North Carolina State was unranked while Florida State was in the Top 25.
The Seminoles have 35 ACC losses since joining the conference; the Wolfpack and Clemson have accounted for 14 of them, seven each. If that isn't enough to get Florida State's attention, the Seminoles are coming off a 23-13 loss to the top-ranked Tigers.
Coach Jimbo Fisher has been pleased with the way Florida State has responded to the Clemson loss in practices this week, saying the workouts the best sessions of the season. How his team responds though knowing they won't be going to the ACC championship game for the first time since 2011 has been the focus for most of the week.
''We can still have a chance to win out, have a 10-win season and still be the champs of Florida,'' safety Lamarcus Brutus said. ''Anytime you win 10 games, it's a good season. It's not that you're satisfied with it, but it's still considered a good season.''
North Carolina State (6-3, 2-3 ACC) has won two of its last three games and is bowl eligible for the second straight season. Dave Doreen's squad was blown out by Florida State 49-17 in 2013 but jumped out to a 24-7 first-quarter lead last year before falling 56-41.
''We've got to take another step now,'' Doeren said. ''We'll see if we can go down there and do better than a year ago.''
Quarterback Jacoby Brissett is no stranger to Fisher or Florida State fans. The West Palm Beach, Florida, native began his career at Florida before transferring to North Carolina State. In last year's game, Brissett threw for 359 yards and three touchdowns. This season he has passed for 1,798 yards and 14 touchdowns with two interceptions.
''I think he's playing as good as I've seen him play,'' Doeren said. ''He's taking care of the football, he's very accurate, he's giving his guys a chance to catch every ball.''
Brissett credited last year's game as the catalyst toward turning things around.
''That really gave us a few pointers going into this year. They're a really good team, they're coming off a tough loss and they're going to be ready to play,'' Brissett added. ''We've got to make sure we're ready to play. ... We can't go in there thinking it's going to be like last year.''
Some other things to watch when Florida State hosts N.C. State:
COOK'S RECORD RUN: Dalvin Cook needs 12 yards to break Warrick Dunn's Florida State single-season rushing record of 1,242 yards set in 1995. Cook is second in the nation, averaging 153.9 yards per game and has five games of 150-plus yards this season.
ROAD WARRIORS: North Carolina State is 4-1 away from home, which is only the seventh time they have won four or more road games. The 1957 squad is the only one to win five road games in a year.
GOLSON GETS START: Everett Golson will be Florida State's quarterback after not playing the past two games. He was ruled out of the Oct. 31 game against Syracuse due to a concussion and was on the bench for last week's game. In seven starts, Golson has completed 67.1 percent of his passes, which is second in the ACC and 13th nationally, with 11 touchdowns and an interception.
LINE SHUFFLING: A big reason why Golson is back as the quarterback is that the offensive line has struggled. The Seminoles have gone with a different center the past three weeks and might have a mismatch at right tackle with Brock Ruble back in due to a possible season-ending knee injury to Derrick Kelly. N.C. State defensive end Mike Ros leads the ACC in sacks with 9.5.
BACK BY COMMITTEE? Matt Dayes led the ACC in rushing touchdowns (12) before being lost for the season with a foot injury on Oct. 31. The Wolfpack had five backs receive carries last week against Boston College and averaged 4.2 yards per carry. Reggie Gallaspy and Jaylen Samuels had touchdown runs.