The 'Noles, they are a-comin'. USF will try to stem their losing streak against the toughest team on the schedule, Florida State. On the plus side, it's at home (FSU's first visit to Tampa since 1979), and we are kind of a trap game for FSU, wedged between two conference opponents.
GAME: #4 Florida State Seminoles (4-0, 2-0 ACC) at South Florida Bulls (2-2, 0-1 Big East)
WHERE: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa
DATE/TIME: Saturday, September 29, 6pm Eastern
TV/RADIO: ESPN; 98.7 (FM) The Fan
TICKETS:Sold out. As of Tuesday afternoon, StubHub was offering tickets starting at $85.
The Bulls only other game against Florida State was in 2009, a week after all-time USF great Matt Grothe was injured for the season because Jim Leavitt doesn't know when to take out his starters versus an over-matched FCS opponent. Ah, those were the days. It was the first start for B.J. Daniels, a Tallahassee-native, and USF used a stellar defensive effort to triumph over the #18 Noles 17-7, a watershed victory for the program.
Here are the basics about the Seminoles.
CONFERENCE: Atlantic Coast Conference (21st year), Atlantic Division
WEB SITE: Seminoles.com
2012 SEASON: The Noles are a prime title contender this season, with a 4-0 record and 2-0 in conference play. They opened the season with a pair of wins over FCS patsies Savannah State and Murray State. They registered their second straight shutout against ACC foe Wake Forest, and used a 35-3 second-half scoring run to come back and win 49-37 last week against #10 Clemson. Hilariously, USF is probably the second-best team FSU has played in five games this season.
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COACH: John James "Jimbo" Fisher, 3rd season, 23-8. After several years as a coach-in-waiting, Fisher took over for Bobby Bowden in 2010, Fisher has won 10 games and 9 games the last two seasons, and played in the ACC championship in his first year. This year Jimbo has FSU poised to reach the heights the program last saw in their national championship contending days of the 1990s and early 2000s.
KEY OFFENSIVE PLAYERS: Like USF, Florida State has their own fifth-year senior QB with initials for his first name (their names even rhyme!). E.J. Manuel had a monster game last week with 482 yards of total offense, completely dominating Clemson in the second half. He's completed 73% of his passes this season. He spreads the ball around, with five receivers registering at least nine catches so far. Chris Thompson and James Wilder, Jr form a lightning and thunder combo at RB, helping FSU average over seven yards per carry this season.
KEY DEFENSIVE PLAYERS: Defensive ends lead the way for FSU, as Bjoern Werner and Cornellius Carradine are the top two sack-getters in the ACC>, at 6.5 and 5.5 sacks, respectively. Carradine also leads the team in tackles.