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Sunday, October 7, 2012
FSU Notes: Flu sidelines Watson

By David M. Hale

RALEIGH, N.C. -- There were enough missed assignments that Jimbo Fisher could hardly pin the blame for the offensive line's struggles on any one member, but that doesn't mean right tackle Menelik Watson wasn't missed.

Menelik Watson
The absence of Menelik Watson didn't help FSU against NC State.
The first-year starter woke up Saturday morning with flu symptoms, and Fisher said there was no way Watson could have played against NC State.

"He woke up with a temperature of 102 and was throwing up at the hotel," Fisher said. "He got it real bad, dehydrated. And that happened [Saturday] morning."

Daniel Glauser got his second start of the season in Watson's place, and while he wasn't the only concern on the line, he wasn't sharp either. It was on a bootleg to the right side that EJ Manuel was dumped for a 15-yard loss in the second half that pushed FSU out of field-goal range.

Florida State has allowed 12 sacks this season, seven of which came in the two games Watson didn't start.

"We have to get that fixed," Fisher said. "We have to dominate up front."

Timing isn't everything: Fisher wasn't certain it would've made a difference in the end result, but Cason Beatty's blocked punt late in the fourth quarter made for a much easier game-winning drive for NC State.

Beatty was punting from his own 33 with 2:32 remaining in the game, and the NC State pressure came straight up the middle. It was the second time Beatty had a punt blocked in as many games, and both ensuing drives resulted in touchdowns.

"You can't have a punt blocked there," Fisher said. "That's very critical for us."

But while it would be easy to hang the responsibility on the freshman punter, Fisher said Beatty hasn't been the problem.

"The time -- he's right at the range," Fisher said. "We keep the times, and the times have been coming back good."

Just for kicks: The problem was the decision on third down, Fisher said of Florida State's doomed eight-play drive early in the fourth quarter.

Florida State moved the ball to the NC State 19, but Manuel took a 15-yard sack on a bootleg play that pushed the Seminoles just out of field-goal range.

"It would've been a 52-yarder," Fisher said. "I felt if we punted them down and pinned them, we could hold them and get it back. It wasn't a risk worth giving them the momentum."

But as the Seminoles made their last-gasp attempt to win the game in the final seconds, Fisher would've been happy to get the chance at an even longer attempt.

Manuel hit Kelvin Benjamin for 21 yards down to the FSU 21, but his next two passes fell incomplete, and kicker Dustin Hopkins never got a chance at his fourth field goal of the game.

"Sixty-five was probably the absolute most we would try," Hopkins said. "I've hit 72 before, but that was with a good amount of wind at my back. We had the yard line in mind, and we didn't quite get there."