Florida State Seminoles: NC State

GT, FSU after 2014 SG Tadric Jackson 

December, 18, 2012
The City of Palms Classic is filled with intriguing prospects looking to improve their recruiting stock against some of the top talent the nation has to offer. One such player is 2014 three-star combination guard Tadric Jackson (Tifton, Ga./Tift County), who leads his squad into action against No. 6 Long Beach Poly (Calif.).

Tadric Jackson
Reggie RankinFour-star guard Tadric Jackson is a great start for Georgia Tech in the 2014 class.
Jackson is averaging 19.0 points, 6.0 assist, 4.5 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game for the 20th-ranked Blue Devils. His ability to fill up the stat sheet is why a number of high major programs are trying to land this talented prospect.

"I have offers from Alabama, Ole Miss, Georgia Tech, Florida State, Georgia, Clemson, South Carolina and Memphis,” said Jackson. “I am receiving interest from Kansas, Michigan State, NC State, Ohio State and others. I really like [the team’s that are] recruiting me."
RALEIGH, N.C. -- Christian Jones can hardly count all the times it was over, only to find out that NC State still had life.

[+] EnlargeBryan Underwood
Ethan Hyman/Raleigh News & Observer/MCT via Getty Images Bryan Underwood's game-winning TD reception with 16 seconds left was the last of countless tiny cuts FSU suffered against the Wolfpack.
It was over at the half, when Florida State's defense had dominated. It was over when Tyler Hunter thumped Shadrach Thornton short of the marker on a fourth-down play with just 2:47 remaining. It was over on any one of the three third-down stops on NC State's final drive that were followed each time by failure on fourth down.

That's what nagged at Jones after it really was over, after NC State pulled off the 17-16 upset of No. 3 Florida State, surely ending the Seminoles hopes for a national championship. There had been so many stops, so many big plays, so many moments when it might have turned out differently -- until it didn't.

"There wasn't much devastating, but those fourth downs, we had an opportunity to get off the field and we didn't," Jones said.

The vaunted Florida State defense never collapsed under the weight of mounting pressure and, defensive tackle Everett Dawkins insists, it never caved amid the furious pace of NC State's no-huddle offense in the waning minutes of the game.

This was death by a thousand pin pricks.

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Halftime Analysis: FSU 16, NCSU 0

October, 6, 2012
RALEIGH, N.C. -- The good news for NC State is that it could have been worse. The bad news is that there are no signs the Wolfpack will turn the tide in the second half.

Three Florida State drives stalled and ended with field goals, but the Seminoles' stout defensive front has dominated the line of scrimmage and Chris Thompson has already crossed the 100-yard mark on the ground as FSU has jumped out to a 16-0 halftime lead.

Stat of the half: 115. That's the rushing yards for Thompson in the first half. Thompson needed just 11 carries to top the 100-yard mark for the third time this season, as he set the tone for the Florida State offense. The FSU O-line has had trouble protecting EJ Manuel, but the running game has had no trouble finding holes, averaging 8.2 yards per carry. Thompson's 115 yards on the ground give him 546 for the year -- just 33 shy of Devonta Freeman's team-leading total from a year ago.

Player of the half: Thompson, but the FSU defensive line can also make a good argument for the honor. Thompson has been the game changer on offense, but FSU's defensive front has tormented Mike Glennon, who is averaging just 3.2 yards per attempt. The NC State running game hasn't fared any better, with starting tailback Tony Creecy tallying just 21 yards on 10 carries.

What's working for FSU: Aside from the run game and the defensive front, it's been all Dustin Hopkins, who has connected on three field goals for the second straight week. That's good news for Hopkins, who struggled three weeks ago against Clemson, but bad news for an FSU offense which has endured some notable red-zone struggles of late.

What's not working for FSU: The biggest problem for the Seminoles has been pass protection. Manuel was sacked three times in the first half, a season high. Even when he hasn't been brought down, he's been under pressure. Manuel has fared rather well -- 11-of-15 passing for 117 yards and a TD -- but he hasn't had the time to look downfield as Miami did in exploiting the NC State secondary a week earlier.

Worth noting: Right tackle Menelik Watson has an illness, according to FSU sports information, that sidelined him for the game. Daniel Glauser got the start. ...Thompson left the game for a series in the second quarter for treatment on his elbow. He returned to the field, but with the elbow heavily wrapped. ...Rashad Greene tied his season high with four catches in the first half. ...Anthony McCloud recorded his first sack of the season.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Jimbo Fisher had pushed for the ACC to consider reverting to an eight-game conference schedule for months, but now that he's gotten his wish, he admits the change has thrown Florida State into a bit of a quandary.

[+] EnlargeDevonta Freeman
Melina Vastola/US PresswireFlorida State might have to schedule another Savannah State at the last minute next season to account for the ACC's decision to move back to eight conference games.
"It's kind of weird how it's happening right now because it's going to put a lot of teams scrambling here quickly," Fisher said.

After deciding on a nine-game conference slate for 2013, the ACC reversed course Wednesday, switching back to an eight-game schedule in lieu of the addition of Notre Dame as a partial league member.

That's a step in the right direction, Fisher admits, but it also leaves the Seminoles -- along with the rest of the ACC -- scrambling to fill out their 2013 schedules.

FSU has already been in the process of trying to find an opponent to replace Nevada, which hasn't officially pulled out of its scheduled meeting, but is looking for alternatives. Fisher said that may give the Seminoles a jump on understanding the market, but that doesn't necessarily mean the process will be simpler.

"We've been jumping, but I don't know what we're seeing out there," Fisher said.

Florida State was in a similar situation in the spring when West Virginia pulled out of its planned Week 2 game in Tallahassee, forcing FSU to sift through dozens of potential alternatives before settling on Savannah State, an overmatched FCS foe that drew groans from fans.

"Everybody joked about us getting Savannah [State] but you could not find a game," Fisher said. "And everybody thinks I'm crazy but wait until 12 [teams] go through it this year."

One potential alternative is to simply keep nine ACC games on the schedule for 2013. It's an option several athletics directors are considering, but Fisher said Florida State hopes to avoid that possibility.

"I don't know if you want to do that, but I want to wait and see everything," Fisher said. "It may be the only way you can get a game until you can get your scheduled fixed out in the future."

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The Big Board: FSU's road woes 

October, 4, 2012
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- EJ Manuel grew up a fan of former Indiana Pacers guard Reggie Miller. Manuel remembers Miller draining a dramatic 3-pointer to silence a raucous New York crowd at Madison Square Garden, then holding a finger to his lips to further taunt the distraught fans.

[+] EnlargeChristian Ponder
Bob Donnan/US PresswireCarter-Finley Stadium hasn't been kind to the Seminoles historically, as Christian Ponder can attest to after his Seminoles fell to N.C. State in 2010.
That's how to win a road game, Manuel said.

"When we get an opportunity to do that to an opposing crowd, that makes us feel good," Manuel said.

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