Banged-up Wolfpack visit streaking Seminoles
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) _ North Carolina State coach Mike O’Cain can think of a lot of places he’d rather be on Saturday other than at Florida State.
Winless for six weeks, the Wolfpack (3-4, 1-4 ACC) returns to a Seminole lair where they have surrendered 139 points in their last two trips.
``We won’t be 100 percent Saturday and that’s not the way you want to be to go to Tallahassee,″ O’Cain said.
``We’ve got to go down there with what we have and give it our best shot,″ he said. ``Having had a week off we’re in a little bit better shape than we were a week ago in terms of health.″
And if things weren’t already bad enough, the ’Pack will be trying to win on Florida State’s homecoming _ an event where coach Bobby Bowden is 21-0.
The third-ranked Seminoles (7-0, 5-0 ACC) are favored by five touchdowns.
``They’re a lot better now than they were four or five weeks ago,″ said Virginia coach George Welsh, who watched his team surrender 47 points at home and more than 500 yards to the Seminoles last week.
``You’ve got to slow ’em down,″ Welsh said. ``You can’t give up big plays like we did, because you’ll never catch up.″
And Florida State, which has lost at home just once in the ’90s, seems to be adding new weapons every week.
Travis Minor turned his first start into something memorable with a three-touchdown, 227-yard performance against Virginia.
``He’s just like a long line of backs they’ve had before,″ O’Cain said. ``I don’t like to compare him to Warrick Dunn yet, but he’s that kind of back.″
However, Florida State still lives on the pass.
The Seminoles’ wide receivers _ E.G. Green and Peter Warrick _ lead the ACC in receiving yardage and Thad Busby leads in total offense.
``The game can be very close and all of a sudden it’s out of hand because of the weapons they have,″ O’Cain said.
And he’s faced with a patchwork secondary against the Seminoles.
``We’re still not sure about anybody back there yet,″ O’Cain said. ``We’re still moving some people around.″
Starting safety Damon Wyche is out with a knee injury and his backup, Rodney Redd, is troubled with an elbow injury. Starting cornerback Erick Riddick is coming off arthroscopic surgery and cornerback Hassan Shamsid-Deen is battling a hamstring problem.
On the other side of the ball, Florida State throws the nation’s best defense at the Wolfpack.
``They attack the quarterback and the line of scrimmage as good as any group I’ve ever seen,″ O’Cain said. ``A lot of times they beat the offensive linemen off the ball. They’re a great group of athletes up front.″
The Seminoles, 45-1 since joining the ACC in 1992, will be after their 17th straight conference victory since their 1995 loss at Virginia. They are also after a 19th straight regular season while trying to run their undefeated home streak to 33 games dating back to the 1991 loss to Miami.