Banged-up Wolfpack visit streaking Seminoles
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) _ The numbers spell trouble for North Carolina State.
The Wolfpack haven’t won in six weeks and they’re headed to third-ranked Florida State, which hasn’t lost at home in six years.
The Seminoles (7-0, 5-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) have won the last seven games in the series, scoring 139 points the two times they’ve played in Tallahassee.
Not since 1967 has North Carolina State won in this series.
And Saturday, they’re the homecoming guests for the Seminoles who are a perfect 21-0 under coach Bobby Bowden on the big day and unbeaten in 32 home games dating back to the 1991 season.
The Seminoles, 45-1 since joining the ACC in 1992, will be after their 17th straight conference victory since a 1995 loss at Virginia as well as their 19th straight regular-season victory.
North Carolina State (3-4, 1-4 ACC) won’t be at full strength for the game.
Starting safety Damon Wyche is out with a knee injury. His backup, Rodney Redd, is troubled by an elbow injury. Starting cornerback Erick Riddick is coming off arthroscopic surgery and cornerback Hassan Shamsid-Deen is battling a hamstring problem.
``We’ve got to go down there with what we have and give it our best shot,″ Wolfpack coach Mike O’Cain said. ``Having had a week off we’re in a little bit better shape than we were a week ago in terms of health.″
North Carolina State has lost three straight games since a 41-14 victory Sept. 20 over Northern Illinois.
And Florida State, which has lost at home just once in the ’90s, seems to be adding new weapons every week.
``They’ve turned it up a notch,″ O’Cain said, noting last week’s performance by Florida State freshman tailback Travis Minor.
``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.″
Minor turned his first start into something memorable with a three-touchdown, 227-yard performance in a 47-21 victory over Virginia.
However, Florida State still lives on the pass.
E.G. Green and Peter Warrick lead the ACC in receiving yardage, while quarterback 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 North Carolina State is banged up in the secondary.
``We’re still not sure about anybody back there yet,″ O’Cain said. ``We’re still moving some people around.″
On the other side of the ball, Florida State turns the nation’s best defense against 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.″