Tallahassee, FL - Five years have passed since two, top 10-ranked Atlantic Coast Conference teams squared off. That drought ends Saturday at Doak Campbell Stadium, where No. 4 Florida State entertains No. 10 Clemson in a showdown between the last two Atlantic Division champions.
ESPN College GameDay will be on hand in advance of the nationally-televised showdown in primetime (8 p.m., ABC).
Monday marked the start of game preparation as the Seminoles worked through the rain on the Al Dunlap Practice Fields, after tying up relatively few loose ends in the aftermath of Saturday’s 52-0 shutout of Wake Forest.
“We’re going to need to play even better this week,” FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said at his weekly press conference. “We’ve got a great opponent; got a great challenge ahead of us. We get to have the national media coverage and I am very interested to see how we handle that – see if we’re mature for those situations from a year ago. I think we’ll handle it. I think we learned some lessons. It’s a very important game, not only because it’s an ACC and a divisional game, so it’s a double whammy, but it’s a national game and handling all of that stuff that goes with those types of games. Hopefully, we’ll play in a bunch of those kinds of games. (I’m) looking forward to the week. “
Clemson, which won last season’s shootout with the Seminoles at home 35-30, comes to Tallahassee looking for just its second win on FSU’s home turf in 11 attempts. A year ago, quarterback EJ Manuel missed the Clemson game with a shoulder injury. Manuel directed the game-winning drive between the two rivals in 2010, which culminated with Dustin Hopkins’ walk-off, game-winning 55-yard field goal for a 16-13 triumph.
Manuel, who leads the ACC in passing efficiency, doesn’t see a lot of difference in the Tigers this season to the Clemson teams of the recent past.
“They are still the same team to me,” said Manuel, who is 16-4 as FSU’s starting quarterback. “They look great. They have athletic guys just like our defense. They have a good front four, strong linebackers and strong defensive backs. It’s definitely going to be a task for us to go out and handle things and do things like I know we can.”
Just as Fisher suggested, Manuel believes the key to the success will be how the Seminoles handle their preparation.
“If we just continue to do things like we have been doing this past week, even in camp,” Manuel said. “We just have to prepare for whatever is up next as far as our opponent. I am looking forward to it.”
Additional quotes from FSU coach Jimbo Fisher and quarterback EJ Manuel are attached.
Thompson, Carradine claim ACC Player of the Week Honors
Florida State seniors Chris Thompson and Cornellius Carradine earned ACC Offensive Back and Defensive Line Player of the Week honors, respectively, following their big performances in Saturday’s 52-0 win over Wake Forest.
Thompson rushed for a career-high 197 yards on nine carries (21.9 ypc), including touchdown runs of 74 and 80 yards on successive carries. He authored the 10th highest single-game rushing effort in FSU history in just one half of action against the Demon Deacons. In 2011, Thompson suffered a serious, season-ending back injury in a loss to Wake Forest.
Carradine registered 2.5 sacks and three tackles against the Demon Deacons as FSU posted its second consecutive shutout. The Seminoles have not allowed a touchdown in 12 consecutive quarters this season. Carradine was also credited with two quarterback hurries as the ‘Noles limited Wake Forest to 126 total yards. FSU leads the nation in five team defensive categories.
ESPN exercises six-day option for USF game
Florida State will have to wait to learn exactly when kickoff is set for its first road game of the season. Through its contract with the Big East, ESPN has exercised a six-day option on the Sept. 29 game between the Seminoles and host USF Bulls at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. The earliest the game will be played is 3:30 p.m. The ACC will announce the kickoff time and network – ABC, ESPN or ESPN2 – this coming Sunday.