TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The unknown is always a cause for curiosity and that might best describe how the Florida State football fan base and even the Seminole coaches are approaching Saturday night’s game against USF at Raymond James Stadium.
The fourth-ranked Seminoles (4-0, 2-0 ACC) make their first road trip of the season to face the Bulls (2-2, 0-1 Big East) in a rematch of the 2009 game when USF pulled off a stunning, 17-7 upset of FSU at Doak Campbell Stadium.
After watching his football team prepare diligently for the game this past week, count Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher among those who is anxious to see how the ‘Noles perform on a different stage. Clearly, there has been no indication that Fisher’s veteran team has over-looked the Bulls.
“I liked what I saw,” Fisher said, following Thursday’s final practice. “They’re learning to focus; they’re learning to lock in. That’s important, especially when you’re going on the road. That’s going to be one of the challenges. … Our leaders are doing a good job of getting those young guys ready to roll.”
Good enough for the ‘Noles to maintain their break-neck, early season pace? Fisher hopes so.
“It’s a new challenge,” he said. “It’s another step. If you want to go where you want to go as a team, this is something you’ve got to learn to do. …
“You’ve still got to go do it. You’ve got to do it in a hostile environment. I’m very interested if they handle the distractions and things that go with travel – being in the hotel, the time (of the game) and all those types of things. I’m very excited to watch that.”
To this point, the 2012 Seminoles have not disappointed Fisher or their fan base in the way they’ve methodically carried their practice preparation over to the field. After trouncing recent nemesis Wake Forest, FSU demonstrated enough focus to overcome a 14-point, third quarter deficit against No. 10 Clemson, 49-37, last week.
In recent years, the Seminoles have labored with playing at a continually high on a week-to-week basis. This group, which is averaging 56.2 points and 574.5 total yards on offense, while limiting opponents to 184 yards and 10 points, has not shown that predisposition.
USF announced Thursday that all 65,857 seats had been sold for the game (6 p.m., ESPN). Despite rampant rumors that Florida State fans could make up a large portion of that crowd, Fisher has his team prepared – mentally and physically – for playing in a hostile environment.
“I’ll wait and see how many [FSU fans] are there,” Fisher said. “It would be great if we could have more than them, but we’ll wait and see. We’ll prepare for the worst and then we’ll have to adapt to the other.”
Hopkins named semifinalist of NFF Scholar-Athlete Award
FSU senior kicker Dustin Hopkins was selected as one of 147 semifinalists for the 2012 National Football Foundation National Scholar-Athlete Award, and by virtue of that selection, is also a semifinalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy, presented to the nation’s best football scholar-athlete.
Hopkins earned his undergraduate degree in communications in a 3 ½ years and is in his second semester of graduate school course work. The Houston, Texas native is also on pace to become the all-time leading scorer in Florida State and ACC history, with an outside shot at become the NCAA’s all-time, major college scoring leader.
In order to be selected as a semifinalist, a player must be in their final year of eligibility, carry a cumulative GPA of 3.2 and demonstrated outstanding football ability, in addition to leadership skills and citizenship. The NFF Awards Committee will select up to 16 recipients, and the results will be announced via a national press release on Thursday, October 25. Each recipient will receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship, and they will vie as finalists for the 2012 William V. Campbell Trophy.
Thompson, Werner and Carradine added to awards list
Senior tailback Chris Thompson, defensive end Cornellius Carradine and junior defensive end Bjoern Werner were selected for inclusion on two of the nation’s most prestigious awards watch lists Thursday.
Thompson, who has come back from a career-threatening back injury to lead the Seminoles in rushing, was added to the watch list for the Maxwell Award, which has been presented to the nation’s most outstanding college football player since 1973. Thompson joins quarterback EJ Manuel, who was a member of the Maxwell’s preseason watch list.
Carradine and Werner, who spear-head Florida State’s dominant defense, have also been added to the Chuck Bednarik Award watch list. The Bednarik Award has been presented to the nation’s top defender since 1995. Fellow defensive end Brandon Jenkins, who suffered a season-ending injury in the opener, was a preseason Bednarik Award watch list selection.
Semifinalists for both awards will be announced on Oct. 29.
Florida State Injury Report
vs. USF, Saturday, Sept. 29
S Justin Bright (head)
DE Chris Casher (knee)
LB Ukeme Eligwe (hand)
OL Garrett Faircloth (hip)
OL Daniel Foose (back)
DT Moses McCray (head)
DT Jacobbi McDaniel (ankle)
DR Derrick Mitchell (back)
OUT FOR THE SEASON
DB Colin Blake (shoulder)
TE Dan Hicks (knee)
DE Brandon Jenkins (foot)
RB Mario Pender (sports hernia)