Florida State Begins Preparation For High Stakes Date At Maryland

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida State football team returned to the practice field Monday night to begin preparation for Saturday’s Atlantic Coast Conference game at Maryland. The Seminoles can lock up their second ACC Atlantic Division title in three years with a victory, earning a spot in the conference championship game.

The Seminoles will carry a four-game winning streak to College Park, Md., even if their recent run of success and stellar record – 9-1 overall, 6-1 ACC – aren’t garnering great acclaim in the polls. Despite a dramatic 28-22 win at Virginia Tech last Thursday, Florida State slipped two spots to No. 10 in the Associated Press poll and remained at No. 6 in the USA Today Coaches’ Poll and No. 10 in the BCS rankings.

“I was very proud of our kids and the way we overcame circumstances and the way we competed in the game,” FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said, reflecting on the win at Virginia Tech. “We made plays at critical times in all three phases. (I’m) very proud of our kids for doing that. That’s a very tough place to play. Now, we have the Maryland game this week, which is a very important game. It is the next game, it’s an ACC game and an inter-conference game as I say – it’s a double whammy. (We) need to focus and play a very good game against them.”

Maryland (4-6, 2-4) has been decimated by injuries on offense, but second-year coach Randy Edsall’s defense ranks second in the ACC to the Seminoles. That has Fisher and the Seminoles’ attention.

“The key is for us is to see how important Maryland is and to focus on Maryland and not the championship,” Fisher said. “It’s hard because that’s what you want to be – to be a conference champion and to go to the national title game and BCS. Your first objective is to win the conference. It’s important with what we want to do and it’s always on our goals at the beginning of the year – to be the ACC Champion. But to get there we need to focus on Maryland and play a great game against Maryland. That’s the only team in America right now.”

Kickoff Saturday is set for 12 noon and the game will be televised on ESPNU.

Fisher offers an apology following Monday press conference
Florida State football coach Jimbo Fisher issued a statement following his use of a word during Monday’s press conference:

“It was brought to my attention that I used a word during today’s press conference that I did not intend to use. That is not the way I think. It was a poor choice of a word. I did not mean to offend anyone in any particular way. Please accept my sincere apology.”

Seminole pair earn ACC Player of the Week honors
Sophomore wide receiver Rashad Greene and senior defensive end Cornellius Carradine were recognized for their outstanding performances in FSU’s 28-22 win at Virginia Tech, earning ACC Player of the Week honors.

Greene turned a quick slant pass from quarterback EJ Manuel into the 39-yard game-winning touchdown with 40 seconds remaining in the Seminoles’ 28-22 win at Virginia Tech. The ACC Receiver of the Week finished the night with six receptions for 125 yards – his first 100-yard receiving game of the season – and a pair of scores. Greene’s 25-yard touchdown reception with 48 seconds remaining in the first half also erased a deficit and sent Florida State into the locker room with a 13-10 lead.

With a career-high 11 tackles, Carradine was a dominant force up front, earning ACC Defensive Lineman of the Week honors for the third time this season. He had six solo tackles and five assists on the night, including his ninth sack and 10th tackle for loss of the season for FSU, which maintained its top-ranked standing nationally in total defense. Carradine shares the team lead in tackles with 64 and is bidding to become the first defensive lineman to lead the Seminoles in tackles since All-American Reinard Wilson in 1996.

Home finale against Florida will kick off at 3:30 p.m.
The Atlantic Coast Conference office announced Monday that Florida State’s regular season finale at home against rival Florida will kick off at 3:30 p.m. inside Doak Campbell Stadium. The Nov. 24 contest, which is already a sellout, will be televised nationally on either ABC, ESPN or ESPN2. An announcement regarding the network selection will be made no later than 12 noon on Sunday.

Hopkins’ performance acknowledged by Groza Award
Senior kicker Dustin Hopkins was selected as a semifinalist for the 2012 Lou Groza Place-Kicking Award last week. On Monday, Hopkins was recognized by the a award’s presenting body, the Palm Beach County Sports Commission, as one of “Stars of the Week” following his performance in FSU’s win over Virginia Tech. Hopkins booted two field goals – from 52 and 45 yards – and finished the night with eight points. He has scored a nation-leading 111 points this season, pushing his career total to 437 – just three points shy of becoming college football’s all-time scoring leader among kickers. Hopkins has converted 20 of 24 field goal attempts this season, including all three from beyond 50 yards.

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