Know the Foe: FSU
A look at 13th-ranked FSU, which faces USF on Saturday at Raymond James Stadium
Record: 2-1 (defeated Ole Miss, 45-34, on Sept. 5; defeated Charleston Southern, 52-8, on Sept. 10; lost Saturday at Louisville, 63-20)
Coach: Jimbo Fisher (seventh season, 70-15)
The breakdown: Two days after the Seminoles' embarrassment at Louisville, the program's worst loss in 35 years, Fisher spent his normal Monday press conference owning up to the performance and insisting the 'Noles can't let it define them. "We did it," Fisher said. "Now it’s time to adjust to that, let them see the film, adjust to those things in which we’ve got to do and get ready for a very good South Florida team." ... Unfortunately for USF fans, 'Noles TB Dalvin Cook is overdue for a big game. In three contests, the 213-pound junior has 228 yards -- 38 fewer than he had in last season's 34-14 win against the Bulls. Like Cook (and every other 'Nole, for that matter), freshman QB Deondre Francois is coming off a mediocre effort (7-of-18, 101 yards) at Louisville, but already has proven capable of flourishing in big moments (see Ole Miss). Moreover, his unit is 13-of-13 inside the red zone this season. ... FSU's defense, projected to be the team's strength in the preseason, currently ranks 81st nationally (401.3 ypg) and is catching heat from some unlikely sources: former 'Noles players. On a recent podcast, alumni Travis Johnson, Bryant
McFadden and Chris Hope pointed out FSU's lack of discipline against Louisville's zone-read, and the blown coverages on the back end. Missing in the secondary was preseason All-ACC DB Derwin James (lateral meniscus tear), expected to be sidelined another month or so. ... Freshman PK Ricky Aguayo, Roberto's brother, has hit nine of 10 field goals, including five of six from 40 or more yards.
Odds and ends: FSU has not lost consecutive games since 2011, a streak of eight consecutive victories following a defeat. ... Sophomore WR Auden Tate -- a Wharton High alumnus -- has three TDs on four receptions so far. ... If nothing else, the 'Noles are balanced; they've had 120 rushing and 111 pass plays this season. ... Including last season's Peach Bowl, four of FSU's last five contests have kicked off at noon.
Willie Taggart's take: "You've got to gang tackle (Cook) and hold on for your teammates to come. He's a great back and you've got to get guys to the ball and hold on for dear life. ... I go back to it's a team sport, a team game. And we've got to play well -- offensively, special teams as well -- for our defense to play good. I think if we would have done anything offensively last year, it would have helped our guys to where they wouldn't have had the opportunity to keep feeding the ball to Cook. You get it to him so many times, eventually he's going to break one. So we've got to do a better job offensively of staying on the field and getting some points to allow our defense not to be on the field as much."