Coach Bobby Bowden isn't saying his team has regained its old form, but he sure is encouraged.
"I learned that we have a chance," he said after a 41-39 win against Miami on Saturday at Dolphin Stadium.
The Hurricanes aren't exactly the Hurricanes of old; they're talented, but far too young to be players on the national stage. The Seminoles are young too, but they've overcome some mistakes that come with inexperience and appear to be maturing rapidly enough to perhaps challenge for the ACC title. Why?
• QB Christian Ponder, a redshirt sophomore, can make plays with his arm and his legs (144 yards rushing Saturday), demonstrated poise and might have had a defining game.
"I'm not saying I thought that, but I carried his bags off the plane," Bowden deadpanned.
• The offensive line, which starts a redshirt sophomore, a sophomore, a redshirt freshman and two freshmen, has continued to impress Bowden. The Seminoles amassed 440 yards against UM.
• Redshirt freshmen WRs Bert Reed and Taiwan Easterling have emerged as playmakers; both had three catches against Miami for 43 and 41 yards, respectively.
• Despite Miami scoring so many points, Bowden said that was no indication of how strong the defense played. Special teams breakdowns gave Miami a short field numerous times, but FSU forced three short field goals, held the 'Canes to 256 total yards and came up with three interceptions.
• Lastly, all the players who were suspended as a result of the academic misconduct scandal are back.
"There's no telling what this team would have done up to this point had we not had that," Bowden said Sunday. "If you would have asked me before the season, I would have said that's (4-1) probably about as good as we could do if we're lucky enough to do it. You knew you were not going to get your kids back until after Wake Forest game. You're thinking you're probably not good enough with (so many) starters (out) to get by them. … So, I feel good up to this point."
NOTABLE: The Seminoles are now off until a Thursday night game at N.C. State on Oct. 16. Bowden isn't a fan of games that night, but is happy to have a bye beforehand. … FB Joe Surratt was suspended for the Miami game for a violation of team rules, Bowden said. Surratt has been one of the upbacks on punt protection and without him, Bowden said, disorganization might have led to a botched play late in the Miami game.