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Fired-up Florida State Seminoles defense makes statement against Wisconsin

Florida State linebacker Dekoda Watson scoops up a fumble and returns it 51 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Florida State linebacker Dekoda Watson scoops up a fumble and returns it 51 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.

ORLANDO — Florida State's defensive coaches didn't need to make any impassioned speeches to get their players excited for the Champs Sports Bowl against Wisconsin on Saturday.

The Badgers took care of that one day earlier.

Fueled by what they perceived to be disrespectful song lyrics and an offensive hand gesture during a bowl luncheon Friday, FSU's defense forced three fumbles, scored two touchdowns and led the Seminoles to a 42-13 victory.

"I was mad ever since we went to that luncheon," said junior linebacker Dekoda Watson, who recovered a fumble in the fourth quarter and returned it 51 yards for a touchdown. "They disrespected us. They were just knocking us down. They didn't give us any respect — from the commentators to the coach to the players."

According to several FSU players and staff members who attended the luncheon, the trouble started during an entertainment portion of the event. Three Wisconsin players performed a song boasting about the Badgers' physical style of play and mocking the Seminoles' team speed.

Watson and cornerback Patrick Robinson said at least one Wisconsin player performed the Seminole chop then turned it into a throat-slash gesture. "It was just a slap in the face to Florida State," Watson said. "I really was mad about that. They disrespected us all the way around."

Said Robinson: "It was getting kind of intense at the pregame meal. It carried into the game. We played with intensity, and we played physical."

The intensity was evident after the pregame coin toss, when players from both teams had to be restrained at midfield.

And while FSU's defense didn't dominate from start to finish — the Badgers had 333 total yards — the Seminoles racked up enough big plays to keep Wisconsin in check.

Senior linebacker Derek Nicholson scored a touchdown on a 75-yard fumble return, and the Seminoles had three sacks.

Wisconsin's only touchdown came late in the fourth quarter, after most FSU starters had been pulled.

"When we had our first group in there, all they got was two field goals," defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews said. "The thing that we were able to do was beat them at their game."

Fired-up Florida State Seminoles defense makes statement against Wisconsin 12/27/08 [Last modified: Thursday, November 4, 2010 2:34pm]
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