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Florida State Seminoles' confidence rising as Gators loom

WITH HONORS: Florida State’s Everette Brown, right, recording one of his 31/2 sacks against   Maryland’s Chris Turner, also forced a fumble that the defense turned into six points. Brown won a defensive player of the week award for his performance. FSU’s defense sacked Turner six times. The Seminoles moved to No. 23 in the Associated Press poll heading into their rivalry game Saturday against No. 2 Florida.

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WITH HONORS: Florida State’s Everette Brown, right, recording one of his 31/2 sacks against Maryland’s Chris Turner, also forced a fumble that the defense turned into six points. Brown won a defensive player of the week award for his performance. FSU’s defense sacked Turner six times. The Seminoles moved to No. 23 in the Associated Press poll heading into their rivalry game Saturday against No. 2 Florida.

TALLAHASSEE — You can count Bobby Bowden among the folks quite taken with the way Urban Meyer's Gators are beating opponents these days.

"As far as explosive power," the Florida State coach said Sunday, "evidently they and Oklahoma are in a class of their own.

"He has got something special there. … He's got the runners. He's got the line. He's got the receivers. He's got the quarterback. He's got the speed. He's got the broken-field ability. It looks like he's got an offense with all the ingredients."

Bowden, whose Seminoles will look to snap a four-game skid to their intrastate rival, said it might take 50 points to beat Florida. Okay. Maybe he was exaggerating, but his point is well-taken. He knows his team has to show some firepower, and the 37-3 win Saturday night at then-No. 22 Maryland has to help his players believe they have some.

"If we would have gone up there and gotten punched around and then looking at Florida this week, I'm afraid your kids would have had no confidence," he said. "But there was enough good things that happened in that ball game the other night that makes you feel like, 'Hey, we're going to get in this thing.'

"Now the thing that scares me the most, the thing we did the worst against them last year, is the same thing we did the worst (Saturday) night, and that was poor tackling in the open field. If you can't tackle in the open field, you can't beat Florida."

Weather matters: Bowden said he was a bit worried how his players would handle the cold as the temperature dipped to 24 degrees Saturday night at College Park, Md. But they seemed more acclimated to it than their Maryland counterparts thanks to practicing Tuesday on "one of the coldest days" in Tallahassee he can remember. "And I think they were determined they were not going to let it bother them," he said.

Back in the poll: FSU moved back into the Associated Press Top 25, at No. 23. With the Gators at No. 2, Saturday's game will mark the first time since 2005 that both enter the annual showdown ranked. FSU was No. 23 and UF was 19.

National honor: DE Everette Brown, who had 31/2 sacks, forced a fumble that was returned for a touchdown and had five tackles against Maryland, was named the Walter Camp defensive player of the week. "It's an honor," he said. "It comes back down to a team effort. The secondary … did a great job of taking away the short routes and played them well on the deep routes. As a defensive unit, we were really able to get after the quarterback … and that allowed me to have more one-on-one blocks and really be a dominating force and lead the defense."

game time: Saturday's home game against Florida is at 3:30 and will be shown on Ch. 28.

The last word: "Getting the award and being able to come out here and enjoy this victory with my teammates was certainly a day I'll tell my kids about in the future." — S Myron Rolle, who was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship then helped FSU beat Maryland.

Brian Landman can be reached at landman@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3347.

Florida State Seminoles' confidence rising as Gators loom 11/23/08 [Last modified: Monday, November 24, 2008 2:41pm]
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