Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Florida State Seminoles seek to rebound against North Carolina Tar Heels

Florida State senior defensive end Markus White had a pretty understandable reaction to his team's last-minute loss at North Carolina State.

In the hours after the 28-24 defeat on Oct. 28 in Raleigh, both on the plane ride home and in bed, he mulled over certain plays. Again and again he imagined what he could have done differently and how that could have changed both the outcome and the Seminoles' prospects for the final month of the regular season.

"But in all honesty, after that night, I didn't watch the film," he said. "I wanted to get over it and immediately get onto the next one."

The next one for the 24th-ranked Seminoles (6-2, 4-1 ACC) is today against visiting North Carolina (5-3, 2-2), a team whose fortunes have been compromised by the fallout of an agent scandal and a possible academic misconduct case. Three top players haven't played at all, while 10 others have missed some games.

FSU, which once made winning the ACC title seem preordained but hasn't played for the championship since 2005, not only must bounce back today, it also needs help before it can book a trip to Charlotte, N.C., on Dec. 4 for the league finale.

N.C. State and Maryland also have one league loss and, in the event of a two-team tie atop the Atlantic Division, the first tiebreaker is head-to-head, which N.C. State owns over the 'Noles.

"Obviously we're going to have to hope that N.C. State messes up at some point, but we're not worried about that," said senior quarterback Christian Ponder, who lost a fumble on second and goal from the Wolfpack 4 with 48 seconds left as FSU was driving for the potential winning touchdown. "We have to control what we can control."

That begins with winning today. No offense to Carolina, but that looms as perhaps more of mental challenge than a physical one. The Seminoles have to forget about the immediate past, not just say they have, and focus solely on the present or risk having those haunting memories create new ones that will keep them up at night. That's not easy.

"The games I remember the most," coach Jimbo Fisher said, "are the games I lost."

He hasn't forgotten a loss to rival Concord during his sophomore season at Salem in 1985. In the final moments, he saw no one open and took off running for the end zone from the 12-yard line.

"I can remember it to this day," he said. "I laid out, got hit in the ribs and tried to put the ball on the pylon."

But he got knocked out of bounds just short. Ball game. He and his teammates recovered the next week, rallying against Fairmont State to win the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference for the second straight year.

"We deal with failure and have to fix failure, and we never want it to happen again," he said. "We never want to feel those feelings again."

Many of his current Seminoles, for better or worse, have been in that position before. In 2008, they drove the length of the field and seemed poised to beat Georgia Tech only to fumble the ball at the goal line and lose 31-28. In last season's opener against Miami, the Seminoles again marched to the 2, but the game ended 38-34 on a dropped ball in the end zone.

"Anytime you have a loss, it's like a redemption thing the next game," said junior linebacker Nigel Bradham, who spent the day after the N.C. State loss trying his best not to think about football at all.

"You want to show everybody what you really are, and you aren't what you showed in the last game."

White added that it's actually a bit easier to be more intense, more dialed in, after a tough loss than it is when your team is on a roll.

"You never turn it off in practice," he said. "If you win four or five games in a row, you can think: 'Oh, I want to be fresh on Saturday. I'm holding back.' But when you lose, it's all about the next game."

Ponder, who took responsibility for the N.C. State loss, said that Thursday and even Friday of last week were "not fun" as he sequestered himself in his house replaying "a ton of plays," and not just his last one, and finding some comfort from messages on Facebook. But he couldn't wait to hit the practice field and move forward.

"Kids are more resilient than the grown-ups, coaches and fans sometimes," Fisher said. "The youth in them sometimes lets them rebound and do things. I think they'll respond well and compete very well in the football game."

Brian Landman can be reached at or (813) 226-3347. Follow his coverage at

Florida State Seminoles seek to rebound against North Carolina Tar Heels 11/05/10 [Last modified: Friday, November 5, 2010 10:36pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays see the Blake Snell they've been waiting for in win over Mariners

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — It was a one-run game Sunday when the Mariners' Robinson Cano singled with one out in the seventh inning, bringing the dangerous Nelson Cruz to the plate.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) throwing in the third inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017.
  2. Bucs journal: Demar Dotson (mild groin strain) expected back for opener


    TAMPA — The Bucs got good news Sunday on starting right tackle Demar Dotson, whose MRI exam showed only a mild right groin sprain and who should be back at practice next week.

    Tackle Demar Dotson has only a mild groin strain.
  3. Bucs counting on better health creating better pass rush


    TAMPA — Ask Bucs coaches about the improved depth and health of their defensive line, and they'll look around for a piece of wood to knock on.

    Retired All-Pro defensive end  Simeon Rice, right, the last Buc to have double-digit sacks in a season,  works with defensive end Ryan Russell, who last season was promoted from the practice squad for the second half of the year as injuries piled up. He is competing for a backup job this year.
  4. Rays journal: Jake Faria heads to DL with left abdominal strain

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — RHP Jacob Faria made the trek he didn't want to take after his last start. It was to the trainer's room. The pain in his left abdominal went from nagging to an issue during his start that night in Toronto.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Jacob Faria (34) throwing in the first inning of the game between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, August 4, 2017.
  5. Rays up next: vs. Blue Jays, 7:10 p.m. Tuesday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: Off

    Up next: vs. Blue Jays, 7:10 p.m. Tuesday, Tropicana Field.