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Florida State Seminoles stay grounded after beating Miami Hurricanes

Chris Thompson heads off for a 90-yard TD, the third longest scoring run in FSU history. He finished with a career-high 158 yards.

Associated Press

Chris Thompson heads off for a 90-yard TD, the third longest scoring run in FSU history. He finished with a career-high 158 yards.

MIAMI — Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher wasn't biting.

Shortly after his Seminoles blew out Miami 45-1, to improve to 5-1 and 3-0 in the ACC, he was asked if he was ahead of schedule in re-establishing the program.

"I'm not even thinking about it," the Seminoles' first-year coach said. "I'm thinking about BC."

Boston College comes to Tallahassee on Saturday.

"Everybody's going to say, 'Florida State can't handle success. (It's) up and down,' " he said. "The only way to change people's perceptions is by doing it every week, and you have to prepare Sunday through Friday."

That was the message to his players Saturday night in the locker room, stressing that if any of them saw a teammate showing signs of complacency or overconfidence to "tap him on the shoulder" and remind him that half the season remains.

But the win against the Hurricanes, which broke a four-game skid to state foes (Florida twice, UM and USF), punctuated a pretty fair first half by any measure for a program that had lost its relevancy in Florida, in the conference and in the nation.

The Seminoles moved up seven spots to No. 16 in the Associated Press Top 25, matching their highest poll position since the week of Nov. 1, 2008, entering a game at Georgia Tech, which they lost. They are the highest ranked team in the state with the Gators falling to No. 22 after a second straight loss and the Hurricanes dropping from No. 13 out of the Top 25. The last time FSU was the state's highest ranked team was Oct. 9, 2005, when it was No. 4, Miami 7 and UF 11.

Yes, the Seminoles have beaten higher-ranked teams than Miami in recent years: BYU was No. 7 last year and, in 2007, Boston College was No. 2. Both were on the road. But neither had the kind of "Look-out-for-FSU" implications as Saturday night's win did. For that, you probably have to go back to December 2005 and FSU's 27-22 win against No. 5 Virginia Tech in the inaugural ACC Championship Game.

But will the Seminoles use Saturday's win as a springboard for the second half of this year?

"Confidence in an athlete or a program is something you don't know when it comes, it just comes," Fisher said. "When confidence comes in anything we do, then we really can take off and explode. But confidence can be a scary thing. You've got to know how to control confidence. You've got to remember why you've gotten confidence because you've prepared and had success. This team, (with) the youth of it, what we've got to emphasize is that it understands how to prepare each week with that confidence."

Said senior QB Christian Ponder: "It was definitely a big win but for us, but our whole mind-set is one week at a time. We're not looking ahead."

Another marker: Since the Seminoles were road underdogs, they designated the Miami matchup as a "sod game," which means they snatched a clump of sod from the Sun Life Stadium field after the win so it could be buried in the "cemetery" adjacent to the FSU practice field. The tradition began in 1962.

One for the books: Sophomore TB Chris Thompson's 90-yard touchdown run that capped off a career night (158 yards) is the third longest scoring run in FSU history behind Larry Key's 97-yarder against Virginia Tech in 1976 and Sammie Smith's 95-yarder against Furman in 1985.

The last word: "It was my idea. It was his birthday and his first victory as head coach against Miami and just to show we really appreciate everything he's doing for us." — CB/PR Greg Reid on dousing Fisher, who turned 45 Saturday, with ice water.

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

Florida State Seminoles stay grounded after beating Miami Hurricanes 10/10/10 [Last modified: Sunday, October 10, 2010 11:35pm]

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