Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Colleges

FSU has an unbeaten path to Gator game

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TALLAHASSEE — Jimbo Fisher did not vote his Florida State Seminoles No. 1 in the coaches poll last week despite beating N.C. State, No. 8 Clemson and Maryland by a combined 132 points in consecutive weeks. Maybe that will change after Saturday's 41-14 home rout of Miami.

Third-ranked FSU has beaten its three ranked opponents by a combined 155-28 this season. Miami entered Saturday ranked No. 7, Clemson was No. 3 at the time and Maryland was No. 25. Fisher laughed and dodged the question when asked after the Miami game if the team finally earned his first-place vote.

"This is a very good football team," Fisher said. "That's a very good football team we just played. Beating them by four touchdowns, you don't do that very often. I'll say this: I love our football team."

The Seminoles (8-0, 6-0 ACC) need one conference victory to lock up the ACC Atlantic Division and secure a berth in the conference championship game Dec. 7. They are likely to be huge favorites at Wake Forest (4-5, 2-4) and at home against Syracuse (4-4, 2-2).

"I give Florida State a lot of credit," Miami coach Al Golden said. "That's an excellent team and a deep team. We have to play so much better than that, and we did not."

The next real challenge for the No. 2 team in the latest BCS standing is rival Florida (4-4, 3-3 SEC) in Gainesville on Nov. 30. Everything sets up for FSU being undefeated before the Florida game and remaining a serious contender for the BCS Championship Game.

"We've played three pretty emotional games in a row," Fisher said. "We're going to see if we can keep continuing to mature and preparing well and growing as a team."

"I feel like it could be that special season if we just play one game at a time and still dominate," FSU running back Devonta Freeman said.

The Seminoles' defense has dominated all season outside of giving up 34 points to Boston College, and the play of Heisman Trophy candidate Jameis Winston at quarterback has pushed the team to elite status.

Fisher was thrilled to see his team excel even when Winston struggled somewhat against the Hurricanes. The redshirt freshman finished with 325 yards passing and a touchdown, but he had two interceptions and several inaccurate throws. Winston bounced back from a shaky first half, and the defense shut out the Hurricanes in the second half, forcing two interceptions and getting off the field on fourth and 2 from the FSU 26-yard line.

"We did what we were supposed to do," FSU nose guard Timmy Jernigan said. "Miami is a great team; they have a great rushing attack, one of the best in the country. We proved that we could play with the best."

Jernigan heard the crowd's "We want 'Bama" chants loud and clear during the game. He was asked, "Do you want No. 1 Alabama, like the crowd?"

"We do," he said.

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