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Spurrier barely blinks as milestone nears

A victory over Georgia would be the 100th for Florida coach Steve Spurrier, including his three years at Duke.

It would come in his 11th season and eighth game, which would rank sixth among those who reached the century mark the fastest. The record is held by George Woodruff, who won his 100th game at Penn in 1899 in the 11th game of his eighth season.

Not that any of this matters to Spurrier.

"I haven't thought too much about it," Spurrier said. "Several years ago, (athletic director) Jeremy Foley gave me the 50th game ball. I said, "What's this?' He said, "That's your 50th win.' I said, "Really?' "

INJURY REPORT: DT Ed Chester (knee) and OT Zach Piller are probable. CB Tyrone Baker (ankle) is questionable. LB Keith Kelsey (shoulder) is doubtful. FB Terry Jackson (knee), DT Gerard Warren (knee) and OG Corey Yarbrough (ankle) are out.

_ MARK LONG, TIMES WIRES

Team gets lowdown on letdown

TALLAHASSEE _ FSU coach Bobby Bowden took extra time at the end of practice to warn his team about a letdown against North Carolina State Saturday.

FSU has outscored N.C. State 139-20 in the past two meetings at Tallahassee.

Bowden said he cited the previously winless Chicago Bears' victory over the Miami Dolphins on Monday night. "That just shows you what a letup can mean. It's attitude, attitude, attitude."

N.C. State, riding a three-game losing streak, hasn't beaten a Top 10 team since 1988.

THE PITTMAN FILE: Bowden said he expects to hear something from the university today on the status of NG Julian Pittman. Pittman is waiting for the university to answer the appeal of his suspension from school. The senior completed a jail sentence for burglary and fraudulent use of a credit card.

"If they let him stay in school this semester, he would play (Saturday)," Bowden said.

INJURY UPDATE: OT Ross Brannon (ankle sprain), FB Khalid Abdullah (flu) and DB Abdual Howard (flu) are questionable. Flanker Tres Walton (flu) is doubtful.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: A crew from NBC's Today shot practice footage for a Thanksgiving Day feature on student-trainer Danny Huffman, who donated a kidney to his grandmother while in high school, forcing him to give up playing. Bowden heard of the story and offered Huffman a scholarship.

_ KEVIN RECORD

Defense can work on self-esteem

TAMPA _ Saturday's game against Charleston Southern may be a confidencebooster for South Florida's defense. The Bulls, who have given up more than 300 yards in all but two of their six games against Division I-AA opponents, face a team that has averaged just 204.6 yards.

USF's run defense, which coach Jim Leavitt has been watching closely, likely will get a break after facing one run-oriented team after another. The Buccaneers' running game is averaging just 66.9 yards.

The game will give the Bulls (2-5) a chance to buckle down on their opponents' third-down conversions. Leavitt has been particularly frustrated with the defensive performance on third down.

Opponents have come up with big plays _ or driven for touchdowns _ frequently enough that USF has spent extra time on third-down drills during the past two weeks of practice.

"We've been getting hurt with the third-and-very-long situations," Leavitt said. "That's what bothers me. We've got to do better there."

_ SHARON GINN

And the nominees are

Several state players made the grade in nominations for national awards.

Central Florida QB Daunte Culpepper and Florida WR Jacquez Green are among 15 semifinalists for Football News offensive player of the year. Florida State LB Sam Cowart and DE Andre Wadsworth and Florida CB Fred Weary are among the 15 semifinalists for the magazine's defensive player of the year. Bowden is one of 10 semifinalists for the magazine's coach of the year. Winners are announced Dec. 2.

Florida State's Thad Busby is one of five finalists for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, which goes to the top senior quarterback. The others are Dameyune Craig of Auburn, Scott Frost of Nebraska, Peyton Manning of Tennessee and Mike McQueary of Penn State. The winner is announced Nov. 26.

_ TIMES WIRES

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