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NORTH CAROLINA STATE (3-4, 1-4) AT NO. 3 FLORIDA STATE (7-0, 5-0)

WHEN/WHERE: 3:30 p.m.; Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee.

TV/RADIO: Chs. 28, 40; WITS-AM 730, WDAE-AM 1250, WLKF-AM 1430, WXOF-FM 97.1.

COACHES: North Carolina State _ Mike O'Cain (25-28, fifth season). Florida State _ Bobby Bowden (204-50-4, 22nd season; 277-82-4 overall).

LINE: Florida State by 29{.

AT STAKE: The Seminoles attempt to remain unbeaten heading into their showdown Nov. 8 at North Carolina, a game that should decide the Atlantic Coast Conference title. They have allowed just seven points in their three home games, including back-to-back shutouts. The 1993 championship team had three shutouts at home.

CATCHING ON: The last two weeks, FSU senior receiver E.G. Green has 11 catches for 317 yards, an eye-popping 28.8 average, and two touchdowns. One reason is the emergence of Peter Warrick, Laveranues Coles and Damian Harrell, which has made it more difficult to double-team Green. Said Bowden: "It's getting E.G. back where he can get more catches and, of course, the amazing thing about him has been taking a short pass and turning it into a long one." His two TDs were for 66 and 74 yards.

SERIES HISTORY: The Seminoles lead the series 13-4, including seven straight. Since joining the ACC they have averaged nearly 52 points against the Wolfpack, winning the last five meetings by an average margin of 44. That includes the Seminoles' largest ACC win, 77-17, in 1995.

RALEIGH TIES: FSU linebacker coach Chuck Amato was a starting linebacker at N.C. State and on the Wolfpack teams that actually beat FSU twice (1965, 1967). Amato began his coaching career at his alma mater and was there from 1971-80.

HOMECOMING STREAK: FSU has not lost a homecoming game since Bowden took over the program in 1976.

THE LAST WORD: "It's probably as good a time as you're going to get to catch them. Coach Bowden is not going to allow them to overlook us . . . but sometimes it's hard when everybody's talking about the next game." _ O'Cain.

_ BRIAN LANDMAN

CHARLESTON SOUTHERN (1-6) AT SOUTH FLORIDA (2-5)

WHEN/WHERE: 7 p.m., Houlihan's Stadium, Tampa.

RADIO: WZTM-AM 820, WDCF-AM 1350, WZHR-AM 1400.

COACHES: Charleston Southern _ David Dowd (13-57, seventh season). USF _ Jim Leavitt (first season).

THE LINE: According to the Sagarin Ratings published in USA Today, Charleston Southern is favored by 3.

STATS AND STANDINGS: Charleston Southern's top performer this season has been punter Clay Williams _ and considering the Buccaneers' struggles, his efforts are much appreciated. He is No. 8 in I-AA in punting (43.75-yard average). USF's Steve Riggs is tied for No. 7 in field goals per game (1.43 avg.) and teammate Jermaine Clemons is No. 7 in kickoff returns (28.1 avg.).

INJURY REPORT: Other than the four already out with season-ending injuries, the Bulls are fairly healthy. The two players Leavitt was most concerned about _ OT Kenyatta Jones (ankle) and LB Marshall Smith (thumb) _ are both expected to play.

QUOTABLE: Leavitt on the inaugural season: "Our guys are playing pretty hard. I think they're enjoying the process. We will definitely be evaluating with wins and losses, but we're not going to do that the first year."

_ SHARON GINN

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