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Defense nearly looks past Pack

Florida State's hot-to-trot defense suddenly finds itself under the gun.

After allowing its first three home opponents just seven points combined, the Seminoles yielded 448 yards, 28 first downs and five touchdowns Saturday to North Carolina State.

"They whipped our fanny any way you look at it," Florida State defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews said. "We didn't look like the No. 1 defense in the country and we didn't act like it.

"We played football for a quarter and then we just sat down. I didn't see anyone that played well."

Florida State coach Bobby Bowden was equally concerned, especially with next week's game at North Carolina looming.

"I didn't think N.C. State could do that to us," Bowden said. "I thought North Carolina and us had two of the best defenses in the country. Now it just looks like one of the best.

"It's changed my thinking. I don't know what to think."

It was the second week in a row FSU's defense was suspect. Virginia had 249 yards and 21 points last week.

In the defense's defense, Florida State's quick-strike offense took control of the past two contests before the defense had time to break a sweat.

The Seminoles led Virginia 21-0 after their first five plays. Against N.C. State, FSU raced to a 27-0 lead after one quarter.

So after posting back-to-back home shutouts against Miami and Georgia Tech, Andrews was hoping to pull off a hat trick against the Wolfpack.

But the Seminoles didn't come close.

N.C. State sophomore quarterback Jamie Barnette threw for 238 yards, mostly to junior flanker Torry Holt.

Holt torched the secondary for 168 receiving yards and five TDs.

"North Carolina is probably thinking they can do the same thing to us," FSU cornerback Samari Rolle said. "They can think whatever they want, though. They've still got to get it done on the field."

While Bowden and Andrews seemed alarmed by the letdown, the players blamed it on a lack of intensity after the offense built the early lead.

"We wanted a shutout, so it's kind of disappointing," Rolle said. "But the intensity wasn't that high. We eased up after it was 27-0. We'll be all right next week.

"We tend to have lapses. We play to the level of our competition."

FSU strong safety Shevin Smith said thinking about the North Carolina game affected him, especially after the big early lead.

"We've been looking forward to the North Carolina game all year," Smith said. "There's a certain disrespect factor here. People have been talking about North Carolina winning the ACC this year for a long time.

"All we could think about once we got ahead was, "Let's get this one over with.' You won't have to worry about the intensity level next week."