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Five Things to Watch For: NC State at FSU


Here are five things to watch for when North Carolina State visits Tallahassee today.

1.) Florida State's Composure

All week -- up and down the roster -- Florida State has talked about how sick they still are over last year's upset to NC State. Jimbo Fisher has in turn tried to use that pain to focus his team and keep them from paying too much attention to their BCS rankings or the Miami game in two weeks. That could be a brilliant move but there's also a chance it could backfire a bit too. So far this Florida State team has played with great maturity, harnessing their anger and using it to punish opponents. But a controlled rage is just one swell of emotion from becoming a 15-yard penalty or missed assignment. If FSU comes out too amped -- if they let themselves get too angry -- it could be detrimental. 

Odds are -- given what this team has been like through six games -- it will be a non-issue. But it could be, and it's worth noting.

2.) What Does This Defense Do?

Florida State's defense seems to have turned a corner the past two games. Against two ranked opponents FSU has surrendered just 14 points the past eight quarters -- seven of which were garbage times points against back-ups. Willie Jones Sr., Christian's father, told me earlier this week that he thinks Jeremy Pruitt's unit is still only scraping the surface of its potential. If that's true, NC State could be in trouble. 

3.) Karlos Williams

I'm just going to keep writing this until it happens, but eventually Karlos Williams is going to start getting meaningful carries and when he does Florida State is going to wish it had started giving them to him earlier. James Wilder Jr. is out today, he suffered a concussion last week and will miss today's game. That opens the door for Williams to finally get a good share of attempts and against an NC State line that has given up some yardage on the ground, that could be all the talented junior needs.

4.) Jameis Winston

Through six games Winston has been excellent. Conventional wisdom says that won't change today -- but anything can happen. That being said, it's not the numbers Winston puts up or even the way the team plays for him, it's the way it all looks. Seminoles fan or not, you can't deny that when Winston has the ball in his hands there are few players in college football that are more exciting. Against an NC State defense that's a little suspect, that could mean big things today.

5.) The Return of Bobby Bowden

Of course I had to toss this in. Today marks the first time that Bobby Bowden will be back at Florida State since the 2009 season. Nearly 300 players will be on hand, Bobby will plant the spear. FSU fans won't want to miss it.


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