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Thursday, October 28, 2010
Seminoles, Wolfpack collide in ACC battle

By Gregg Found

Florida State heads to Raleigh tonight for a key Atlantic Division showdown with North Carolina State. The Seminoles put their perfect ACC record on the line against the Wolfpack, who are just a game back in the loss column.

The last three meetings have been won by the Seminoles, but you can expect a tight game, as eight of the last nine meetings have been decided by ten points or fewer. Last year Florida State won in a shootout, 45-42, and the outcome wasn’t decided until Wolfpack quarterback Russell Wilson was intercepted at the goal line on the last play of the game.

The efficient play of quarterback Christian Ponder has been key to the Seminoles offense this season, as he has completed over 60 percent of his passes with only seven interceptions. However, he has struggled with the deep ball, averaging just 6.5 yards per attempt, ranked 83rd out of 112 qualifying players.

If Florida State is going to get its downfield passing game going, Jimbo Fisher should keep his banged up quarterback in the shotgun, where he’s been much more productive on throws of at least 10 yards compared to when lining up under center.

Florida State should also look to exploit the success of its explosive ground game against the Wolfpack. The Seminoles have 17 20-yard rushes, or 6.5 percent of its total attempts, the fourth-best rate in the nation. On the other side of the ball, the N.C. State defense has allowed rushes of at least 20 yards on 4.5 percent of its opponents carries, which ranks 99th out of 120 FBS teams.