FSU Beat: Looking for Challenges, ‘Noles Soldier On

It was not very pretty, but the Florida State Seminoles walked out of Raymond James Stadium in Tampa on Saturday with another win. Florida State is now 5-0 on the year and escaped the month of September without any losses. Neither of these things have occurred since 2005, which is also the last time the Seminoles won an ACC championship. FSU didn’t exactly play a bad game on Saturday night, but it was clear almost from the get-go that USF was bringing a level of intensity and fight that the Seminoles simply were not playing with. Despite this fact, the Noles went home with a double digit road victory and the game was hardly ever in serious doubt.

Florida State appeared to be sluggish and disjointed on offense for most of the game, as EJ Manuel put together a quietly impressive passing performance of 19-26 for 242 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. The young offensive line that had been having its way with opposing fronts in the running game ran into a struggle as the South Florida defensive line fought extremely hard and played well for most of the evening. The result was FSU finishing the game with its lowest point total and yardage output of the year. The possibility of a letdown game was not completely unexpected, but still served as a disappointment for fans who had heard the Seminoles speak about being prepared and focused throughout the week.

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Seminole fans are aching for the type of team that goes about methodically dismantling teams from week to week, specifically those teams that do not match up to FSU in the talent department. Trick is, nearly every team on the schedule falls into that category for the 2012 Seminoles, and Saturday was a reminder of just how difficult it is for football teams to get up for a game week after week. If there is any silver lining here, Florida State was far from the only top team in the country to struggle putting away their opponent in a typical decisive manner. LSU struggled with Towson, Oregon tussled with Washington State for much longer than expected and even #1 Alabama ran for a meager 3.7 yards per carry against Ole Miss at home. In general, a lot of big teams seemed to be sleep walking through their Saturday match ups. That may not do much to make Florida State fans feel better about their performance, but ultimately the Seminoles did survive and live to see 5-0.

The next text is another road game at night as the NC State Wolfpack await their opportunity to knock off FSU after an emotional loss to Miami on Saturday. This is another game that Florida State should be able to win in convincing manner, as they match up extremely well with NC State. Mike Glennon is a great arm talent, but he is immobile and playing behind a patchwork offensive line, as the Wolfpack are potentially without both starting tackles and their best guard. The test here will be how the FSU offense handles the crowd noise and atmosphere of Carter-Finley Stadium. It can be argued that this will be Florida State’s first true road game, considering the crowd in Tampa was close to a 50/50 split between Seminoles and Bulls. Now sitting at No. 3 in the AP Poll, the nation will undoubtedly be watching yet again as the Seminoles take on their next test.

Adam Tolliver, @primediscussion on TwitterAdam Tolliver is an Atlanta, GA native and college football enthusiast who has been covering Florida State Seminole sports for three years. He is currently a contributor at Tomahawknation.com and XOFan.com, where he consistently delivers honest and accurate commentary and reporting regarding Florida State Seminole Football and Men’s Basketball. You can find Adam’s personal twitter account @primediscussion, where he spouts out about all things under the sun, or you can follow @Unconquered_FSU, which is exclusively dedicated to FSU Sports.

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