The No. 4 Florida State Seminoles (4-0) will travel south to Tampa, Fla. this weekend to face off against in-state rival South Florida (2-2) in a non-conference clash.
The Bulls have lost two in a row and are in desperate need of a win at home Saturday night, while the 'Noles have an undefeated season and BCS National Championship Game appearance on their radar.
The two teams last met three years ago in Tallahassee when the Bulls earned a hard-fought road win, 17-7.
With the stage set for a mighty showdown at Raymond James Stadium on Saturday evening, here is everything you need to know about both teams and what to expect this weekend.
Where: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Fla.
When: Saturday, September 29 at 6 p.m. ET
Listen: WNLS 1270 AM (Tallahassee), WMNF 88.5 FM (Tampa)
Live Streaming: Seminoles.com/AllAccess
Betting Line: Florida State (-15.5), according to Covers.com.
After surviving Clemson last weekend, Florida State has a favorable schedule the rest of the way and could be on its way to an undefeated season. Still, the Seminoles must prove that they can win away from Doak Campbell Stadium in 2012.
Saturday night's showdown in Tampa marks the first road game of the season for FSU, and will be a big test considering they still have four conference road games to go after Week 5.
Who May Not Play for Florida State
*According to USA Today
WR Jarred Haggins (Undisclosed), questionable for Saturday
DB Justin Bright (Head), questionable for Saturday
T Garrett Faircloth (Hip), questionable for Saturday
WR Josh Gehres (Hamstring), questionable for Saturday
LB Ukeme Eligwe (Hand), questionable for Saturday
DT Moses McCray (Concussion), questionable for Saturday
OL Daniel Foose (Back), questionable for Saturday
DE Brandon Jenkins (Foot), out for season
TE Dan Hicks (Knee), out for season
RB Mario Pender (Groin), out for season
DT Derrick Mitchell (Back), out indefinitely
Who May Not Play for South Florida
*According to USA Today
WR Sterling Griffin (Knee), out for season
Jimbo Fisher's Florida State squad comes into this weekend's matchup ranked fourth in the nation. However, the Seminoles will only rise if they win and one of the Top 3 teams lose. A loss in Tampa would really set FSU back, though.
As for South Florida, two tough losses in a row have them in desperate need of a win. They are well out of the Top 25 and trying to avoid their second consecutive home loss this September.
What They're Saying
Florida State sophomore cornerback Nick Waisome isn't overlooking Saturday's showdown with the Bulls (via Tallahassee.com's Ira Schoffel):
"USF’s a great team. It’s our first road game. It’s going to be like a Super Bowl over there."
Comparing this weekend's matchup to the Super Bowl might be a bit of a stretch, but Waisome and the 'Noles are smart to not take the Bulls lightly on the road.
South Florida running back Demetris Murray is well aware of that the Seminoles are a championship caliber football team (via Tampa Bay Times' Greg Auman):
"We've got to play better next week, or we'll get run out of he stadium. It's that simple. We have to get everything right."
Florida State has blown out most of its opponents this season and has two shutouts in four games.
Florida State Player to Watch
Senior running back Chris Thompson is a must-see star for Florida State. The Seminoles' leading rusher is averaging a ridiculous 10.8 yards per carry and 11 yards per reception this season. He has 357 yards and five touchdowns on the ground in four games.
Thompson racked up 182 total yards of offense and found the end zone twice for Florida State last weekend as it took down a Top 10 Clemson squad.
South Florida Player to Watch
The Bulls' leading receiver in 2012, sophomore Andre Davis, has been stellar for USF through four games. Davis has 23 receptions this fall for 309 yards and three touchdowns. The 6'1" star has already surpassed his 2011 production (22 receptions, 273 yards and two touchdowns).
If quarterback B.J. Daniels and the Bulls are to have offensive success against the Seminoles this weekend, Davis will have to make big plays through the air and after the catch.
Unless the Bulls can slow the Seminoles offense on the ground Saturday night, Florida State will likely run away with the win. FSU ranks eighth in the nation in rushing offense, averaging 281 yards on the ground per game.
South Florida gave up 169 rushing yards to Ball State in its loss last week, surrendering 4.8 yards per carry to the Cardinals. Unless USF's run stoppers come to play Saturday night, it will be in trouble against Chris Thompson and Seminoles' ground attack.
On the Hot Seat
South Florida quarterback B.J. Daniels will be on the hot seat Saturday night vs. Florida State. The senior signal-caller has tossed five interceptions combined over the last two games and has completed just 54 percent of his passes over that time.
Daniels got off to a hot start this season throwing six touchdowns to just one pick through the first two weeks, but has since cooled. On Saturday, he'll face a Florida State defense that ranks sixth in the country in scoring defense, allowing just 10 points per game.
Florida State proved last week in its 12-point win over Clemson that it can win with offense in addition to defense. The Seminoles are a complete football team and will roll over South Florida on Saturday. The Bulls are reeling have lost two straight, and are unfortunately overmatched this weekend.
Florida State 48, South Florida 17
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