Florida State lit up the college football world last week with an amazing display of offense from Heisman candidate Jameis Winston as the Seminoles rolled over No. 3 Clemson, 51-14.
It's easy to look ahead to another major matchup with No. 7 Miami (FL) in two weeks, but sandwiched between the two marquee showdowns is a trap game with North Carolina State.
NC State is just 3-3, but Jimbo Fisher and Co. only need to look back to last year's stunning 17-16 upset at the hands of the Wolfpack for a reason to take the matchup seriously and not look ahead to the Hurricanes.
Here is everything fans need to know about the underrated ACC matchup.
When: Saturday, Oct. 26 at 3:30 p.m. ET
Where: Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, Fla.
Live Stream: ESPN3
Betting Lines (via Vegas Insider)
- Over/Under: N/A
- Spread: Florida State (-29.5)
Wolfpack Injury Report (via USA Today)
|Jarvis Byrd||S||10/06/2013||Out indefinitely||Out||Leg|
|Darryl Cato-Bishop||DE||10/20/2013||Questionable for Saturday's game against Florida State||Questionable||Ankle|
|Rob Crisp||T||09/08/2013||Out indefinitely||Out||Concussion|
|K'Hadree Hooker||WR||08/26/2013||Decided to transfer||Out||Personal|
|Ty McGill||DT||10/20/2013||Questionable for Saturday's game against Florida State||Questionable||Undisclosed|
|Brandon Mitchell||QB||10/20/2013||Questionable for Saturday's game against Florida State||Questionable||Ankle|
|Rashard Smith||WR||10/20/2013||Questionable for Saturday's game against Florida State||Questionable||Knee|
|Pete Thomas||QB||10/20/2013||Questionable for Saturday's game against Florida State||Questionable||Shoulder|
|Joe Thuney||T||10/20/2013||Questionable for Saturday's game against Florida State||Questionable||Undisclosed|
|Jack Tocho||CB||10/20/2013||Questionable for Saturday's game against Florida State||Questionable||Shoulder|
|Logan Winkles||FB||08/13/2013||Will miss the entire season||Out||Knee|
Seminoles Injury Report (via USA Today)
|Wilson Bell||OL||09/16/2013||Expected to miss 4-6 weeks||Out||Knee|
|Ira Denson||G||10/04/2013||Will miss the remainder of the season||Out||Shoulder|
|Greg Dent||WR||08/17/2013||Suspended indefinitely||Suspended||Legal/Disciplinary|
|Jarred Haggins||WR||08/15/2013||Expected to miss the entire season||Out||Knee|
|Kevin Haplea||TE||08/08/2013||Will miss the entire season||Out||Knee|
|Tyler Hunter||S||10/09/2013||Will miss the remainder of the season||Out||Neck|
|Jeremy Kerr||TE||08/22/2013||Expected to miss the entire season||Out||Knee|
|Mario Pender||RB||08/30/2013||Will miss the entire season||Out||Academics|
|James Wilder Jr||RB||10/20/2013||Questionable for Saturday's game against NC State||Questionable||Concussion|
Can Florida State Overcome History?
It's no secret that Winston and the Seminoles are one of the nation's best teams and have obliterated any and all competition, having won each contest by 14 or more points and failing to score under 40.
That said, the Wolfpack own the Seminoles when Florida State is ranked, as News & Observer illustrates: of
The past four times the teams have played when Florida State was ranked, the Wolfpack has won. N.C. State beat the No. 3 Seminoles last year, 17-16 in Raleigh; No. 16 Florida State in 2010, 28-24 in Raleigh; No. 17 Florida State in 2006, 24-20 in Raleigh, and the No. 9 Seminoles in 2005, 20-15 in Tallahassee.
History is certainly an issue, as is the fact that NC State was able to spend its entire bye week preparing for the showdown. Even better, as WRAL-TV's Erin Summers points out, the Wolfpack will have starting quarterback Brandon Mitchell back:
#NCSU quarterback Brandon Mitchell will start against No. 3 Florida State after missing five games with a broken left foot— Erin Summers (@ErinESummers) October 21, 2013
The Seminoles have to avoid history and looking ahead (heck, or experiencing a letdown after a major win), but they also have to prepare for a bit of an unknown. With little recent tape on Mitchell, he brings speed and unpredictability to the quarterback position.
Last year was rather straightforward for Florida State in terms of preparation for Mike Glennon and Co., and that didn't turn out so well. How the Seminoles prepare will determine the outcome.
At the end of the day, there is one decisive factor between the two teams, and his name is Jameis. The Big Lead's Jason McIntyre puts it best:
Food for thought: EJ Manuel had these EXACT same weapons last year. Lost at NC State, lost v Florida. Winston is a HUGE upgrade.— Jason McIntyre (@jasonrmcintyre) October 20, 2013
Which team wins?
Despite his freshman status, Winston is one of the nation's best and most composed quarterbacks. He's the reason for Florida State's success to this point—thanks to his 1,885 passing yards, 20 touchdowns to three interceptions and 330 yards or more in four of six games.
Simply put, Winston will not allow a letdown. The Wolfpack may finally be back at full strength and have the Seminoles' number, but Florida State has not had a quarterback this talented since the Heisman days of Charlie Ward about 20 years ago.
Winston will propel the Seminoles through the upset alert with ease.
Final Score: Seminoles win 45-14.
Follow B/R's Chris Roling on Twitter for more news and analysis @Chris_Roling