by Mike Potter
If Tom O’Brien’s club can knock off visiting No. 16 Florida State, the Wolfpack would play in the ACC title game on Dec. 4 in Charlotte if it wins its remaining four games.
“Our football team is excited about the opportunity to play Florida State,” said Coach O’Brien, whose team has had 12 days to lick its wounds following a heartbreaking 33-27 overtime loss at East Carolina on Oct. 16. “Obviously they’re the class of the division right now, a very talented, athletic football team that’s playing great.
“You’re always careful about saying you ‘have’ to do something, but everyone is very aware that it’s a big football game if we want to represent our side of the conference in Charlotte. Every game is important, but certain games, because of the significance of them, take on a different life of themselves.”
FSU’s first-year coach Jimbo Fisher said his team, which hasn’t played since a 24-19 win over visiting Boston College 12 days ago, is aware of the magnitude of the game.
“We’ve embraced our few off-days,” Fisher said. They’ve given us time to heal up. We’ve had a good week of practice and we’re looking forward to going to playing a great North Carolina State football team. They’re very dynamic and we will definitely have to bring an ‘A’ game in all three phases. They’ll be juiced up, and we have a great challenge on our hands. Hopefully we’ll be ready for it.
“(NCSU quarterback Russell) Wilson can beat you from the pocket and from outside the pocket and can beat you running. His receivers do a good job of getting to where they need to get to, and he’s got a tremendous arm. At any time at any place, he can make a play.”
N.C. State vs. No. 16 Florida State
[Thursday, 7:30 p.m., Carter-Finley Stadium]
FSU leads 21-9.
Records: NCSU 5-2, 2-1 ACC; FSU 6-1, 4-0.
Audio: WRBZ-AM 850, WRAL-FM 101.5, Sirius 122, XM 143.
Coaches’ records — NCSU: Tom O’Brien 97-68, 21-23 at NCSU; FSU: Jimbo Fisher 6-1, 6-1 at FSU.
Leading rushers — NCSU: Mustafa Greene 85-419, 4 TD; FSU: Chris Thompson 58-445, 4 TD.
Leading passers — NCSU: Russell Wilson 170-294- 2124- 9, 18 TD; FSU: Christian Ponder 110-182- 1187-7, 12 TD.
Leading receivers — NCSU: Owen Spencer 34-524, 1 TD; FSU: Taiwan Easterling 22-340, 2 TD.
Leading tacklers — NCSU: Nate Irving 53, 8 1/2 TFL, 3 ½ SK, 2 FF; FSU: Kendall Smith 45, 2 TFL, 1FF.
Favorite — FSU by 3 1/2 (Vegas).