Florida State wide receiver Rashad Greene (80) celebrates with teammates Cameron Erving (75) and Bryan Stork (52) after scoring a touchdown against South Florida during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 29, 2012, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher is doing his best to downplay one of the poorest attempts at defense in the ACC this season.
Fisher doesn’t believe North Carolina State is as bad it was a week ago when it surrendered 651 yards in a 44-37 loss at Miami.
At least he isn’t saying so publicly, not when his No. 3 Seminoles (5-0, 2-0 ACC) face those Wolfpack (3-2, 0-1) Saturday night at 8 p.m. at Carter-Finley Stadium.
Fisher cited the long touchdown Miami scored when N.C. State defenders froze, otherwise saying with a straight face, “they really covered and played well. As I’m looking at it (I’m saying) ‘that ain’t open. That ain’t open. That ain’t open.’ ’’
Fisher must have requested the cut up of those few plays where the Wolfpack actually played some defense and not that 62-yard scoring pass to a wide open Miami receiver Phillip Dorsett with 19 seconds remaining for the game winner.
The play capped a game in which the Wolfpack was hoping to make a statement in a season that was supposed to be full of promise but thus far been a disappointment.
N.C. State was given an outside chance to challenge Florida State and Clemson in the Atlantic Division. The season started with a disappointing 35-21 loss to Tennessee in Atlanta. The Wolfpack needed a much better showing at Miami to gain respect considering their three wins are against Connecticut, South Alabama and Citadel.
“I’m sure they’ll be up for this game no matter whether they gave up seven points last week or gave up 70 points,” Seminoles quarterback EJ Manuel said.
The Wolfpack is allowing 390.8 yards per game but has given up 1,175 yards in the two biggest games of the season thus far — Tennessee and Miami. Opponents are throwing for 278.6 yards a game, worst in the ACC.
Wolfpack coach Tom O’Brien is concerned for another reason other than the fact that his defense was leaking all over the field at Miami.
“We played a 4-hour game in 90 degree heat and humidity that was astronomical,” O’Brien said. “Right now getting our legs back … if we’re not as quick as we can be and fast as we can be it’s going to be tough to stay up with the athletes Florida State has.
“We don’t have the horses to be in a shootout game.”
Fisher’s praise on the other side of the ball was much more warranted. N.C. State’s offense, led by senior quarterback Mike Glennon, amassed 664 yards in the shootout at Miami. Glennon, though, has fared much better against the rest of the league than he did against the Seminoles a year ago when he threw for 130 yards and two interceptions in a 34-0 FSU romp.
“You got a guy that’s got another year under his belt and is that savvy, has football smarts and that talented,” Fisher said. “You better cover all over the field, short, deep. He uses everybody.”
Glennon has thrown for 1,422 yards, tied for second in the ACC. He has 10 touchdown passes and six interceptions, four in the opener against Tennessee and two against Miami.
Raleigh has not been a friendly spot for Florida State, going back to the day future Heisman Trophy winner Chris Weinke threw six interceptions and 25-point underdog shocked No. 2 Florida State 24-7 in 1998.
FSU is 4-3 in its last seven games in Raleigh.
“They recruit the state of Florida a lot,” Fisher said. “Certain teams play others very tough and when you get used to playing somebody in the conference you lose that awe when you have to play every year.”
A week after a pair of unimpressive losses, Georgia Tech regained a bit of its footing.The Yellow Jackets delivered an emphatic 87-57 thrashing of East Tennessee State on Saturday afternoon at McCamish Pavilion to head into their final exam week on an up note.