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Where: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida
Florida State is unbeaten through four games for the first time since 2005, when it last went to a BCS bowl and won its only Atlantic Coast Conference title. The fourth-ranked Seminoles, coming off a big win over Clemson, will have to stay alert when they visit inconsistent South Florida on Saturday. Three years ago, the Bulls beat Florida State in Tallahassee 17-7 led by freshman quarterback B.J. Daniels’ 341 total yards. Daniels, a senior now, needs to pick up his team again after two consecutive losses. Daniels and talented wide receiver Andre Davis have to make some big plays and the Bulls offensive line must hold down the Seminoles unrelenting pass rush. But if South Florida is going to pull the upset and be a factor in the Big East, its defense has to step up. That will be a challenge against efficient quarterback EJ Manuel and the versatile Florida State offense.
ABOUT FLORIDA STATE (4-0): Manuel has been terrific in the first four games and was at best when the Seminoles needed him last week, throwing for 380 yards and running for 107 against Clemson in a 49-37 victory. Manuel has eight touchdown passes and one interception, spreading the ball around. Five Seminoles receivers have between nine and 12 receptions. Chris Thompson and James Wilder Jr. also lead a rushing attack that averages 7.5 yards per carry. Florida State’s defense allowed 426 yards to the Tigers, but the Seminoles look to add to their 13 sacks.
ABOUT SOUTH FLORIDA (2-2): The Bulls could not stop Rutgers on third down Sept. 13 and let Ball State drive the field in the final minutes to beat them last week. South Florida had nine sacks in its first three games, but none against the Cardinals. South Florida is also close to the worst in the country with 35 penalties for 317 yards. Better play from the defense could help Daniels, who has nine touchdown passes and six interceptions while completing 56.6 percent of his passes. Davis has 23 catches for 309 yards.
1. Florida State has at least 600 yards in three games. The last time the Seminoles did that four times in a season was 1995.
2. Daniels is 30 offensive plays away from passing West Virginia’s Pat White for second on the Big East all-time list.
3. Manuel was the first Florida State quarterback to throw for 300 yards and run for 100 since Charlie Ward in 1993.