For your BCS title game consideration, the Atlantic Coast Conference presents: the Florida State Seminoles. High-octane, fast-paced, a perfect contrast to the inevitable SEC entrant.
Now, if only the ‘Noles don’t slip up on their way to the big game.
No. 4 FSU (4-0, 2-0) officially cemented its status as a legitimate title game contender on Saturday night, scoring 35 second-half points en route to a 49-37 win over No. 10 Clemson (3-1, 0-1). Just when it seemed as if the ‘Noles were destined to fall at home – they trailed by 10 points midway through the third quarter – Jimbo Fisher’s squad turned on the after-burners and won going away.
Florida State scored four consecutive touchdowns in the blink of an eye to build a 49-31 lead and turn impending disaster into a Tallahassee party. E.J. Manuel threw two touchdown passes at the end of the third (he finished 27 of 35 for 380 and those two scores), and FSU added two rushing scores to open the fourth.
The ‘Noles amassed a whopping 667 yards of total offense, helping to offset Clemson’s 426 yards and its strong start. Tajh Boyd tossed a 60-yard touchdown pass barely 90 seconds into the game to put Clemson on top (he finished with three TD passes). The Tigers led by as many as 14 points, going up 28-14 in the third on a trick play in which Sammy Watkins threw a pass to Andre Ellington for a score.
But FSU tapped into its offensive reserve and roared past Clemson for the win. Now, the Seminoles must navigate through a fairly easy schedule the rest of the way. Their toughest remaining games: Nov. 8 at Virginia Tech, a season-ending home game on Nov. 24 against No. 11 Florida, and whomever their opponent will be in the ACC title game.
The Saturday night showdown wasn’t the only game in the ACC in Week 4. In fact, another wild game transpired earlier in the day.
Georgia Tech (2-2, 1-2) and Miami (3-1, 2-0) locked horns in a back-and-forth thriller in Atlanta. The Hurricanes scored 19 first-quarter points before the Yellow Jackets answered with 22 in the second quarter. In fact, GT scored 36 unanswered points to grab a two-score lead before the ‘Canes scored the final 23 points of the game and won, 42-36, in overtime. Miami outgained Tech 609-419 for the win.
The conference had a pair of teams head on the road to play ranked opponents. Maryland (2-2) put up a fight against No. 8 West Virginia before falling, 31-21. Perry Hills completed 20 of 29 passes for 305 yards, three scores and one pick.
The Terps held the Mountaineers to 25 carries for 25 yards, but WVU scored on a fumble return and three Geno Smith touchdown passes for the victory.
Virginia (2-2, 0-1) lost to No. 17. TCU, 27-7. Michael Rocco was 13 of 28 for 126 yards and two picks, and Phillip Sims threw a fourth-quarter touchdown pass for the Cavaliers’ only score of the game.
The rest of the ACC emerged from Week 4 victorious. Virginia Tech (3-1, 1-0) blanked Bowling Green, 37-0, in Blacksburg. After a scoreless first quarter, the Hokies scored 21 in the second and won going away. Logan Thomas threw for two scores and ran for another in the win.
Wake Forest (3-1, 1-1) topped Army, 49-37. North Carolina (2-2, 0-1) defeated East Carolina, 27-6. Duke (3-1) routed Memphis, 38-14. North Carolina State (3-1) scored 42 first-half points en route to a 52-14 victory over The Citadel.
So what does Week 5 have in store? A fairly quiet schedule in comparison to this past week’s slate of games.
Fourth-ranked FSU must avoid the post-Clemson hangover on the road against a talented South Florida team. The Tigers head to New England to take on Boston College. If Georgia Tech can right its ship against Middle Tennessee, it could set up an intriguing Week 6 game at Clemson.
Miami also has a chance to make some noise in advance of Week 6. The ‘Canes host NC State in Week 5 before traveling to South Bend, Ind., for a primetime game against No. 10 Notre Dame.
What do you think of Florida State? Are they legitimate title contenders? Let us know in the comments!