Seminoles stay focused, eye Gators next

Since losing to NC State, EJ Manuel and the Seminoles have won five straight games.
© Rob Carr/Getty Images

By Heather Dinich |

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- No. 10 Florida State was just minutes removed from clinching a share of the Atlantic Division title with a 41-14 win over Maryland on Saturday when the Seminoles immediately turned their attention to rival Florida.

Florida State (10-1, 7-1 ACC) guaranteed itself a spot in the Dec. 1 Dr Pepper ACC Championship Game, but the Noles aren't done yet. "It's a great accomplishment, but I think right now we're still focused knowing that we have more games to win," said Florida State quarterback EJ Manuel. "I think we'll be able to celebrate everything at the end of the year. It's a great accomplishment, but we're looking to next week."

FSU enters its final regular-season game having won five straight since its stunning Oct. 6 loss at NC State. That loss knocked the Noles down but not out. Saturday's relatively easy win over the Terps assured FSU its second Atlantic Division title in three seasons under coach Jimbo Fisher and gave the program its first 10-win regular season since 2003.

Florida State's defense dominated an injury-laden Maryland offense, holding the Terps to just 170 total yards. The Seminoles also got their ground game going again. After being held to minus-15 yards rushing at Virginia Tech, the Noles racked up 237 yards against the Terps. "We're 10-1, and I'm very proud of our kids," Fisher said. "First goal was to win the division, now we have to play the Florida game, and then we'll get in the ACC championship game and see where that goes. Still got a lot of work to do."

Florida State will face Miami or Georgia Tech in the ACC title game. Receiver Kenny Shaw said his teammates aren't even thinking about the championship game right now. "We're very excited," he said of winning the division. "That's one of our goals, but then again, we've got this game coming up [next week] against our rival, Florida. We're going to focus on that first, and then we can go up to Charlotte. This has been one of our goals since camp time."


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