Noles, Jackets Focus on Title Bout
By Carlos Pineda
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Coming off of demoralizing losses to their respective rivals, Florida State and Georgia Tech now turn their attention to the ACC Championship Game in Charlotte.
Florida State was hopeful as it entered its final game of the season.
With little love coming from the BCS computers after an unexpected loss to NC State in October, it was a chance for the Seminoles to put to rest talks of their "weak" schedule. But that fell by the wayside when archrival Florida outscored the Noles 24-6 in the fourth quarter to secure a 37-26 win in Doak Campbell Stadium.
Despite the gut-wrenching loss, FSU (10-2) has the opportunity to wipe the sour taste from its mouth on Saturday when it plays Georgia Tech for the ACC championship.
"It's something we've just got to snap out of it," FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said of Saturday's loss. "You understand your goals and your vision, and one of them is a conference championship with a BCS berth on the line... They'll be down today.
"But tomorrow when we get ready and juiced up, we've got to be ready to roll and get it done."
A preseason favorite to hoist the crystal ball, the Seminoles are not only playing for their first league title since 2005, but also for their first BCS appearance since a 2006 Orange Bowl matchup against Penn State.
Their opponent may have "backed into" the title game, but the Yellow Jackets' triple option offense is always challenging for any foe. Georgia Tech (6-6) received its nod last Monday after Miami announced it was once again self imposing a postseason ban.
Like FSU, Georgia Tech enters this contest having lost to its major rival, Georgia by a 42-10 margin.
"You hope that we'll bounce back," Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson said. "I'm sure Florida State is fighting a little bit of the same thing with their game with Florida."
Unfortunately for the Noles, they will be without senior defensive end Cornellius "Tank" Carradine, who tore his ACL in the fourth quarter of the Florida game Saturday and will miss the final two games. Carradine led the team with 80 tackles.
"He was sad," Fisher said Sunday. "A very sad moment."
The good news for the 13th-ranked Seminoles is that quarterback E.J. Manuel "will be ready" to compete in Charlotte, Fisher said. Manuel took a vicious hit early in the fourth quarter that looked to have knocked the wind out of him.
With its hopes of playing for the BCS national championship squandered, FSU can still make its trip to Miami for the Orange Bowl on New Year's Day with a win.