TALLAHASSEE — North Carolina State would normally be the worrisome trap game for third-ranked Florida State — the matchup nestled in between No. 9 Clemson and No. 7 Miami.
The Seminoles (6-0, 4-0 ACC), however, have been here before.
The Wolfpack have won two of three games against Florida State since Jimbo Fisher took over the program, including a 17-16 upset in 2012 after Florida State rose to No. 3 in the nation. That loss immediately ended any national championship hopes for the Seminoles.
N.C. State (3-3, 0-3) also has won the past four times it has squared off against a ranked Florida State team.
It all adds up to a focused group of Seminoles.
FSU quarterback Jameis Winston said he spoke with last year’s quarterback EJ Manuel, now with the Buffalo Bills.
“EJ said, ‘Man, don’t let that happen again,’ ” Winston said. “ ‘Get those boys straight.’
“I was like, ‘EJ, I got you.’ ... We’re not even thinking about being let down.”
N.C. State’s primary objective will be to slow another Heisman Trophy candidate quarterback. The Wolfpack had some success getting pressure on Clemson’s Tajh Boyd in a 26-14 loss.
Coach Dave Doeren hopes the Wolfpack can do that against Winston, while reducing the number of big plays by limiting FSU’s run after the catch.
“Obviously in order to get a quarterback out of rhythm, there’s a couple of things that have to happen,” Doeren said. “There’s pressure that has to be applied, whether it’s mental pressure through different looks you can give or physical pressure by hitting him and hopefully sacking him, forcing either errant throws for incompletions or poor throws for interceptions.
“In order to be in the game with them we have to do that.”