‘Noles climb back to No. 2 after big win against Miami

FSU WR Kelvin Benjamin makes a sideline catch
(Courtesy Seminoles.com)

The Florida State Seminoles are No. 2 in the Bowl Championship Series poll for the second time this season. 

The 'Noles (8-0, 6-0 ACC) have three wins over teams in the Top 25 by a combined score of 155-28. Head coach Jimbo Fisher said his team's big wins are a result of playing well in all three phases of the game.

But the University of Oregon Ducks are still on the 'Noles' heels in the polls, at No. 3.The Ducks (8-0, 4-0 PAC-12) will play the No. 5 Stanford University Cardinal (7-1, 5-1 PAC-12) Thursday night. If Oregon can win, Oregon and Florida State may make their fourth swap at No. 2 in the BCS.

Senior linebacker Telvin Smith said it will be nice to watch the top-five matchup instead of just hearing about it. However, Smith said he would not be rooting for or against either team. He said his focus is on his team. "We're just trying to take it one game at a time," Smith said. "The less we look outside of this team the further we're going to go."

Fisher reiterated that he is not concerned with the polls. His priority is the next game against the 4-5 Wake Forest University Demon Deacons. "We're going to practice the same way for every game, no matter who it is," Fisher said.

Despite the down season, Wake Forest has won four of the last seven games against FSU and leads the ACC in red zone defense. The Demon Deacons' defense features redshirt senior nose guard Nikita Whitlock, who is eleventh in the nation in tackles for loss.

FSU's senior center Bryan Stork is looking forward to the battle in the trenches. "Whitlock is a great player," Stork said. "He was hurt last year. Now he's back and quicker than ever. It's going to be a great matchup. We both respect each other."

Although Fisher is proud of his team's play, he his especially impressed with the play of his young players, redshirt sophomore wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin in particular.

"K.B. can do anything he wants," Fisher said. "He is becoming a complete football player. He has the chance to be a very special player if he continues to grow and keep maturing." Benjamin does not see any way the offense can be slowed down. "We have an O-line that can do it and weapons all the way across the board," Benjamin said.

With help from Benjamin's solid blocking, the 'Noles had 192 yards on the ground. Junior running back Devonta Freeman led the team with 78 yards rushing and two touchdowns.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Jameis Winston threw two interceptions for the first time. However, he completed 21 of his 29 passes for 325 yards and a touchdown. Fisher was proud of Winston's ability to bounce back from bad plays. "The most important play of the game is the next one," Fisher said. "Make the mistake, accept it, learn from it (and) don't repeat it. He does a very good job of that."

The 'Noles look to avoid a letdown on Saturday and remain undefeated.