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FSU keys to victory . . .

By BRIAN LANDMAN

© St. Petersburg Times, published November 18, 2000


1. RED (ZONE) MEANS GO: The Seminoles have amassed 500 yards in an unprecedented 10 straight games and lead the nation in total offense (558.6 yards), but more important, they have scored on 26 of 30 trips inside the opponents' 20-yard line in the last five games (20 touchdowns and six field goals). In their lone loss, at Miami on Oct. 7, they were 2 of 6 in the red zone.

2. RUSH TO JUDGMENT: In the last 12 meetings, the team that has gained more rushing yards has won 10 times. The problem for FSU is that top tailback Travis Minor is nursing a sprained ankle, backups Jeff Chaney (knee) and Davy Ford (broken collarbone) are out and fourth-stringer Greg Jones has a sprained ankle. Former tailback turned receiver Nick Maddox and fullback William McCray have worked in the backfield.

3. PRESSURE THE QUARTERBACK: Senior defensive end Jamal Reynolds, a finalist for the Lombardi Award, leads the ACC with 12 sacks and also has forced four fumbles and has two safeties. Fellow senior end David Warren is finally living up to lofty expectations with eight sacks. In recent meetings, the team that has had the best pass rush has won.

4. HANG ONTO THE BALL: The Seminoles haven't committed many turnovers this season (12 interceptions, seven fumbles), but Florida leads the nation in turnover margin after forcing 34 turnovers (20 interceptions, 14 fumbles). Remember how last year's game in Gainesville turned on Bennie Alexander's interception return?

5. NO MORE WIDE RIGHTS: This series hasn't been punctuated by missed field goals as FSU-Miami has, but given what's happened this season don't rule it out. Even though freshman Brett Cimorelli, the two-sport star from Zephyrhills, is 0-for-2 from outside the 40, he has looked solid; he has made 18 straight extra points.

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