TALLAHASSEE -- As Florida State prepares for its game against Bethune-Cookman, coach Jimbo Fisher is well aware of the fact that despite being a Football Championship Subdivision opponent the Wildcats could still give the Seminoles fits if not taken seriously.
Weve got a great opponent coming up this week in Bethune, Fisher said. Theyre 3-0 and averaging 38 points a game and giving up nine, thats less than we are. They went out and beat FIU 34-13 and handled them very easily.
As long as the Seminoles take a business-like approach Saturday night, they have the Wildcats outclassed in talent.
Coach Fisher always tells us, were not looking at our opponent, were facing ourselves. I believe if we go out there and do what we have to do, we will be successful, redshirt freshman quarterback Jameis Winston said. Theyre a great team, theyre gritty, theyre fast, athletic and they have a lot to prove. But were Florida State, we got to keep playing Florida State football and keep grinding no matter who were playing.
FSU has had little trouble scoring so far this season. Bethune-Cookman has given up fewer than 10 points per game this season, but the Wildcats have also yet to face an offense with the firepower of FSU.
Winston has one more touchdown pass than incompletion this season. He enters Saturday 40-for-45 passing for 570 yards and six touchdown passes. Just two of his passes have hit the ground two incompletions were caught along the sideline and one was intercepted.
Last week, after tossing that interception (his only one this season), Winston responded by going 13 for 13 for 196 yards and two touchdowns before making a third-quarter exit.
This week, with the Wildcats likely looking to shut down the Seminoles rushing attack, Winston could be looking at a big night.
They play a lot of Cover 4, and thats going to give us some big-shot opportunities, Winston said.
Bethune will likely be trying to jam the box after the Seminoles ran for 377 yards last weekend against Nevada. Both Karlos Williams and Devonta Freeman, a former Miami Central High star, eclipsed 100 yards, and six Seminoles scored touchdowns on the ground. This week, with starting right guard Tre Jackson back in the lineup, the running game could be even stronger for FSU.
Defensively, the Seminoles will be without two starters, sophomore defensive end Eddie Goldman and senior linebacker Christian Jones. Both are suspended for breaking undisclosed team rules. Defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. will also miss this game after having surgery on his hand last week.
That could be bad news for an FSU defense that is still struggling to adjust to new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitts complicated system.
The Seminoles should be able to handle themselves Saturday, but dont be surprised if the Wildcats give them a game.
Theyre a good football team, Fisher said. Theyve done a great job, [their] coach has done a tremendous job and theyve got athletes, and when you see the film, theyre a very well-coached football team.