Aerial assault could result in long afternoon
TALLAHASSEE - It's probably a good thing that today's game between North Carolina State and Florida State starts at noon. It just might finish before dark. In a battle between two schools fighting to stay out of the cellar in the ACC's Atlantic Division, about the only thing for certain is that the ball will be in the air often. Add TV timeouts and video reviews on disputed calls and a four-hour game is nearly assured. "If you look at it on paper, it looks like a shootout," Florida State coach Bobby Bowden said this week. "I've never liked to approach a season where the only way you're going to win is outscoring people."But that's how the Seminoles (3-4, 1-3) have won, and lost, this season. They won 54-28 at BYU and 30-27 at North Carolina, but lost a pair of wild affairs at home - 49-44 to Georgia Tech and 38-34 to Miami. Quarterbacks Christian Ponder of Florida State and the Wolfpack's Russell Wilson have thrown 482 passes between them this season, producing big yardage, lots of first downs and plenty of points. It's the first downs and 160 incompletions between the two that stops the game clock. The teams are averaging more than 60 points combined per game and 800 yards of offense. That in itself could make for a long afternoon. "We've been giving up a lot of yards in the secondary, but you still want people to throw the ball," N.C. State cornerback DeAndre Morgan said. Wolfpack coach Tom O'Brien isn't so sure. "Ponder's probably down there salivating about the opportunity to throw against us," said O'Brien, whose team is giving up just under 44 points a game in league play. Ponder, who passed for 754 yards and eight touchdowns while completing almost 80 percent of his attempts the last two games. "We have to play better pass defense," O'Brien said. "The best thing we can do is try not to give up the big play."