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September 10, 2011
Saturday certainly wasn't the venue for Florida State to sway pollsters, prove national title worth or make a statement.
But at the least, Saturday's game against lowly Charleston Southern was an opportunity to shake rust and stretch limbs in advance of next week's showdown with top-ranked Oklahoma.
Wasting no time in clearing the way for the hype and rhetoric of Oklahoma week, the Seminoles pounced the Division I-AA Buccaneers on the way to a 62-10 win at Doak Campbell Stadium.
"We went out and did what we were supposed to do," FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said. "Didn't play perfect but we cleaned some things up."
Florida State (2-0) racked up 647 total yards on the night - including 477 through the air - while holding CSU to just 84. The yardage onslaught began quickly as quarterback EJ Manuel found wide open receiver Rodney Smith on a 45-yard strike just 1:20 into the contest. Things continued to snowball as Florida State took a 34-0 lead at the half.
"Any team you play, you always want to go out there and make a statement, put some points on the board," said Manuel, who finished 24-of-35 passing for 329 yards and four touchdowns.
Things didn't slow down when the starters took a seat late in the third quarter. Backup quarterback Clint Trickett went 6-of-7 passing for 148 yards with two passing touchdowns and a rushing score in 19 minutes of action. He found freshman receiver Rashad Greene on both TD passes, giving the Trickett-Greene connection three total touchdowns in the first two games.
Florida State would total 29 first downs to CSU's three. The Buccaneers' only touchdown came on the heels of Florida State's biggest mistake - CSU picked off Manuel in the third quarter and returned it to FSU's 3-yard line before scoring on the ensuing play.
Save a fourth-quarter field goal, the score was an undeserving blemish on another strong defensive performance. CSU was the first FSU opponent to be held to fewer than 100 total yards in six years; the Citadel tallied 91 total yards in Tallahassee in 2005.
"We played well - kind of angry that they scored on us, but we can prevent that from happening next time," defensive end Brandon Jenkins said. "We are just going to work hard and get ready for next week."
By the time the postgame news conference, the focus was gone from the I-AA drubbing and turned squarely on the Sooners.
"These are the games that you go through two-a-days for; go through camp, the offseason," safety Lamarcus Joyner said. "This is the test, and I mean it's the third test but truly its the first big test. This is the game you want to live for."
"Our now is Oklahoma," Fisher said. "From right now until the end of Saturday night is Oklahoma."