TALLAHASSEE -- The Jameis Winston Show is going on the road this week, and Boston College comes off a bye week bracing for its biggest challenge of the season.
Florida State (3-0, 1-0) has outscored Pitt, Nevada and Bethune-Cookman a combined 157-26 in three wins to open the season, while steadily climbing the Top 25 rankings. So that partly explains why FSU enters Saturday's game as 21-point road favorites, despite the Eagles boasting the ACC's top running back in Andre Williams.
"They like to run and we like to hit," Seminoles defensive back Terrance Brooks said with a smile. "So we'll see how that turns out."
The 12th meeting in program history Saturday will mark Florida State's second of two ACC road games to begin the season. But regardless of venue or opponent so far, the Seminoles don't seem be fearing anyone.
At an average of 52.3 points per game, FSU has the nation's 5th-ranked scoring offense -- an offense that put up 99 unanswered points from the second quarter against Nevada until the third quarter of last week's 54-6 win against Bethune-Cookman -- while its 7th-ranked overall defense is just as good, allowing 251 yards a game, while giving up nine total points all season in the second half.
That doesn't bode well for an Eagles team that ranks 106th and 66th, respectively, in those same categories. Especially when their offense managed just 184 yards against USC, and BC's defense gave up 521 to an underachieving Trojans team that isn't ranked in the Top 25.
But the Eagles do have Williams, the ACC's leading rusher who's averaging 118 yards a game (15th-best in the nation). That alone is enough to give FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher reason to be wary of a Boston College team that's under the leadership of a man Fisher knows well from his days in the SEC at LSU: first-year coach Steve Addazio, a former assistant coach at Florida who won two national championships with the Gators.
"They've changed defensively and they've changed on offense. It's not like playing them a year ago. You can go back and evaluate the players, but not the scheme ... Boston College, I think is going to be an outstanding team," Fisher said of the Eagles, who won their ACC opener with a 24-10 whipping of Wake Forest in Week 2. "They had a week off to prepare well. Steve does a great job coaching, offense (and) defense. They're very physical on offense - very good offensive line. Probably one of the best ones we've seen.
"(And) Andre Williams is averaging over 100 yards a game. He is very physical, big, 230-pound guy that breaks tackles (and is very) strong."
Williams, a Doak Walker Award nominee, ran all over the Demon Deacons for a career-high 204 yards, and the senior will do his best Saturday to help BC end a three-game losing streak to the Seminoles, who rolled to the series' biggest win in 11 total meetings last season with a 51-7 demolition in Tallahassee.
FSU leads the all-time series 7-4, and Addazio knows pulling that mark to 7-5 may be the toughest task he'll ask his team to take on all year.
"They are 3-0. They've beaten Pittsburgh, Nevada and Bethune-Cookman, and they are ranked No. 8 in the nation. That speaks for itself," Addazio said, before singling out Winston. "The guy is a really good football player. He throws it, he sees it, he can break tackles, he's a competitor and he seems completely unfazed by whatever stage he's on."
Winston was unflappable in his first two career starts, going 40-for-45 for 570 yards and six passing scores and two more rushing.
But it appears there is one thing that can slow FSU's blossoming Heisman candidate down: Mother Nature. In wet conditions last Saturday against Bethune-Cookman, Winston was very un-Winston-like, going 10-for-19 for 148 yards. And he was quick to blame himself for any mistakes that'd be showing up in the film room this week.
"Everything was going our way (in that game)," Winston said. "I was making bad decisions out there, and I was just so unfocused."
Good thing FSU's defense is locked in.
The Seminoles' first-team unit still hasn't allowed a 100-yard rusher. And although Nevada running back Chris Solomon tallied 108 yards in FSU's 62-7 rout in Week 3, a good chunk of that came in the third and fourth quarters once the Seminoles were rolling and began subbing heavily.
"We'll have our hands full. We have a game in the league, and it's always critical to win on the road," Fisher said. "You got to beat a good football team. We need to step up and bring our 'A' game."
Notes: The re-emergence of senior DT Jacobbi McDaniel was a welcome sign in Tallahassee. McDaniel missed nearly two years of football after suffering a season-ending ankle injury midway through 2011 and redshirting last year. The 6-5, 295-pound big man's nine total tackles so far isn't just what Fisher is so happy to see -- it's the fact McDaniel's actually on the field again. "He's just now getting back into playing. That's the thing you forget, now you're healthy, but you haven't played in so long. You've got to get back out there and like I say, knock the cobwebs off," Fisher said of McDaniel. "I've been very pleased with his progress and it's great to have him out there because it's a long season and he's a very good football player and he's a great team leader." ... Florida State was without two defensive starters last week when sophomore defensive tackle Eddie Goldman and senior linebacker Christian Jones were both suspended for the game against Bethune-Cookman for violating a team rule. Fisher confirmed Monday that both would return to the starting lineup against Boston College. ... Sophomore defensive end Mario Edwards Jr,, the nation's top DE end recruit out of high school two years ago, was held out of last week's game while he had screws and a plate inserted in his hand, but he is expected to practice with a cast on his right hand this week and could start against Boston College, Fisher said Monday.