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Noles Set To Battle Bulls In Tampa

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E.J. Manuel

TALLAHASSEE, FL – SEPTEMBER 22: EJ Manuel #3 of the Florida State Seminoles during their game at Doak Campbell Stadium on September 22, 2012 in Tallahassee, Florida. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

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TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami) – It’s been three years since a freshman quarterback named B.J. Daniels led South Florida to a 17-7 upset of the Florida State Seminoles. But FSU hasn’t forgotten and with a top five ranking this year and coming off a victory of then tenth-ranked Clemson, FSU is looking for revenge Saturday.

“It was a bad feeling,” senior quarterback E.J. Manuel said. “We haven’t forgotten it at all.”

FSU will travel to USF in Tampa this weekend to battle the Bulls. It’s the first road game of the year for the Seminoles who are currently 4-0 and ranked fourth in the nation.

Manuel remembers watching from the sideline as Daniels outplayed almost the entire Florida State defense three years ago. Manuel was then an understudy to Christian Ponder. But now it’s Manuel’s team.

The senior Florida State quarterback threw for 380 yards and ran for another 102 yards against Clemson last Saturday. It was Manuel’s coming out party and quickly vaulted himself into the discussion for the Heisman Trophy.

It was a game for Manuel that was reminiscent of Daniels’ game against FSU when he threw for 215 yards, two touchdowns, and ran for another 126 yards.

“He’s a phenomenal athlete,” FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher said of Daniels. Fisher, who was then FSU’s offensive coordinator, said, “No play is ever dead,” when Daniels has the ball.

Manuel bided his time while at FSU and it’s paid off gangbusters for him this year. He’s completing 67.2 percent of his passes for his career, which would be the best in ACC history.

“It’s what you do to win games whether you’re having a great game or having a bad game,” Manuel said. “How to put your team in situations to win games. That’s what I want to do.”

Considering Manuel is 11-1 in his last 12 starts and 17-4 overall as a starter, the 6’5” quarterback has been doing plenty to help win games. His game against Clemson was the first time a FSU quarterback had thrown for 300 yards and run for 100 yards since Charlie Ward in 1992.

While head coach Jimbo Fisher doesn’t talk Heisman, Manuel wouldn’t mind being mentioned in the same conversation as Ward and FSU’s other Heisman winner, Chris Weinke.

“When they talk about the great players in college football, they were consistent,” Manuel said.

Florida State’s defense took some lumps last Saturday against Clemson, but still comes into the game giving up just 10 points and 184 yards of total defense per game on the season.

The FSU vs. USF game is set for a 6 p.m. kickoff and can be seen on ESPN.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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