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Florida State 60 minutes from school record
2014-11-28

The light at the end of the tunnel is nearing with all of Florida State's goals there for the taking.

''I think right now we're at the point where it's the big push, we've just got to stick to the process and stay consistent to what got us here,'' FSU guard Josue Matias said. ''We just can't slack now.

''Sometimes you do think about it, but you've got to stay focused. You can't lose. The main thing now is to not lose track to what we're trying to do.''

Standing in the way Saturday is a rival Florida team with plenty of motivation. The Gators would like to send fired coach Will Muschamp out on a win and Florida was the last team to beat Florida State before it began its 27-game win streak.

''Yeah, it makes us want to end it,'' Florida safety Keanu Neal said. ''Every team that faces it wants to end that streak. But it's another game, we're just going to go out and play like they should.
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Florida State 60 minutes from school record
Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston, left, congratulates Nick O'Leary on a touchdown during

''I mean, every team is beatable. No team is unbeatable.''

The Seminoles have faced heavy criticism in 2014 for not being as dominant as the 2013 title team and their late-game victories, but coach Jimbo Fisher has focused on the bottom line - wins. He understands the team is on the precipice of another school record, but won't let players think about being a part of history.
''It's funny, when you're doing it, you don't even think about it,'' Fisher said. ''That's not the concern. The concern is the next game and how you prepare.

''We always talk about, hey, that was a goal we had, now we've got to take the next step. It's like climbing a mountain. Got to keep that going one step at a time. ... We don't ever say undefeated. Ultimately (the goal) is National Championship. That's always our goal here, and then we build them down, layer them down after that.''

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Some things to watch Saturday when No. 1 Florida State hosts Florida:

QUOTABLE: These are the things said during Florida-Florida State week. ''I've always hated Florida,'' FSU linebacker Reggie Northrup said. ''They recruited me a little bit. They didn't offer me and I wasn't interested. I didn't like Florida from the get-go, so it didn't make a difference. I just don't like Florida. Like their colors, just everything.''

NO PROBLEM: Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston has shined when his team has needed him most. The reigning Heisman winner has completed 65 percent of his passes for 1,275 yards and nine touchdowns while trailing. His quarterback rating is 194.26 when behind by 15-plus points this season. ''He's really good when he knows what he's getting, whether it's pressure or coverage, middle field or split safety,'' Muschamp said. ''I think you've just got to continue to change up and have creative looks that you are playing multiple things out of.''

MUSCHAMP'S FINALE: There's no doubt the Gators love Muschamp and will try to send their fired coach out on a high note in Tallahassee. It went that way in 2004, when former Florida coach Ron Zook won his finale at FSU and got carried off the field. Muschamp scoffed at questions about how things could unfold in Tallahassee, but left tackle D.J. Humphries said players already have talked about the possibility of hoisting Muschamp on their shoulders for a victory lap. ''He wouldn't have no choice. We're too strong for him,'' Humphries said.

NOTHING SPECIAL: Don't look for the underdog Gators to try anything out of the ordinary against their in-state rivals. While Florida has nothing to lose in a mostly miserable season, Muschamp believes his team is capable of pulling off the upset by sticking to the game plan and having some success. So the Gators are likely to try to run, run, run, hoping to keep Winston & Co. on the sideline, play solid defense and win a close game. ''Doing something different, that's how things kind of fall down,'' Humphries said. ''We'll play like we've been coached all season. That's how we've been winning the games that we have won, so we're going to keep doing that.''




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2015-02-15

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CFL: Surprising Argos 10-point dogs at Montreal
2010-07-29

The Toronto Argonauts visit the Montreal Alouettes on Thursday as one of the most surprising stories of the young CFL season. At stake is a chance to claim sole possession of first place in the East Division. That might be the only reason to suspect a competitive game. Otherwise, most strength ratings, trends, and even the oddsmakers’ expect this to be a cakewalk for Montreal. Sportsbook.com lists the Alouettes as 10-point favorites. Can the Argos continue their unexpected surge or are the defending champs ready to put them in their place?

It was just last season when Toronto seemed destined for a lengthy rebuilding process, and an over-matched coaching staff lost the trust of its players and the control of a season. But the Argos have won three of their first four games in 2010 -- matching its total under the short-lived reign of coach Bart Andrus last year.

The Argos have won each of their last three games with a combination of stout defense and stellar special teams play -- the same kind of formula that delivered the franchise its last Grey Cup win, six years ago.

"We have a chance." offensive lineman Taylor Robertson said. "We believe. That's the difference."

Toronto rallied from a double-digit deficit to beat the B.C. Lions last week at Rogers Centre, nine days after squeaking out a 27-24 comeback win against the Calgary Stampeders. The Argos opened their run with a two-point win over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Rookie running back Cory Boyd has established himself as the CFL's leading rusher, Chad Owens has been one of the league's most dynamic return men and only Calgary's defence has forced more turnovers. Boyd will be aiming to become the first Argos running back since Bill Symons in 1968 with four consecutive 100-yard games.

Those successes have helped to mask the struggles of first-year quarterback Cleo Lemon, whose offense ranks dead last in passing yards. Toronto is the only team in the league that has not thrown for at least 1,000 yards yet this season -- managing only 791.

In 2009, no team scored fewer points than the Argos, who were held below 20 points per game, on average. Toronto ranked last in rushing yards and second-last in passing yards. The team finished the season with a 3-15 record, missing the playoffs for the second straight year.

Andrus was fired in December, and the team officially announced it had hired Jim Barker two months later. The long-time CFL executive -- and former Argos head coach -- spent the rest of the winter rebuilding the team.

Toronto's new crew will certainly have a major test against the Alouettes. The defending Grey Cup champions have not lost a game at home since Oct. 29, 2008 and it was almost a year before that, Oct. 20, 2007, when Toronto last beat Montreal.

Since Toronto squeaked out that 16-9 win to salvage one game in the season series, the Argos have lost six straight games to the Alouettes by an average of a little more than 20 points.

According to oddsmakers and this week’s StatFox FoxSheet, bettors should expect much of the same on Thursday night. The StatFox Power Line shows that Montreal should be favored by about 21 points, rather than 10.

The Alouettes come in at 3-1, but unlike Toronto, who is being outscored by 1.3 PPG, are beating their opponents by an average of 8.5 PPG. That leads to a very significant trend going against the Argos:

• TORONTO is 1-8 ATS (-7.8 Units) versus good teams - outscoring opponents by 5+ PPG on the season over the last 3 seasons. The average score was TORONTO 16.7, OPPONENT 34.3 - (Rating = 1*)

Montreal has also been at its best against divisional foes during its recent run of success:

• MONTREAL is 15-6 ATS (+8.4 Units) versus division opponents over the last 3 seasons. The average score was MONTREAL 35.8, OPPONENT 18.9 - (Rating = 1*)

Most handicapping data seems to suggest a blowout, but momentum, confidence, and perhaps a bit of luck could be on the side of Toronto. We’ll see what wins out when the teams kickoff at 7:30 PM ET on Thursday night in Montreal.