RALEIGH — N.C. State has a history of giving Florida State trouble, especially when the Seminoles are ranked among the Top 25.
Florida State also has a recent history of stumbling in ACC play, just when it looked like the Seminoles were on their way to rekindling their glory days from the 1990s.
If any of that helps N.C. State on Saturday at No.3 Florida State, first-year coach Dave Doeren is all for it, but he doesnt expect the Seminoles to be flat after a dominant 51-14 win Saturday at then-No.3 Clemson.
That would be great, wouldnt it? Doeren said when asked about the possibility of a letdown by the Seminoles (6-0).
If they dont play well, that would be great. But Im anticipating a great Florida State team. Every game we have on tape is them dominating people.
While the Seminoles carved up Clemson, the Wolfpack (3-3, 0-3) had the week off. The time helped heal some injuries, Doeren said, and he expects quarterback Brandon Mitchell to make his first start since the season opener.
Some other key parts should be back, too, Doeren said. Theres also the matter of N.C. States recent success against the Seminoles.
The past four times the teams have played when Florida State was ranked, the Wolfpack has won. N.C. State beat the No. 3 Seminoles last year, 17-16 in Raleigh; No. 16 Florida State in 2010, 28-24 in Raleigh; No. 17 Florida State in 2006, 24-20 in Raleigh, and the No. 9 Seminoles in 2005, 20-15 in Tallahassee.
Last years win, after trailing 16-0 during the second half, was the high-water mark of Tom OBriens final season. It was the only ACC loss for the Seminoles, who went on to win the conference title and the Orange Bowl.
While many of the parts have changed, Doeren said there is a benefit to the Wolfpacks track record vs. Florida State.
The good thing is our players who have played against them have played well against them, Doeren said. We know if we do things right, we have a chance to win this football game.
The Seminoles have been susceptible to an ACC upset during recent years. They finished 10-4 in 2010 but lost to N.C. State and North Carolina.
The Seminoles went 9-4 in 2011 and lost at Wake Forest and at home to Virginia. Last year, the Seminoles took themselves out of the Bowl Championship Series title hunt with an October at N.C. State after a 5-0 start.
Florida State has been more dominant in its 6-0 start this season than it has been at any point under fourth-year coach Jimbo Fisher. The Seminoles rank third in the NCAA in scoring offense (53.2 points per game) and third in scoring defense (12.3 points per game).
Quarterback Jameis Winston ranks second in the NCAA in passing efficiency, with a 210.4 rating, and has thrown for 20 touchdowns.
N.C. State, meanwhile, has lost three straight ACC games, including a 24-10 home decision to Syracuse on Oct. 12.
Regardless of where people may or may not think we are as a program, these are the kind of things you live to play and coach for, in these kinds of games, Doeren said.
The expected return of Mitchell should help a Wolfpack offense which has averaged only 12.3 points per ACC game.
Mitchell, a graduate transfer from Arkansas, broke a bone in his left foot during the first quarter of the first game of the season. He has missed five games but returned to practice two weeks ago.
Mitchell said he has been able to make it through practice without pain. He said he is anxious to see how his foot will hold up in game action but said he circled the Florida State game as his target return date after being hurt Aug. 31 and having surgery the next day.
Ive been preparing for this moment and I think Im ready for it, said Mitchell, who has completed three of three passes on the season for 93 yards. When the moment presents itself, I just have to seize it.
Mitchell should have help on offense. Receiver Rashard Smith, who missed the Syracuse game with a knee sprain, is expected to play Saturday. Tackle Joe Thuney, who missed the second half of the Syracuse game, and cornerback Jack Tocho, who also missed the second half against the Orange, both are expected to play, according to Doeren.