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Could FSU ride its momentum to win in Orange Bowl game?

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Before you convince yourself how big a favorite sixth-ranked Michigan is over FSU in Friday night’s Orange Bowl, perhaps you should re-consider the last month.

You know, when FSU was 4-0.

You know, when Michigan was 2-2.

Perhaps more things than momentum will matter when the two clash. But FSU has played its best football, especially on defense. Michigan has played well, too, especially in a double-overtime loss to Ohio State, but still, the Wolverines have lost two games in late November.

Still, Michigan ranks as the second-stingiest defense in America, behind Alabama, which is going to make it tough for FSU’s Dalvin Cook and Deondre Francois. FSU has climbed up to a respectable 29th in defense, but tough games against Louisville, USF and Clemson still hold the Seminoles down some.

One of the things that gives hope to FSU is the steady progression of quarterback Francois, only a freshman. He leads the Seminoles’ 24th-ranked offense (Michigan is 46th).

“To be honest with you, when Deondre came in and played, it was just as if he was an experienced quarterback,” FSU wide receiver Travis Rudolph told the Tallahassee Democrat.

“I mean, you guys probably think, ‘Oh, he’s just a redshirt freshman,’ but I feel like he played at the level of a junior or a senior.”

Francois came into the season wanting to earn the respect of his teammates and coaches.

“(I wanted) to become a better player each week,” Francois said.

“Just to grow. On the field and off the field. Basically, to get my teammates to trust me, to become a better leader, and just fight for my team.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit

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