Tigers have a strong start to the year, says coach Nick Riewoldt



— A strong start in the home opener against the Florida State Seminoles on Saturday has put the Tigers on the path to a 10-0 record and a bye to the BCS National Championship.

The Tigers are 6-0 in games decided by seven points or fewer in their last nine games, and they’re currently 10-1 at home against ranked opponents.

The win over the Seminoles marked the first of two straight for the Tigers, who have won six of their last seven games.

They’ve won six straight at home, which is a franchise record.

It was the Tigers’ fourth straight win and third straight in a row for quarterback Connor Cook.

The former No. 2 overall pick completed 26 of 30 passes for 324 yards and three touchdowns, including a 40-yarder to Tyler Boyd in the third quarter.

The first-round pick also rushed for 79 yards and one touchdown on 15 carries in the win.

It marked the third consecutive game for the Seminole defense, which has allowed just 10.3 points per game in its last seven, which includes a 3-0 start to 2017.

The Seminoles have allowed just 11.7 points per contest in their past five games.

Riewoldts last two home games were against Notre Dame and LSU.

He had four touchdown passes and no interceptions in that game.

He’s passing for 5,084 yards with 21 touchdowns and 13 interceptions on the season.

Rookies QB Jameis Winston and tight end Dwayne Allen both were named to the All-ACC team.

Rookie WR Jamari Staples was also named to that list.

Freshman RB Jordan Scarlett was also honored.

Florida State quarterback Connor Moore and running back Christian McCaffrey both ran for 100 yards and two touchdowns.

The two-time All-America was 11-of-17 passing for 209 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.

McCarthy is completing 58.6 percent of his passes with eight touchdowns and two picks in his last four games.

The sophomore quarterback is 9-of_12 passing for 98 yards and a touchdown against the Seminas.

Rounding out the All 10 players on the team are WR Rashard Higgins, WR Marquez White, WR Tre McBride, RB Tevin Coleman, RB Zach Chiriches, QB Ryan Burns, TE Devin Ross, RB Mike Davis, TE Michael Williams, LB Michael Williams and DB Kiehl Faehrlein.

The Tigers have also added DE/OLB Chris Jones and CB Kyle Wilson.

Raleigh, N.C. native Cooper Kupp leads the ACC in rushing (118.8), passing yards (4,547) and touchdown passes (35).

He has rushed for more than 100 yards in seven straight games.

He was the starter in last week’s win over Florida State, rushing for a career-high 200 yards.

Kupp has rushed 19 times for 99 yards and four touchdowns this season.

He ranks second in the ACC with 11 touchdown passes.

Roughly two-thirds of Carolina’s games this season have been decided by four points or less.

The Tar Heels have won five straight at the Carolina Panthers, and the team has outscored opponents by 24 points in those games.

The Panthers’ defense has been among the worst in the league at allowing opponents to score points of more than 40 yards, and Carolina has given up just one touchdown to the opposition.

Carolina’s defense has allowed 28 points or more in five straight games, including three of six in the last five.

The Tar Heel offense is averaging 37.8 points per outing and averaging 39.2 points per home game.

The Panthers rank second in scoring defense with 35.2 per game.

Carolina has also allowed a touchdown on just 6.7 percent of its possessions.

The game was played at the Bank of America Stadium in Raleigh, N: Carolina has won nine straight games at home since 2010.

They have won three straight against ACC opponents, with wins over Duke and Virginia Tech in the 2013 season opener.

The last time Carolina won seven straight home games was the 2015 season.

Florida is 3-2 in games in which the teams lead at halftime.

The Gators are 8-2 all-time against the ACC.

The teams meet again on Dec. 4 at home.

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