The 22nd ranked Florida State Seminoles (5-3, 2-3) hit the road on Saturday to take on the North Carolina State Wolfpack (4-4, 1-3) at 7:00 PM EST.
Florida State – NC State Preview
Florida State lost a heart-breaker to the second ranked Clemson Tigers 37-34. Dalvin Cook rushed for 169 yards and four touchdowns in the losing effort. North Carolina State also fell to a conference opponent last week. The Wolfpack was held to just 31 yards rushing as Boston College snapped its 12-game conference losing streak in a 21-14 win.
Florida State Wins If…
Offensive line play has been a reoccurring theme for the Seminoles’s offense. Dalvin Cook has been doing more than his fair share for Florida State. Through eight games, he has accounted for over 1400 yards of total offense and 12 touchdowns. The struggle for the Seminoles has been keeping Deondre Francois upright. Against Clemson Francois found success targeting Nyqwan Murray. If the offensive line can keep Francois off of his back, then Francois should be able to develop even more chemistry with the talented young receiver.
Defensively, Florida State needs to repeat the performance that Boston College had against the Wolfpack. If the Seminoles can eliminate the run, then their defensive line can focus on rushing the passer. DeMarcus Walker and company reached Deshaun Watson a few times last week. Keeping up that pressure should lead to more mistakes for Florida State’s opportunistic secondary to capitalize on.
North Carolina State Wins If…
North Carolina must run for than 31 yards if it wants any shot at winning. The Wolfpack offense also must avoid third and long situations. Easier third downs give the Wolfpack the opportunity to speed up its offense. Florida State’s defense struggles with a quicker tempo, and positive gains on first down are what allow for offenses to dictate that kind of pacing.
On the other side of the ball, the Wolfpack defense needs to win the point of attack. Doing so will prevent Cook from breaking a long run and keep Francois rattled when the Seminoles drop back to pass.
On paper, Florida State should have no problems putting North Carolina State away. Expect another big performance from Cook as he inches closer to becoming the Seminoles’ all-time leading rusher. Francois should be able to build on his connection with Murray in route to an easy win.
FSU – 45 NCST – 17