Written by Michael Hull
Fresh off of a bye week, the Florida State Seminoles come back to Doak Campbell Stadium trying to right the ship on what has been a rocky start to the season to put it nicely. FSU was riding a two-game winning streak, before losing a heartbreaker to Miami two weeks ago. At 3-3 on the season, this is a make or break game for the Seminoles, especially with powerhouse Clemson, and three other ranked opponents coming up on the schedule.
The key for FSU will be getting quarterback Deondre Francois going early and keeping him upright. The redshirt junior has just over 1,500 yards passing so far, this season and 11 touchdowns. However, they have lost every game this season in which Francois does not throw for over 290 yards and at least two touchdowns. Getting him in the groove early is absolutely imperative to this team’s success. Just as important is the play of the offensive line. Florida State’s offensive line has been one of the most inconsistent in the country this year. They are tied for 109th in FBS for sacks allowed, giving up 18 in just six games. That puts them on par with schools such as Baylor, Eastern Michigan and Texas State. They have not been much better run-blocking wise either. According to Football Outsiders, 27.5% of the runs by FSU have been stopped at or behind the line of scrimmage. While they are going up against a relatively weak Wake defense, the offensive line has to step in this game, or else FSU could be looking at another mark in the loss column come Saturday night.
As for Wake Forest, they come into this matchup at 3-3 as well and are looking to rebound after getting blown out by Clemson on October 6th. The key for the Demon Deacons has to be putting points up in bunches. They are averaging 32.3 points per game, but are giving up over 36 points per game. The defense has been exposed constantly thus far, most recently given up 63 points to Trevor Lawrence and the aforementioned Tigers. Wake needs to score quickly and often to give themselves a chance in what is forecasting as a shootout. FSU’s pass defense can be taken advantage of and has been this season, as they have given up 271 yards per game through the air, 110th in the nation. Wake’s quarterback Sam Hartman is averaging right around 210 yards per game throwing the ball and should have a chance to inflate those numbers on Saturday. If the Demon Deacons can keep pace with the FSU offensive attack, then they could be able to pull off the victory in a game that they opened as 10.5 point underdogs.
Florida State and Wake Forest will kickoff from Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, FL at 3:30 ET.