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Florida State at Georgia Tech – Game Preview

Georgia Tech (2-5, 0-4 in ACC) Bio Flash:

Head Coach: Paul Johnson (8th year, 61-40 record)

Key Players: QB Justin Thomas, FB/BB Patrick Skov, FB/BB Marcus Marshall, CB DJ White

Last Year’s Record: 11-3 (6-2 in ACC)

Quick Analysis:

The wheels have flown off for Paul Johnson’s Yellow Jacket team this year. After starting 2-0, Georgia Tech has lost the last five games in a row. Injuries, tough schedule, and poor play on both the offensive and defensive line are to blame. Tech runs the triple-option attack on offense, which means they run the ball a lot. Getting the Yellow Jackets in third down and long situations is critical for this game. Justin Thomas is completing just 44.4% of his passes, and the offensive line has not given him much time to throw the ball downfield. Where Tech has done some damage on offense is off of play action. While the offense hasn’t been terrible, the defense has been awful. They allowed a great deal of explosive plays to Notre Dame and Clemson, teams similar in talent to Florida State. Notre Dame WR Will Fuller dominated the Yellow Jackets on deep passes and on screens. This bodes well for the ‘Noles, as Coach Jimbo Fisher’s new short passing attack should do some damage.

4 Things 2 Watch:

1) Dalvin Over a Thousand

Dalvin Cook is 45 yards away from back to back 1,000 yard seasons. This would be the first time a ‘Nole accomplishes this feat since Warrick Dunn. Dunn actually topped 1,000 yards three seasons in a row, from 1994 to 1996. Cook, who cannot enter the NFL draft until after next season, will also have the chance to pull off this achievement.

2) Injuries

Georgia Tech has had much worse luck than FSU with injuries, however the Yellow Jackets utilize the chop block on almost every run play. This involves very large offensive linemen lunging at the knees of other very large defensive linemen. This is where injuries could occur for the Seminoles, especially with two ‘Noles linemen (Niles Lawerence-Stample, Josh Sweat) who have had knee problems in the past. In addition, Tech has gotten bit with the injury bug this year and might have 13 contributors out against Florida State. If FSU gets off to another slow start, the Yellow Jackets lack of depth could prove costly towards the end of the game.

3) Deep Shots?

Florida State’s short passing attack worked beautifully in the second half against Louisville, and was efficient enough against Miami. The only thing Coach Fisher hasn’t called is a fake screen with a shot downfield. It makes sense too, with FSU’s best recievers at this point of the season being more of catch and run guys than possession type receivers.

4) Florida State Secondary Shake Up

With the season ending injury to DB Trey Marshall (torn bicep), FSU’s secondary will be shifted around. The two CB positions seemed to be locked in with Marquez White and Jalen Ramsey. That leaves four talented defensive backs to fight for only three positions. True Freshman Derwin James wreaked havoc last week filling in for Trey Marshall at the STAR position and could start. LaMarcus Brutus and Nate Andrews should start at safety, although if Andrews is not 100% (bone bruise), Tyler Hunter could get the nod. Marcus Lewis, another True Freshman, could also see some playing time at safety. Pay attention to the defensive backs Saturday night, because it should feature glimpses of what the future secondary looks like.

Forecast:

There is no way around it, Georgia Tech’s season has been disastrous thus far. The offense has been inefficient, the coaching has been poor, and the defense has looked vulnerable. The ‘Noles, on the other hand, are coming off perhaps their best performance. The second half of the Louisville game saw Florida State put together their best two quarters of the season in all aspects of the game. That momentum should continue into this game, and the prediction for this week is 38-21 ‘Noles. Expect Dalvin Cook to have a monster day and explode for a couple of long touchdown runs. Everett Golson should continue to be efficient in the short passing game with all the athletic receivers the ‘Noles have. Should be an intriguing game under the lights at Bobby Dodd Stadium.

Ben Brewton
Writer at Nole Gameday covering football and basketball. FSU alum. Follow me on twitter (@Ben_Brewton) and we can talk sports. On the 8th day, God created college football.

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