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NC State vs. Florida State- Game Preview

NC State (6-3, 2-3 in ACC) Bio Flash:

Head Coach: Dave Doeren (3rd year, 40-21 record)

Key Players: QB Jacoby Brissett, TE Jaylen Samuels, DL  Mike Rose

Last Year’s Record: 8-5, 3-5 in ACC

Quick Analysis:

NC State, much like their counterparts Florida State, could easily be 8-1. Tough losses to Louisville and Virginia Tech are games they probably should have won. In their third loss, the Wolfpack played Clemson very close, but eventually lost 56-41. NC State is coming off a dominating performance against Boston College, a 24-8 win that wasn’t as close as the score suggests. On offense, Jacoby Brissett does a lot of good things. He loves to spread the ball around, and has only thrown two interceptions this season. One thing to note is that he tends to be inaccurate on deep balls, so expect most of his throws to be less than 15 yards. Though he’s listed as a tight end, Jaylen Smith has become the do-it-all man for the Wolfpack. He lines up out wide, at wing, and even in the backfield. Last week versus Boston College, he lined up in the backfield quite often. This is due to the season-ending injury to runing back Matt Dayes, the Wolfpack’s explosive leading rusher. On defense, NC State has a solid front seven on which they rely on to make offenses one dimensional. Stopping the run is this defenses’ strength, and they hope to bottle up Dalvin Cook on Saturday. The secondary is very weak, however, and if Everett Golson gets in a rhythm, watch out.

4 Things 2 Watch:

1) NC State’s Jaylen Smith

Dave Doeren loves to line up Smith everywhere on offense. With Matt Dayes out for the year, Smith has emerged as the Wolfpack’s primary weapon. Look to see where they line him up on Saturday.

2) Jacoby Brissett in the Pocket

Last year, the ‘Noles had a tough time bringing down Brissett in the pocket. He made exceptional plays by staying upright despite guys hanging on to him. It will be interesting to see how Brissett fairs this year, and expect to see his strength in full effect.

3) Florida State’s Response

Coming off the tough loss last week, it will be interesting to see how this Florida State team responds. Because of the last two years, this team opened the season with lofty expectations, unfair perhaps based on how young the team is. The first quarter against NC State may decide the game, and it is important for the ‘Noles to right the ship and stay focused.

4) Everett Golson

Everett Golson is now fighting for the starting job every week and he knows it. This could effect his play on the field and cause him to take more chances. The last time Golson played aggressive was last year as a member of Notre Dame, where he turned the ball over 22 times. It will be interesting to see which Golson shows up.

Forecast:

NC State has been the Achilles’ heel for Florida State the past five years (2013 season excluded), and always seem to give the ‘Noles trouble. An upset bid was avoided last year, but not in 2012, where the Wolfpack beat the ‘Noles by one point. In both instances Florida State was undefeated and ranked in the top three. This year, the ‘Noles have two losses and are well outside the top 10. With playoff hopes now gone for FSU, pressure has been alleviated. Florida State should come out and play more relaxed football, and coach Jimbo Fisher should play more young guys. The prediction this week is 34-21 Florida State, and it won’t be that close. Expect a quick start to overwhelm the Wolfpack, and Florida State to cruise to a comfortable win.

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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