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Game Preview: Florida State vs Wake Forest

Wake Forest (5-1) Bio Flash:

Head Coach: Dave Clawson

Last Year’s Record: 3-9, (1-7 in ACC)

Key Players: DE Duke Ejiofor, QB John Wolford, RB Cade Carney, LB Marquel Lee

Game Introduction:

The Florida State Seminoles outlasted in-state rival Miami thanks to a blocked extra point, and look to build on that momentum this week against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons. The Deacons have had a very impressive year so far under Head Coach Dave Clawson, and look to upset the Seminoles after dismantling Syracuse 28-9 last week. The game will kickoff at 3:30 and be aired on ESPN.

Headlines:

Florida State finds their groove on defense

The Seminoles defense has been much maligned in 2016, but the criticism has legitimacy: The ‘Noles have been giving up an average of 32.7 points per game, which ranks 96th in the country. Against Miami, however, they held the Canes to 19 points and snagged a key interception in the end zone. The ‘Noles also were able to get enormous pressure on Miami QB Brad Kayaa, sacking him a few times. To see what type of energy the Seminoles come out with Saturday on defense will be interesting.

Tarvarus McFadden is becoming the ball hawk FSU has been missing

McFadden has now intercepted the ball four times, which is tied for first in the country. While he may blow some coverage here and there, he has been fantastic at attacking the ball. The past two years Florida State has not been able to find a consistent play-maker on defense in regards to forcing turnovers. Sure, Jalen Ramsey and Derwin James were and have been phenomenal, but they weren’t/aren’t intercepting passes at the rate McFadden has been. And McFadden has been doing this against quality quarterbacks, and he’s only a sophomore. He still has time to grow and learn the position. The future is definitely bright for McFadden moving forward.

Dalvin Cook leads the power-5 in rushing

The king is back on his throne. After a lackluster start to the 2016 season, Dalvin Cook has proven once again why he is so good. He has 785 yards to go along with 7 rushing touchdowns. And Cook hasn’t only been a threat on the ground, as he’s second on the team with 20 receptions for 345 yards and a touchdown. Look for Cook to get plenty of touches again on Saturday, against a very solid Wake Forest defense.

Burning Questions:

Can Florida State’s offensive line block Duke Ejiofor?

In case you didnt know, Wake Forest has a very good edge rusher in Duke Ejiofor. He’s tied with a guy named DeMarcus Walker for sacks this year, which is tied for fourth in the country. Ejiofor has 11 sacks in his last 13 games, and has been a nuisance for opposing offenses. If Florida State wants to move the ball, the offensive line is going to have to block well, and that starts with slowing down Ejiofor.

Has Ermon Lane found a home at safety?

Some fans were scratching their heads when it was announced that WR Ermon Lane was switching positions to safety after the Louisville game. After a promising freshman year at WR, Lane just couldn’t get in a groove in 2015 and was not getting play time in 2016. So, Lane moved to safety and after playing a substantial amount of time against Miami  it looks like he may be there to stay. He had four tackles, was tremendous in run support, and looked very comfortable in coverage considering it was his first game back there. If Lane can continue to make strides at safety, the ‘Noles will have a new menacing 6’3 defensive back with wide receiver instincts. Lane should get a lot of play time against Wake Forest because of the injury to Nate Andrews, so keep an eye on him in the secondary.

Forecast:

The Demon Deacons is not a team to take lightly. They started off the year 4-0, notching impressive wins over Duke and at Indiana. Wake Forest’s lone loss came on the road against NC State, their second tough road game in a row. As aforementioned, Duke Ejiofor is a legit edge rusher and will be a huge X-factor in this game. This offensive line has to take care of Ejiofor and this stout Wake Forest front seven if they want to open up holes for Cook. On the flip side of the ball, Wake Forest’s offense has struggled mightily this year. They rank 110th in total offense, and starting QB John Wolford has a total QBR of 59.3. Deondre Francois’ QBR is 74.1, for comparison purposes. This will be another close game for the Seminoles, as the Demon Deacons have come a long way as a program. Although Wake Forest is finally gelling this year, the talent disparities between Wake Forest and Florida State give the ‘Noles a huge advantage. And the momentum from last week’s emotional win over Miami should carry over into this week. I’ll take the ‘Noles 34-17, and I expect Dalvin Cook to have another huge game. Enjoy the game on Saturday, and enjoy homecoming week ‘Noles.

 

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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