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Week 10 Bold Prediction: Florida State out runs the Wolfpack

Logan Stanford/Icon Sportswire

Bold Prediction: Florida State’s running backs will combine for 250 yards and three touchdowns. Their 250+ rushing yards will be more than NC State’s total rushing yards.

Why it’s bold: NC State (5-2, 2-2) holds the 11th best rushing defense in the FBS. Through seven games, they have allowed an average of 101.3 rushing yards per game and ten touchdowns.

Why I believe it will happen: There are many factors hinting towards Saturday’s game is all about the run game. The ‘Noles, (4-4, 2-4) took a brutal 59-10 loss last weekend to Clemson, and are anxiously awaiting a shot at redemption against NC State. Coming off the loss to Clemson, and a loss to NC State last season (27-21), there is a lot to be earned if FSU can upset the Wolfpack this weekend. Florida State could earn a notable win against a tough ACC opponent, and redeem themselves from last year. They could also continue their quest to keep the bowl streak alive. In order for this to happen, the rushing offense will have to step up big for the entire game.

After giving up in the second half, Head Coach Willie Taggart was very displeased with his team. He made sure that ‘Nole Nation knows he will find the players who did not quit and let them play. But the ones who did quit, will not be playing as much come this weekend. For the ones who never gave up, there is a sense of fire in their attitudes and willingness to still make the rest of this season successful.

Because of this fire in their mindsets, I believe that the team will begin to improve upon what has gone wrong for a majority of this season, primarily the rushing offense. Against Clemson, FSU rushed for -21 yards. Call me crazy for thinking they could bounce back and rush for 250 yards after that performance. But, it could happen. FSU’s running back corps is full of talented players, just waiting on their moment to break out. To add to the boldness of this prediction, they have scored only seven touchdowns this year.

The running backs are led by Cam Akers and Jacques Patrick, the only two ‘Noles with over 200 rushing yards on the season. Akers has scored three touchdowns while Patrick has only one. Both of these players are producing numbers significantly less than they were expected to this year. Akers, the ACC’s leading rusher in 2017, has yet to have a game with over 100 yards. Patrick has only one game with over 50 rushing yards. Maybe the preseason expectations were set too high for these two, but the fact that either of them has yet to have outstanding performances is a bit worrisome.

Despite their lack of production running the ball this season, I believe this Saturday will be where they are MVP’s of the game. At some point, Florida State will have to let the running backs take control of a game. NC State’s defense over the past few years has been one of the ACC’s best. They are tough to run against, and this Saturday will be no different. The running backs will have to be smart in their routes and recognize what the Wolfpack’s weakest spots are. By doing this early, FSU could lead the game with total control. Since the ‘Noles have yet to have a game where the running backs have truly shined, this weekend is a perfect time do so.

Another key factor hinting towards a huge day for the run game is who will be starting at quarterback. Deondre Francois has been in and out of taking first-team reps at practice this week, with James Blackman right behind him, ready to step up if needed against NC State. Francois is still pretty banged up after the Clemson game, and could really use this week of rest.

Blackman is the team’s strongest leader, and its about time we see what he can do as the starting quarterback. The true freshman started in 12 games last season after Francois’ season-ending injury. He is more likely to pass the ball off than Francois because of his size. Last season’s total run game resulted in Cam Akers having the most successful freshman season for an FSU running back. Whatever the secret to success was for him last year, they need to rediscover that soon. Florida State’s run game has been disappointing all season but their breakout day is coming soon. If Blackman starts on Saturday, I believe the ‘Noles will run for 250 yards or more against the Wolfpack’s strong defense. 

 

If you are still recovering from last week’s loss, here is a beautiful touchdown from Francois to Dalvin Cook from 2016 to boost your spirits. The ‘Noles defeated NC State 24-20 in Raleigh. Running against the Wolfpack is possible, and we will see a lot of it this Saturday.


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