Florida State vs NC State Game Preview

Game Introduction:

Florida State travels northeast to Raleigh to take on the Wolfpack of NC State this Saturday. The ‘Noles did not play last Saturday, there is no need to fact check me on that. NC State is riding a two game losing streak after starting the year 5-0. The game kicks off at 3:30 eastern time and will be aired on ABC.


James Blackman Expected to Start on Saturday

James Blackman will start for the first time in the 2018 season against NC State. Deondre Francois has had ups and downs this year, and the poor showing against Clemson did him no favors. A lot of fans have been asking for this change for a while, and others blame Francois’ deficiencies on the bad play from the offensive line. Whatever your opinion on the move is, something had to change after last week.

Florida State’s Defense Needs to Bounce Back

The ‘Noles defense can play at an elite level. We saw it in the first quarter against Clemson and all the way up until the roughing the kicker penalty. Once the heads started to drop, so did the play. Had that penalty never happened, 12 doesn’t turn the ball over, and punt return coverage is sharper, Florida State might have been able to keep it within 30. But Florida State head coach Willie Taggart has preached effort this week and has been adamant that the players’ who quit last Saturday won’t play against the Wolfpack. It will be interesting to see what energy level the ‘Noles defense comes out with against NC State.

Burning Questions:

What should we expect out of James Blackman against NC State?

While Blackman won’t be some magical savior for this FSU team, he might provide a spark to the offense. He reads defenses better than Francois and is not afraid to run the ball on read options. While Francois may be better in short to intermediate passes, Blackman has an equal to, possibly even better, deep ball when compared to 12. Something that Francois can’t match up to is Blackman’s leadership qualities. He’s a beloved teammate and has been a great sport on the sidelines all year. Will be interesting to see how well JB1 plays on Saturday.

What other changes will we see from Coach Taggart?

Coach Taggart said in his press conference that those who quit won’t play. Personally, I would much rather have 11 walk-on’s giving full effort versus 11 scholarship players hardly trying. The players who will ride the pine on Saturday have not been named, and I  don’t want to speculate on any players. However, looking over the film, there was a lot of players giving poor effort. Look to see some fresh faces on both sides of the ball in against the Wolfpack


The ‘Noles continue to have an experimental offensive line despite seeing growth in other areas. FSU offensive line coach Greg Frey has done everything he can to help the front five, but the quality just is not there. NC State, despite having a good quarterback in Ryan Findley, has struggled mightily the last two weeks against Clemson and Syracuse. While the Clemson result is no shock, Syracuse should have been a win for the Wolfpack. They did play both those games on the road and return home to square off against the ‘Noles. In my opinion, this NC State team is nothing special, and Florida State’s roster is much better top to bottom.

I think  NC State would easily win this game if they had last year’s defensive line with Bradley Chubb. However, they do not and looked unconvincing against Syracuse. While this ‘Noles team has had their struggles, I don’t think the record shows how good it can be. The defense has flashed elite play at times, and defensive end Brian Burns has been a menace all year. I think Burns and the secondary do enough to make Findley uncomfortable all game, and FSU pulls off a dumb 27-21 win. I say dumb, because well, Florida State wins this year haven’t exactly been pretty. NoleGameday will have full coverage of this one, so make sure you’re following along on the Twitter machine. Unless you’re Mike Gundy.


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