Florida State vs. Ole Miss Predictions

Ethan Vaughan (@Ethan7NG)

I’ve gone back and forth on this prediction for a while now and it’s still a bit fluid with the Eberle injury situation still seemingly somewhat in the air, though Coach Fisher said on Saturday that he’d play. Eberle would be a big loss for the FSU offense as, with Corey Martinez out, true freshman Andrew Boselli would take the reigns of the most important offensive line position against a talented Ole Miss interior DL.

The one thing we know for sure about FSU is that they have an elite defense. That defense is going to go up against an Ole Miss OL that is replacing all five starters from a year ago. Guys like DeMarcus Walker and Josh Sweat should be able to pressure Chad Kelly and allow Derwin James and company to contain Kelly and the passing game. Ole Miss isn’t going to score a ton of points.

That being said, FSU’s offense has a lot of unknowns surrounding the one constant in Heisman candidate Dalvin Cook. FSU’s offensive line last year was rather mediocre and needs to show improvement against Ole Miss. Deondre Francois needs to also show that he can make defenses pay for loading the box against Dalvin Cook, which Ole Miss will inevitably do. If both those keys happen, then FSU might well score more than 24 but since it isn’t a sure thing, I’ll temper expectations with a final score prediction of 24-17 ‘Noles.

Logan Robinson (@LogansTwitty)

31-17 ‘Noles.

Ben Brewton (@BenBrewton)

Florida State is going to come out slinging in this game, just like they did in Jameis’ first start. Dalvin Cook will be the catalyst for the offense, but early on expect head coach Jimbo Fisher to dial up a lot of passes to catch the Rebels’ offense off guard. If Francois can get hot early, I expect the ‘Noles to take an early lead and fight off Ole Miss the whole way. It is going to be close, and it is going to be filled with wild plays.

While this game might not necessarily be a shootout, it certainly won’t be a defensive game either. Expect the ‘Noles to try to keep possession and run the ball a lot in the second half if they’re up. Ole Miss will put up a great fight, but in the end I think the FSU pass rush and secondary will be too much for Chad Kelly and the Rebel offense. Give me FSU over Ole Miss 28-24.

Vinnie Cervino (@cervino_vinne)

FSU 21, Ole Miss 17.

Ryan Stalder (@RyanStalder12)

Florida State’s defense proves too much for Ole Miss and takes the pressure off of Deondre Francois and company.

FSU 34 – Ole Miss 24.

Dakota Moyer (@DakMoyer)

I expect Florida State to come out passing the ball. Look back at Jameis Winston’s first start at Pittsburgh and Sean Maguire’s first start versus Clemson and Jimbo Fisher has shown that he is not afraid to come out slinging it to get his quarterback in rhythm. We’ve talked all offseason about FSU creating a more balanced offense so Dalvin Cook can find more running lanes, and Fisher recognizes this. If Francois can get into a rhythm early on, then Ole Miss is in trouble.

The Seminoles will be without right guard Kareem Are and the situation surrounding center Alec Eberle is still up in the air, which is unfortunate because the strength of Ole Miss’ defense is at defensive tackle. Former FSU commit D.J. Jones will be the man lining across from the Seminoles at defensive tackle. Expect Ole Miss to bring pressure early and often.

Defensively, the ‘Noles line up really well against this Ole Miss offense. The strength of the Rebels offense (aside from quarterback) is their size at receiver. Luckily, Florida State has great size at defensive back as well and each of their presumed starters is over six foot tall. I think the x-factor in this game will be Matthew Thomas. Fisher has raved about Thomas all offseason and it seems like it is all clicking for the former five-star prospect. If Thomas lives up to his potential, then there is not much that Ole Miss can do on offense to stop him.

As always, both teams might come out a bit rusty. Expect some busted coverages and poor play before they get things together and make adjustments. In the end, I think FSU’s secondary will be able to limit Chad Kelly through the air and Dalvin Cook helps relieve some pressure on Deondre Francois in his first career start. I’ll call for Florida State 27, Ole Miss 23 and Florida State starts off the 2016 with a great win.

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