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NoleGameday

GAME PREVIEW: Florida State at NC State

Game Introduction:

It’s been a busy week for Florida State. The Seminoles learned that Marvin Wilson and Devontay Love-Taylor would miss the remainder of the season due to injury while James Blackman elected to opt-out, and Tamorrion Terry left the team. There is also some news trickling out that quarterback Jordan Travis might not be healthy enough to play this week. Regardless, this team still has a game to play on Saturday night as they prepare to travel to Raleigh.

FSU and NC State enter this contest on two-game losing streaks that both teams will be looking to end. The ‘Noles are now 2-5 after two straight blowout losses and it seems like this team can’t wait until the season is over. NC State started out 3-1 but has lost its lost two games to top-15 opponents in North Carolina and Miami. The Wolfpack actually led the Hurricanes late last week but were unable to pull off the upset.

Last season, FSU defeated NC State 31-13 behind three touchdown passes from Alex Hornibrook while the defense got after Bailey Hockman in Tallahassee.

The ‘Noles and Wolfpack will kick-off at 7:30 p.m. on the ACC Network.

Seminole Headlines:

Bailey Hockman is out for revenge

In 2019, this game felt personal for Florida State after former quarterback Bailey Hockman took the field for North Carolina State due to an injury. The defense harassed him all game, racking up two sacks and six tackles for loss while delivering plenty of punishment on the redshirt junior signal-caller. You can bet that he enters this contest with a point to prove against a non-existent Seminoles defense.

Hockman has started four games to this point of the season, completing 61.2% of his passes for 779 yards with five touchdowns and five interceptions. It’s been a mixed bag for the Georgia native, though his best performance of 2020 came last week against the Hurricanes. He completed 19 of 28 passes (67,9%) for a season-high 248 yards with two touchdowns to one interception (which effectively lost the game for the Wolfpack).

Now, he gets an opportunity to end North Carolina State’s losing streak against his former program, who has fielded one of the worst defenses he’ll play all year. If the Florida State defense continues to play like I think they will, this one has a chance to get ugly on the road.

A year after the ‘Noles got the last laugh, Hockman will be on a quest for revenge.

Florida State looks to avoid its third straight loss for the first time since 2018

Coming into the 2020 season, if you would’ve told me that Florida State would be on the verge of a three-game losing streak, I probably would call you crazy. However, that’s exactly where this team sits with a matchup against a better than expected North Carolina State team on the road, where the Seminoles (0-3) are still winless this year. It’s simply been pathetic to watch this team mail it in each Saturday ever since FSU was able to pull off an upset over No. 5 UNC.

The last time FSU lost three straight games was in 2018, the first year of former head coach Willie Taggart’s tenure. Those losses came against No. 2 Clemson, No. 21 NCSU, and No. 3 Notre Dame with an average scoring margin of 49.3-17. With Mike Norvell’s team on the verge of matching that losing streak, it’s obvious that the quality of competition isn’t even close to the same. The three straight losses in 2018 all came against ranked teams with two being ranked in the top-3 of the nation.

In its last two games, Florida State has been dominated by Louisville and Pittsburgh, who were both on four-game losing streaks. Those losses came by an average margin 44.5-16.5.

This is an ugly, ugly stretch for a once-proud program.

Burning Questions:

Who will start at quarterback for Florida State

One day away from the game, we’re still not sure who will take the field as Florida State’s starting quarterback on Saturday. Jordan Travis missed the second half of the loss to Pittsburgh after being injured in the second quarter. Whether it’s his left arm or a concussion, the redshirt sophomore hasn’t practiced throughout the week and it’s beginning to look more and more likely that he will be unavailable against the Wolfpack.

That means true freshman Chubba Purdy is in line for the first start of his career after appearing in each of the last two games. In relief of Travis against Pittsburgh, he completed 12/21 passes for 38 yards and an interception. It wasn’t a great outing for the Arizona native but it’s hard to blame him with the state of the offensive line after Devontay Love-Taylor went down. FSU fans would be excited to see him take a few steps forward if he does start against North Carolina State.

Will the Seminoles ever be able to end their second-half woes?

Considering this was basically one of my burning questions last week, I feel like I’m starting to beat a dead horse. Pittsburgh held Florida State scoreless in the second half last Saturday, meaning the Seminoles still haven’t scored in the final 30 minutes of a football game since the 12:25 mark of the third quarter against Notre Dame. That’s 117 minutes and 25 seconds of game time which is basically two full games.

It’s an insane drought and there’s no excuse for it. The players have failed to execute and the staff hasn’t done any better at adjusting after halftime. I guess we’ll see what happens against the Wolfpack.

Forecast:

It’s pretty simple for me this week. Florida State is without its best offensive lineman, wide receiver, and will likely be starting a true freshman quarterback on the road. I have no confidence in the defense to do anything except look like an embarrassment yet again. When you add that in with Hockman, who will be motivated to come back strong against the Seminoles, it’s a potential recipe for disaster.

I just don’t see a way that FSU is able to keep this one close and that’s an indictment of the current state of the program.

North Carolina State 41, FSU 20


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