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NoleGameday

Game Preview: Florida State at Wake Forest

Game Introduction:

Florida State is coming off a disappointing showing at #2 Clemson, as they were outgained by 299 yards, but an improvement from last year was still visible. Obviously, it’s not the outcome an FSU fan would want, but things were different from last year, as FSU fought till the very last play. State also had opportunities on offense to make it a game, but just couldn’t capitalize because of very shaky QB play. The ‘Noles still have a chance to finish 8-4 or at least 6-6 to get to a bowl game, the expectations for the season didn’t really change with a loss to Clemson. The Seminoles will head to Wake Forest to take on the Demon Deacons, looking to get back over .500 in ACC play. The Demon Deacons have already played four 1-score games this year in which they have won 3. A 62-59 loss to Louisville this past week bounced the Deacons out of the top 25.

The Seminoles and Demon Deacons will look to get back on track on Saturday as they kick off at 7:30 PM on ACC Network.

Headlines:

Wake Forest and Florida State looking for bounce-back weeks

As I mentioned above, both WF and FSU are coming off tough losses, not just on the field but also off. The ‘Noles lost their 2nd leading WR Keyshawn Helton to a season-ending injury while the Demon Deacons lost their star QB to a left shoulder injury against the Cardinals. Newman is day-to-day and questionable for the FSU game. Wake’s loss to the Cards was the first of their season while the ‘Noles suffered their 5th straight loss to the Tigers. Both teams are coming off defensive struggles, each giving up more than 500 yards of total offense. Wake’s lethal offense still put up 59 points while FSU and their QB’s could never get in rhythm behind their O-line. Wake’s home loss to the unranked Cardinals bounced them from the number 19 team in the nation to unranked. Both of these teams’ seasons could go in any which way. The week 8 matchup will start the second half of the season for both teams, and a win would set up the path to a successful season.

FSU’s secondary vs. WR Sage Surratt

Wake Forest’s Sage Surratt is not the most known WR in the nation, but he may just be putting up the best numbers. So far this season, Surratt ranks nationally 3rd in receiving yards (711), TD’s (9), and catches (46). Meanwhile, FSU’s secondary has struggled, ranking 119th in the nation allowing 297 pass yards per game. Florida State has all the talent to be a capable secondary, but the results are still yet to come. The redshirt sophomore has already passed all of his numbers from last year in a breakout season. Surratt stands 6’3, 215 and can go up and get it or beat you with speed. The WR has had at least 1 TD in each game this season, so how will FSU slow him down? You would have to think FSU will try to neutralize him and make the Deacons beat them another way, by double-teaming the NC native.

Burning Questions:

What does FSU do about the QB situation?

Not one singular person that has any connection to FSU came out happy about the QB situation after the Clemson game. The Blackman hive nor the Hornibrook crowd basically had nothing to cheer about besides the other QB struggling. JB1 continued to miss open throws and some reads while Alex continued to look uncomfortable in the pocket and unable to throw the ball downfield. Combined, the QB’s were 17/35 with 150 yards, 1 TD, and 3 INT’s, so where do Taggart and Briles go from here? I have no idea what the fix will be, but it starts upfront with the O-line. Neither of these QB’s nor anybody else on the roster will be successful or even average if the OL continues to give up pressure at the rate it is. I would think Blackman will still start as he is the team captain and has multiple years of eligibility left after this, but no matter what FSU will have to pound the rock. The ‘Noles aren’t going to beat anybody with QB play, but they could lose it with below-average play. Whoever shows they can manage the game better, should be under center the rest of the season. ƒf

Will QB Jamie Newman suit up for the Demon Deacons?

As mentioned before, Wake’s QB Jamie Newman went down with a shoulder injury during their Louisville game this past Saturday. Newman had been one of the best QB’s in the nation so far this year. The Wake QB is currently 9th in the nation in passing yards (1772) and 5th in passing TD’s with 17 compared to just 5 INT’s. Wake HC Dave Clawson said that Newman was day-to-day with the injury and his availability for the game would be evaluated late this week. But the Deacons have a capable backup in sophomore Sam Hartman. Hartman filled in with 172 yards and 2 TD’s this past Saturday. Hartman was the Deacons’ starter last year before being replaced by Newman. As a freshman, Hartman put up 227 yards with a completion percentage of 47.8% in a 21 point loss to the ‘Noles. Both QB’s have the dual-threat ability that will make them dangerous. Whether it’s Newman or Hartman, FSU’s defense will have a large task ahead of them against the 12th highest-scoring offense in the nation.

Forecast:

Right now, there really isn’t a grasp on who will start this game for either team, but either way, it will likely be a high scoring game. Two defenses that give up north of 27.8 points/game and two offense that scores north of 30 points/game makes for a high scoring affair, and Vegas agrees as the over/under is set at 69. The ‘Noles have beat the Deacons 7 straight games but WF is favored by 1.5 points as a home favorite. FSU will have to play a much better and cleaner game in Winston-Salem or else a potent offense like the Deacons could get away from FSU. A turnover or a big play on special teams could be the deciding factor in this game. This is by far and away the most I’ve struggled to pick a game this year but with Newman’s availability up in the air, I will take the Seminoles in a one-score game with Ricky Aguayo making a game-winning field goal. If it really comes down to that, someone please text me to make sure I am still alive. I apologize Turntle, FSU 41-38.


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