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Three key matchups as Florida State prepares to face Virginia

After an unexpected weekend layoff, Florida State (2-6) will try to capture a victory under the lights of Doak Campbell on Saturday night, as Virginia (4-4) makes the trip down to Tallahassee. These two met last year, where the Cavaliers escaped 31-24 in part to a goal-line stop of Cam Akers as time expired.

Below, I covered the three key matchups that will be vital if FSU hopes to walk away victorious.

1. La’Damian Webb, Jashaun Corbin, Jordan Travis vs. Virginia Rush Defense

To avoid another injury, Mike Norvell and offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham will likely limit the designed run plays for Travis. If the offensive line fails to hold up, he will still have plenty of opportunities to scramble from the pocket. Corbin, who suffered a season-ending hamstring last season with Texas A&M, is starting to get back to his old self. His explosion is improving each contest, and it was evident in his 28-yard touchdown run against NC State, which happened to be his longest run of the season. He also recorded a season-high in yards (77) and carries (14). Webb has not had many carries in the past few games, but has the talent to handle plenty of workload and gain positive yardage. Virginia allows 154 yards per game on the ground, and have two tackling machines at linebacker with Nick Jackson and Zane Zandier.

2. FSU Offensive Line vs. Virginia Defensive Line

The Virginia defense love to attack and overwhelm opponents with linebacker blitzes. 18 of the 24 sacks have actually come from their line-backing core, with Charles Snowden leading the bunch (six total). Norvell and offensive line coach Alex Atkins seem to have embraced the youth movement on the offensive line. The group will likely struggle, but it will give guys like Robert Scott and Thomas Shrader tons of experience. The Cavaliers lost their best interior lineman to the transfer portal last week when Jowon Briggs (20 tackles, 3 sacks) announced his plans to leave the program. As every week is, it will be a challenge for the Seminoles at the line of scrimmage. However, it is an opposing defensive line they should be able to compete with.

3. Brennan Armstrong vs. FSU Defense

After an October loss to Miami, the 6’2, 215lbs lefty quarterback has led the team on a three game winning streak. During that span, he has accumulated eleven total touchdowns, thrown for 200 or more yards in each contest, and been the leading rusher for the offense. Despite recent success, he has shown questionable judgment (threw six interceptions in the first three games of the season). Janarius Robinson, Joshua Kaindoh, and the rest of the pass rush must have their best showing of the year against a veteran heavy offensive line. Defensive Coordinator Adam Fuller should experiment with more designed blitzes with linebackers Amari Gainer, Emmett Rice, and Stephen Dix. Jr to help create more pressure. It has seemed that each opposing quarterback has had their way with the ‘Noles, and Armstrong could be next in line.


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