Three key matchups for FSU as they prepare to play Duke

Football is finally back in Tallahassee. Florida State (2-6) has not played a game since Nov. 14. Since, there have been game cancellations due to COVID-19, players leaving the program, and a few big recruiting moves. But, this Saturday, all of that will go out the window when the Seminoles host Duke (2-8) at 4 p.m in Doak Campbell Stadium. 

Below, I covered the three key matchups for the game. 

1. Jashaun Corbin, Jordan Travis, Lawrance Toafili vs. Duke Rush Defense

The Blue Devils rush defense is second to last in the ACC (202.1 yards per game). 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. We all have seen what he is capable of , but it will be imperative to monitor his touches with the current quarterback depth. Corbin, who suffered a season-ending hamstring last season with Texas A&M, was improving in each contest before the season went on pause. 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). With La’Damian Webb opting-out, Corbin will handle more of the workload. Toafili should also see more opportunities. The freshman combined for 239 yards on just 26 total carries in three games where he saw the most action (Louisville, Jacksonville St, Miami). 

2. FSU Offensive Line vs. Duke Defensive Line 

While they might struggle stopping the run, the Duke defensive line has no issue getting to the quarterback. The defense ranks 10th among the nation in sacks (30.0 total). Given, they have played more games than other Power Five Programs. The group is led by a defensive end tandem of Chris Rumph II and Victor Dimukeje, who have totaled 15.5 sacks together. Norvell and offensive line coach Alex Atkins seem to have embraced the youth movement, starting four true or redshirt freshmen versus NC State. With Devontay Love-Taylor out for the season, the tackle spot will likely be a liability for the inexperienced unit. In this matchup, Robert Scott and Thomas Schrader will have their hands full with protecting the edge. It might not be pretty, but this will give the freshman necessary experience. 

3. Chase Brice & Duke Pass Offense vs. FSU Pass Defense 

Brice, a transfer from Clemson, has a habit of turning the ball over. The 6’3, 235lbs junior has thrown nine touchdowns to 13 interceptions in his first season at the helm. In his last outing, a 48-0 loss against Miami, Brice threw for just 94 yards on a 3.8 average per play. The offense runs a lot of short and intermediate concepts to compile yardage, then they look for the deep ball. With Asante Samuel Jr leaving to prepare for the 2021 NFL Draft, Jarrian Jones will try to fill his absence alongside Jarvis Brownlee Jr., who has had impressive flashes in his last few starts. It also does not hurt that Hamsah Nasirildeen is back healthy and roaming in the BUCK position. The Blue Devils have two lead receivers: Jake Bobo (31 receptions, 349 yards, 1 TD) and Jalon Calhoun (35 receptions, 328 yards, 2 TD). It has seemed that each opposing quarterback has had their way with the ‘Noles, but Brice should not have a big game if the defense plays smart. 

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