This series has become somewhat of a rivalry over the years. It all started back in 1998 with the Torry Holt had 5 TD game and has been back and forth ever since. When Chuck Amato was here this game was a little more important on the schedule as shown by State’s 4-3 record in those 7 seasons. We’ve seen a double overtime game, a game with over 80 points and 1,000 total yards, and several ESPN Thursday night showdowns. We even had that game back in ’07 with the lightning delay. Vegas doesn’t think this year’s game will be as entertaining as they’ve put a 19 point spread on it, but hopefully we will come out inspired and add another quality chapter to this budding rivalry.
Stadium: Bobby Bowden Field at Doak Campbell Stadium (capacity 82,300)
Head-to-Head Results: FSU leads the all-time series with a 21-10 record. State won the Primetime Thursday Night ESPN meeting last year 28-24 in thrilling come-from-behind fashion, outscoring the Seminoles 21-3 in the second half. The Seminoles had won the 3 prior meetings, but over the past 13 meetings the series has been pretty even with FSU holding a slight 7-6 advantage and 7 of 10 being decided by a touchdown or less.
Cool Tradition: Chief Osceola and Renegade
Head Coach: Jimbo Fisher (2nd season, 14-7) … 2010 ACC Atlantic Division Champs
Players to Watch:
QB E.J. Manuel (#3, RS-Jr.) is a dangerous dual-threat QB that is the focal point of the offense. He’s an accurate passer with a 64.4% completion percentage and 1455 yards with 11 TDs. His running ability (44 carries, 132 yards, 3 TDs) adds that extra dimension to the Seminole offense making them even tougher to stop.
RB Devonta Freeman (#8, Fr.) has come on strong with two consecutive 100-yard rushing games to give a much needed boost to the FSU rushing attack. He leads the team with 288 yards on 51 carries (5.6 ypc) and 3 TDs. Was named ACC Rookie of the Week after his 11 carry, 100 yards, 1 TD performance last week against Maryland.
DE Brandon Jenkins (#49, Jr.) & DE Bjoern Werner (#95, So.) form what is probably the most formidable pass rushing duo in the ACC as Jenkins led the Noles in sacks last year with a whopping 21.5 and Werner leads the Noles so far this year with 6. They will wreak havoc in the trenches and give the NC State offensive line all they can handle.
LB Nigel Bradham (#13, Sr.) is the leader of the FSU defense and will be one of the key players in this game. He has led the Seminoles in tackles the past two seasons and leads the team again this year with 41 after big games against Duke and Maryland.
Offensive Summary: The Seminoles have struggled running the ball all year with injuries along the offensive line and to their leading running backs, but the running game has come on strong of late. QB E.J. Manuel seems to have returned to his early season form after the injury that forced him to miss some time. The receivers are explosive and getting healthy so the passing game should pick up too. Expect the Seminoles to try and take control of the line of scrimmage early, establish the run and then take their shots in the passing game.
Defensive Summary: The Seminole defense has been very strong as they currently rank 12th in the country in total defense (291.29 ypg). They are 6th nationally against the run giving up only 82.86 yards per game. They are tied for 4th nationally in total sacks (25) so expect the Seminoles to pin their ears back and come after Glennon all day long. The one area where they struggle is creating turnovers as they’ve only forced 6 turnovers (114th nationally).
Prediction: As much as I want to believe the Wolfpack will pull out back-to-back ACC road wins, that looks like a very tall task. We usually give the Seminoles a tough game so hopefully we can do that again this Saturday and just be in position in the 4th quarter to make some plays and win the game.
(former) Girls of the ACC: FSU’s Jenn Sterger