Florida State Seminoles (3-4, 2-4 ATS) at North Carolina State Wolfpack (3-4, 1-4 ATS) Carter-Finley Stadium Raleigh, N.C. Saturday October 31st, 12:00PM Eastern
By Jay Horne of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Florida State -8.5/NC State +8.5
The Florida State Seminoles rallied from behind last week against North Carolina to overcome a 24-6 deficit to come back and beat the Tarheels 30-27. The win was absolutely huge for Florida State as they avoided their 5th loss in just 7 games. Perhaps the inspired comeback victory will keep the critics off Coach Bobby Bowden for at least another week until the Seminoles roll into Raleigh this weekend to take on the North Carolina State Wolfpack.
The Wolfpack have a similar 3-4 record this year and similar disappointments as they anticipated a much better season. Outside of the Tarheels, North Carolina State is the only other team in the ACC without a conference victory. All of North Carolina State’s wins have come at home this season where usually play well. The Wolfpack will try to use the home field advantage this weekend and derail any momentum built by Florida State from last Thursday’s dramatic victory.
A lot of the North Carolina State expectations were built around the offense. The offense has not been bad averaging 391 yards per game, but they have not been exactly dominated like some may have predicted. Quarterback Russell Wilson got off to a slow start, but has thrown the ball fairly well. Wilson has thrown for 1,659 yards with 16 touchdowns and only 4 picks on the season. North Carolina State has a fairly balanced offense, but the passing game remains the strength of the team.
Wilson has found confidence in receivers Jarvis Williams and George Bryan. Both targets have caught over 300 yards on the season with 4 touchdowns a piece. Running back Toney Baker has made a solid contribution on the ground. Baker has 401 yards with a strong 5.3 yards per carry averaging to go along with 6 total touchdowns. However judging by how severely the Florida State secondary has struggled this season, the Wolfpack will look for Wilson to lead them to victory in the passing game.
Seminoles QB Christian Ponder should be given most the credit for last week’s comeback victory. Ponder completed an insane 82% against the Tarheels completing 33 of 40 passing for 395 yards and 3 touchdowns. If the Seminoles quarterback keeps playing like that, then it will make Florida State difficult to beat no matter whom is the competition. However, the excellent showing should not have been a big surprise. Ponder has carried the offense all year completing 70% while racking up 2,176 yards and 12 touchdowns.
The Seminoles rank 8th nationally throwing the ball for 311 yards per game. Wide receivers Bert Reed and Rod Owens have benefited from Ponder’s play racking up more than 400 yards a piece catching the football. However, there are plenty more talented targets including Richard Goodman and Jarmon Fortson who will surely get into the mix. The Seminoles running game has been non-existent as they keep the ball in Ponder’s hands and rely on his arm about 90% of the time. North Carolina State is allowing 27 points per game this season which should allow Florida State to score some points. The Seminoles have been involved in a few scoring shootouts this season and they hope to be on the winning side similar to last week’s big victory.
One thing you have not heard mentioned is defense. Neither team has been rather strong on the defensive side of the ball. Both defenses rank 10th and 11th in the conference in scoring defense. Also both pass defenses have been rather weak as well. However, North Carolina State may have the edge as they have the better all around unit on the defensive side of the ball giving up 100 less yards per game on average. Not only should the Wolfpack defense have the edge, but Wilson should be able to take advantage of the Seminole secondary and score their first ACC victory.
Jay’s Pick – If North Carolina State can not get the victory, they should be able to stay within the points. +8.5.
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