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Wake Forest vs. Florida State: Preview

The Wake Forest Demon Deacons will attempt to snap Florida State's 20-game winning streak when they take on the Seminoles on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. on ABC. How will this game play out?

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Florida State Offense

By now I'm assuming you all know that Florida State's quarterback is named Jameis Winston. He's undefeated as a starting quarterback, won a Heisman Trophy, won a national championship, stole some crab legs, and got in trouble for yelling/quoting a YouTube obscenity in the student union. I got in some (poor) jokes towards the end of that sentence, but the first part of the sentence is why Jameis Winston is talked about so often. The bottom line is he's an exceptional college quarterback, who could easily become the number one pick in whichever NFL Draft he chooses to enter. I apologize in advance to Jameis for having to play for the Raiders. The Wake Forest defense and secondary should absolutely be worried about Winston, but given our rush defense, I'd more more worried about their trio of talented tailbacks.

Karlos Williams, their starting running back, is so talented that he was a 5-star safety out of high school, switched to running back early on last season, and is now a top 5 running back in the country according to draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. Williams is currently averaging 4.81 yards/carry and already has 5 touchdowns this season. Backing up Williams are sophomore Mario Pender and true freshman Dalvin Cook. Pender averages 4.67 yards/carry with two touchdowns and 5-star true freshman Dalvin Cook averages a whopping 5.75 yards/carry.

In a stunning turn of events, Florida State also has a talented receiving corps. They lost Kelvin Benajmin to the NFL Draft, but they return Rashad Greene who already has 35 receptions for 543 yards and 3 touchdowns. In addition to Greene, they also have Nick O'Leary who is an excellent tight end. Jameis Winston also looks to slot receiver Jesus Wilson, who has 3 touchdowns this season. Not to mention a pair of 5-star freshmen in Travis Rudolph and Ermon Lane.

Florida State's offensive line hasn't been as strong this year, but they returned a combined 114 starts on the offensive line and start 5 seniors. Left tackle Cameron Erving was a 1st team All-American last season, and right guard Tre' Jackson was a 1st team All-ACC selection. They should be able to take advantage of our smaller defensive line in non obvious passing situations.

Florida State Defense and Special Teams

Wake Forest's offensive line has their work cut out for them when they try to block this physical and fast defensive line. Mario Edwards, Jr. was a 5-star prospect coming out of high school and has lived up to the hype. Last season he accumulated 9.5 tackles for loss. The most physically imposing figure on this defensive line is defensive tackle Eddie Goldman, who is 6'4" 314 pounds. Wake couldn't run against Utah State, and I don't expect they'll be able to run against Florida State.

The Noles are led at linebacker by WILL Terrance Smith. Smith already has 41 tackles on the season, which nearly matches his 46.5 tackles from last season. The linebackers are very athletic, and as we mentioned earlier, they have so many 4-stars they can bring in from their two-deep.

Florida State has very talented players in their secondary, but they haven't performed to the level they are capable of so far this season. They have just one interception through four games, and are currently 81st in passing defense according to Football Outsiders' S&P+ ratings.  They can be beaten, but it won't matter if Wake's offensive line cannot block Florida State's pass rush.

The Noles have the best kicker in the country. He has made 28 of 29 career field goal attempts, with his lone miss coming against Wake Forest last season. He's also made all 112 of his PAT's, which is just an incredible amount of attempts over 18 games. Punter Cason Beatty, on the other hand, averages just 38 yards/punt which is 114th nationally.


Overall, it's not surprising the point spread is as high as it is. Florida State will overwhelm Wake Forest with talent and the Deacs simply will not be able to block  FSU's pass rush. I expect Wake's defense to play well, but they will be left with such a short field to defend for the majority of the game.

Wake Forest  3

Florida State  45