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Wake Forest vs. Florida State: Statistical Preview

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Wake Forest travels to Tallahassee on Saturday to take on Florida State. What do the numbers say?

Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

When Wake Forest has the Ball
When Wake Forest Has the Ball FSU Defense Wake Offense
S&P+ 17 126
FEI 51 125
Rushing S&P+ 47 128
Passing S&P+ 81 125
Success Rate 64 127
IsoPPP 67 119

Oh boy, well as you can see Wake Forest is not good on offense (understatement of the year). Wake Forest has the 126th "best" offense in the country out of 128 FBS opponents according to Football Outsiders' S&P+ ratings, which factors in quality of opponents. FEI does not, and Wake is still just 125th using that measure. Wake Forest is last nationally in rushing.

Wake Forest is second worst nationally in Success Rate. Success Rate is defined by Football Outsiders as the ability to stay on schedule. On first down it means getting 50% of necessary yards (2nd & 5), on second down it means 70% of necessary yards (3rd and 3), and on 3rd/4th downs it means getting a first down or touchdown. Wake does this by allowing too many sacks and having too many mental errors (false starts & delay of game penalties). We're also generating no rush offense, so almost every time we run, it means our success rate will drop.

IsoPPP is a relatively new measure that looks at how explosive offense is when they are successful. In other words, when you're good, how good are you? So when Wake is better in this category, but still not by much. Wake really does not have any deep threats, so it's not surprising that this offense lacks explosion. You combine the lack of explosiveness with the inability to stay on schedule, and that's how you get the 126th ranked offense.

Florida State's defense is not as dominant as they were last year, but that's not shocking given how much NFL talent their team lost. They still have a top 20 defense, and they have improved in recent weeks. Their defensive line has been hurt due to injuries and lack of depth, but Wake Forest should struggle mightily to move the ball against them. Wake Forest managed just 100 total yards of offense against Louisville this past weekend. To be honest, I expect about the same this weekend.

When Florida State has the Ball
When Florida State has the Ball FSU Offense Wake Defense
S&P+ 5 65
FEI 50 26
Rushing S&P+ 35 52
Passing S&P+ 30 24
Success Rate 38 41
IsoPPP 20 35

This portion of the article will hurt the eyes of Wake fans a lot less. Wake Forest has a legitimately good defense, including the 24th best pass defense in the country. The problem for the Demon Deacons is that the Seminoles' offense is currently 5th in the country according to S&P+ ratings. We all know that Florida State is led on offense by Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston, but the Noles have a very good running game, and thus a very balanced attack. They have a trio of backs in Karlos Williams, Mario Pender and Dalvin Cook who are all averaging at least 4.67 yards/carry. Their 35th best rushing attack should be able to take advantage of Wake's 52nd best rushing defense.

The matchup to watch will be Jameis Winston throwing against Wake's secondary. This is of course assuming future NFL cornerback Kevin Johnson doesn't get ejected early in the first quarter due to a horrendous targeting call. Kevin Johnson vs. Rashad Greene should be an excellent matchup, as both are future pros.

After just a quick look at the Wake Forest offense vs. Florida State defense matchup, it's pretty clear to see why Wake is a 38 point underdog. Florida State's offense does have the advantage over Wake's defense, but the obvious gap in talent is their defense versus our offense. I'm hoping to see the Wake defense play admirably, but the statistics aren't promising when we have the ball.