Halfway through the season and the Deacs are 5-1, needing just 1 more win to become bowl eligible. Saturday’s game in Tallahassee against 14th ranked FSU is a chance to pick up win number 6, but it will undoubtedly be Wake Forest’s toughest challenge yet. The Deacs have struggled “big league” at Doak S. Campbell Stadium since they shut out the Noles in 2006, and FSU is coming off a big win over 10th ranked Miami. Here are the players that could have the biggest impact on the game for Florida State:
Offense: Dalvin Cook, Jr. RB
Dalvin Cook is one of the premier players in the ACC, and a guy that Dave Clawson has said is arguably the best tailback in the nation. He is coming off a spectacular sophomore season in which he ran the ball 229 times for 1691 yards and 19 TDs, breaking Warrick Dunn’s single season rushing yards record in just 9 games. For his efforts, he picked up All-ACC 1st team honors, AP All America 2nd Team honors, and the Jim Brown Award (given to the nation’s top running back). On top of all that, he finished 7th in Heisman voting. Last year against the Deacs, he only got to run the ball twice before injuring his hamstring, but once was enough for him to rip a 94 yard TD run on his first carry of the game. This season, he has run the ball 134 times for 785 yards and 7 TDs, and he currently has a 3 game streak of rushing for over 100 yards. The Deacs have been pretty good against the run this season, but they have yet to face a back like Dalvin Cook. When he gets out into the open field, he is extremely hard to bring down and can outrun just about anyone. Wake Forest will have their work cut out for them on Saturday trying to stop Cook from gashing them on the ground.
Defense: DeMarcus Walker, Sr. DE
Walker is a dominant defensive linemen who specializes in getting after the QB. Last season he picked up 56 total tackles, 14 tackles for loss, and 9 sacks on his way to earning 2nd Team All-ACC honors from the media. Against the Deacs last season he recorded 5 total tackles and 1.5 sacks. Walker is off to a great start this year, and has already racked up 6.5 sacks and forced 3 fumbles halfway through the season. He has also had an impact on special teams, blocking the tying XP against Miami to seal the win for FSU. It is a huge advantage to be able to pressure the QB with just the front 4. This allows the defense to drop everyone else back into coverage, and makes the passing game extremely difficult for the opposition. The Wake O-line will want to be aware of where Walker lines up, as he sometimes moves to the inside position on the line on 3rd downs.