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Players to Watch: Florida State Seminoles

The noteworthy players in Wake’s first game back from the bye.

NCAA Football: Miami at Florida State Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

This week marks the start of the second half for the Demon Deacons. After a modest 3-3 start, the latter half run will determine their outlook of this 2018-2019 season. If it loses four out of the remaining six games, it would be deemed an underachievement by Wake fans. However, if they manage to secure a .500 record or better, then we should count this campaign as a success, even though it may not have been up to what some fans wanted.

In Wake’s last game vs the Clemson Tigers, I told you to look out for running back Tavien Feaster and defensive end Clelin Ferrell.

Here’s how the two players matched up.

Feaster: 3 carries, 4 yards

Ferrell: 3 tot, 1 sack

I clearly whiffed on these two predictions. The Tigers chose not to go with Feaster as their secondary ground game option. Instead, they relied on freshman Lyn-J Dixon and senior Adam Choice to be the complementary pieces to their number one rusher: Travis Etienne.

For Ferrell, there were too many playmakers on the Tigers defensive end that played up to their standards for him to stick out. From their linebacking corps all the way to the secondary, everyone was able to do their part in limiting the Wake offense.

As for this week, the Deacons are on the road, finally, as it faces off against the Florida State Seminoles. Both Wake and Florida State are 3-3 and coming of bye weeks.

The Seminoles are looking to start off its second half on the right note as well. With that said, here are the two players to watch out for on the team’s offensive and defensive unit.

Nyqwan Murray

Murray has the arsenal on the offensive side that make him an ideal number two option for the Seminoles offense down the field. He is by far the best route runner on this Seminoles team and has shown time and time again his skill in the open field. He has managed to become a big target down the field, as his quickness allows him to get past the slot corners which leads to easy targets down the field.

The senior has shown progression in every year in the program. His sophomore year put him on the map as he amassed 441 yards and five touchdowns in just nine games of being the team’s number three option receiving.

Since then, he has been able to maintain a consistent level of intensity and has more chunk plays overall. That’s why he’s averaged a very impressive 14.3 yards per attempt since coming onto campus.

“Noonie”, as some people call him, also possesses great hand-eye coordination. He’s able to make those flashy catches down the field that leave you in astonishment. This ability is evident in one-on-one matchups as he has shown to come down on those 50-50 balls while coordinating his body to make the catch.

He reminds me a lot of Seattle Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin. Both are capable of making those “special” catches down the field. An end zone threat at all times, these two have proven to be a reliable option for the past few seasons.

If we look at his impact against Wake on Saturday, I believe that Murray will wreak some havoc in the Demon Deacon secondary. You take what he can do and compare it to the team’s two other established pass catchers in Tamorrion Terry, and Keith Gavin and this Florida State offensive may be able to pick apart the Wake D.

Brian Burns

Burns is your prototypical weak-side defensive end. At 6-5, 235 pounds, he possesses the characteristics of an NFL prospect, and may well be heading up to the pros shortly.

He is one of the most explosive players off the snap in college football.

The speed in rushing through the offensive line towards the ball carrier is truly one of the best in the nation. You match this up with a whopping 7’0” wingspan, and you can see why he’s been such a threat for the past three seasons.

He’s averaged 1.35 sacks per game since arriving at the Seminoles program, and in that department, you can see why there has been so much praise about him. Through seven games this year, Burns is fourth in the nation in total sacks with seven. He has proven to be a capable pass rusher when his team needs it and has shown up in key moments to make that happen.

His overall game has impressed many coaches and scouts across the nation, including his own coach.

Florida State’s defensive end coach, who has over 30 years of coaching at that side of the ball, talked to the Orlando Sentinel about what he sees in Burns’ game.

“In some ways, his get off and his bend reminds me of Myles Garrett — that’s the only guy I’ve been around that can do what Brain can do rushing the quarterback,”

Although it may just be a way to boost Burns’ confidence, it still means something. Being even remotely close in comparison to the first overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft should show a lot to what he can do on the defensive line. The ability to get through the holes and create contact at the point of attack has proven to be a great success for Burns’ game.

These are two players who could turn this game around for FSU. Both have proven track records to become a serious threat if the game becomes close.