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Wake Forest vs Florida State Preview

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Will this finally be the year?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: APR 06 Florida State Spring Game Photo by Logan Stanford/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

In what could be the biggest game of the season for the Deacs, Florida State comes to town! Let’s see what the ‘Noles have to offer(is it a lot? is it a little? who on earth knows)

Game Date: September 28th

Opponent: Florida State

Conference: ACC

Head Coach: Willie Taggart, 2nd Year

2018-19 record: 5-7

Bowl Game: None

Wins: Samford, Northern Illinois, Louisville, Wake Forest, Boston College

Losses: Virginia Tech, Syracuse, Clemson, NC State, Notre Dame, Florida

Yards per Game: 361 (103rd in NCAA)

Yards Allowed per Game: 416 (79th in NCAA)

Points per Game: 21.9 (113th in NCAA)

Points Allowed per Game: 31.5 (91st in NCAA)

S&P+ Rankings (2018-19 season):

  • Overall: 71
  • Offense: 97
  • Defense: 37
  • Special Teams: 96
  • SOS: 48

Projected S&P+ Rankings (2019-2020 season):

  • Overall: 28
  • Offense: 72
  • Defense: 15

Key Departures

  • Deondre Francois QB
  • Jacques Patrick RB
  • Amir Rasul RB
  • Brian Burns DE
  • Moral Decency

Notable Returns

  • Cam Akers RB
  • James Blackman QB
  • Tamorrion Terry WR

Last year many people, myself included went into the FSU game thinking that Wake had a decent chance of pulling off the win. FSU had worse injuries than Wake, their offensive line was putrid at best, Blackman wasn’t all that great. And yet, Wake couldn’t do it.

It’s Florida State, they will forever be a team that has blue-chip talent up and down the roster and well last year, they got the short end of the stick. OL injuries turned that team into one that struggled doing anything offensively, and in turn affected the counting stats for an otherwise pretty darn good defense. FSU went out and hired Kendall Briles as their Offensive Coordinator(and if you haven’t heard of him you’ve heard of his father). They got transfer Alex Hornibrook in case the OL lets Blackman get destroyed back there. But there’s still questions to be answered for the offense. Can Blackman recreate who he was at the end of the season, or is he just average? Is the offensive line good enough, and healthy enough to keep him upright and allow Cam Akers to actually have holes to run through? If Cam Akers suffers an injury... what on earth do they do back there? Will the tempo work?

On defense, you have a lot less questions. Outside of counting stats that were muddied by the offense turning it over every 5 seconds, they were a pretty good squad and still are one even after the loss of Brian Burns to the Carolina Panthers. Out of 17 fumbles forces and 72 passes defended, the Seminoles only ended up with 3 fumble recoveries and 12 INTs(yuck.) Here I really only see two questions that stick out to me: first the tempo of the offense. As we see with our own Demon Deacons, the tempo of the offense can put a strain on the defense. If you score too quickly or go 3 and out in 15 seconds, you dont’ give your defense a breather and that wears them down more and more as games/the season goes on. If the offense can’t produce and the defense employ a bend not break approach and make it work? Secondly, can the secondary right the ship? They were 60th in passing marginal explosiveness and, in open-play situations, 84th in big-play rate. In layman’s terms: they really really liked giving up big plays.

Per usual this team is one of the gate-keepers to the upper echelon of the ACC and if Wake wants to be there, they have to knock them off sooner rather than later. Let’s see how much the Deacs have progressed.