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Wake Forest Football: Potential Impact of Hurricane Ian on Saturday’s Game at FSU

The weather might have a massive effect on the outcome

NCAA Football: Clemson at Wake Forest Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Wake Forest is set to travel to Tallahassee this weekend to take on the 23rd ranked Florida State Seminoles on Saturday. There is, however, one slight problem with that—a massive category 4 hurricane named Ian.

As of the writing of this article, Ian’s wind speeds had hit 155 mph—just 2 mph away from becoming a category 5 hurricane just off the coast of Florida. The latest track of the storm has the eye moving through central Florida on Friday and back around towards the North Carolina mountains by Sunday.

While that keeps the eye away from Tallahassee, the weather is still probably going to have a large effect on Saturday’s game. First and foremost is travel. I don’t what the typical travel schedule looks like for away games, but the Deacs are going to have to make their way to Florida sometime between now and Friday, which puts them landing in Tallahassee pretty close to a hurricane—not ideal. Clawson has maintained that he is prepared to play so long as it is safe to travel, and Florida State has stated they believe they will be able to safely play Saturday’s game.

Assuming Ian takes the predicted path (never a guarantee), there is still a good chance it could be wet and windy in Tallahassee on Saturday. Unfortunately for Wake Forest, wet and windy is not a great recipe for throwing the ball down the field. The Deacs have relied heavily on the passing game this season, with almost 72% of their yards coming through the air. If the weather makes that more difficult, the offense may have trouble moving the ball against the Seminoles. As we saw in the Clemson game, the only thing that really opened up the run game in the second half for Wake Forest was the Tigers dropping more guys deep because they were getting killed by long balls. If the threat of the deep pass isn’t there for the Deacs, due to something like 20 mph winds, FSU will be able to stack the box like we saw against Liberty and Clemson, making things really difficult for Wake Forest.

Florida State, on the other hand, is currently 13th in the nation in rushing yards with 226.8 yards per game. Almost 45% of their 500 yards per game come on the ground. Plus, FSU’s top 3 backs are all averaging over 5 yards per carry this season. Wind and rain would likely affect their offense significantly less than the more pass-centric offense of Wake Forest. That means poor weather conditions would probably give the Seminoles a bigger advantage in this game, which could be one reason the line on Saturday’s game has moved from FSU -4 to FSU -7 over the past 3 days.

Now all that being said, the weather may be perfectly fine on Saturday and have almost no impact on the game. I am clearly not a meteorologist, but it seems like it really all could come down to what path Ian takes and how quickly it moves up the coast of the United States. I would guess the farther west the storm moves in the forecast cone above, the greater chance of some wind and rain for Saturday’s game. Again, not a meteorologist.

Stay safe out there and Go Deacs!