Written by Danny Morales
Things don’t look any easier for the FSU Seminoles after a dramatic overtime win over rival Clemson Tigers last week, now the ‘Noles will head to Raleigh, N.C. to face undefeated N.C. State.
FSU will go into this Week 5 matchup with the Wolfpack still ranked No. 1 in the polls, but the more important number here is 16, as in the number of consecutive wins the ‘Noles have pulled off against ACC opponents since losing to N.C. State back on October 6, 2012.
Since then FSU has only lost one more game, 2012 against Florida, and have gone on to win two ACC championships, the Orange Bowl and a National Championship.
Now the ‘Noles will travel back to Carter-Finley Stadium riding a 19-game winning streak, and hopefully to arm of Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Jameis Winston.
“They’ve got very good players and I think they have very passionate fans.” said FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher about N.C. State’s home-field advantage. “The field sits close to you, it’s down in a pit, so it’s a little different and they have a passionate fan base and they have very good players and they’re coached well. You combine all those things it makes for a tough venue.”
Winston will start this Saturday after missing last week’s game against Clemson due to a suspension, but Fisher hopes the one-game suspension helps the redshirt sophomore stay out of trouble.
“I think anytime you’re called out and you make a mistake it does.” said Fisher. “We have to learn and process and move (on).”
Now FSU must use the win against Clemson and continue to play team football, after showing the world they aren’t just Jameis Winston’s team. The ‘Noles will have to hope to improve on their running game this week, after only mustering up 13 yards on the ground against Clemson.
“Sometimes you just have to play yourself into it.” said Fisher about the offensive line. “Sometimes you can be a hair off on the rhythm and the timing. That is what is going on with our running game at times. There is no consistency even with our backs.”
The ‘Noles have rushed for 329 yards in three games, which includes a 210 yard game against FCS opponent The CItadel. If FSU hopes to avoid future scares like last weekend’s, their running game needs to start pulling it’s weight.
N.C. State’s offense runs through their quarterback Jacoby Brissett, who has 1,005 yards and 10 touchdowns with only one interception so far this season. Brissett has been efficient this season, completing 69.7 percent of his passes.
FSU’s defense will be a good test for the junior quarterback whose last four opponents have been Presbyterian, USF, Old Dominion and Georgia Southern. Brissett hasn’t seen athletes like P.J. Williams and Mario Edwards Jr. so far this season, FSU could blitz early and often to try and rattle him.
The Wolfpack also feature a two-headed running game featuring Shadrach Thornton and Matt Dayes. N.C. State ranks 24th in the FBS with 248.8 rushing yards per game, making them a threat both in the air and on the ground.
FSU (3-0, 1-0) and N.C. State (4-0, 0-0) are both in the ACC’s Atlantic division, so that means this game not only has national implications for the ‘Noles, but it also have ACC championship implications for both teams.
Kickoff for FSU vs. N.C. State is set for 3:30 p.m. with the game being televised on ABC.