The Florida State Seminoles and North Carolina State Wolfpack go to battle on Saturday night in a game that has plenty of implications on the ACC Atlantic division.
Jimbo Fisher's club is coming off a convincing out-of-conference road win against South Florida last week, but it also already has two dominating ACC wins to put it at the top of the division.
NC State, meanwhile, fell to Miami in a shootout last week to get conference play started on the wrong foot. Still, a huge upset here would put the Wolfpack in the driver's seat in the division.
And I mean huge.
Let's take a look at everything you need to know about this matchup.
When: Saturday, Oct. 6, at 8 p.m. ET
Where: Carter-Finley Stadium, Raleigh, N.C.
Live Streaming: WatchESPN
Betting Line: Florida State (-14.5), according to Covers
Florida State Injuries (via USA Today)
DB Justin Bright, Head, Questionable
T Garrett Faircloth, Hip, Questionable
WR Josh Gehres, Hamstring, Questionable
LB Ukeme Eligwe, Hand, Questionable
OL Daniel Foose, Back, Questionable
DE Chris Casher, Knee, Out
NC State Injuries (via USA Today)
G Zach Allen, Leg, Questionable
T Rob Crisp, Back, Questionable
G Andrew Wallace, Foot, Questionable
HB James Washington, Ankle, Questionable
HB Mustafa Greene, Disciplinary, Questionable
What's At Stake?
It's national championship or bust for Florida State, the newly-crowned No. 3 team in the country.
The Seminoles don't have a menacing schedule—the only remaining game against a ranked opponent comes in November at Florida—so they can't afford a loss, especially against a Wolfpack team whose defense looked so vulnerable last week.
On the other side of things, NC State is battling for the No. 2 spot in the ACC Atlantic with Clemson and a solid bowl game. An upset would immediately put them back in the national spotlight.
Florida State Player to Watch: EJ Manuel, QB
If I was that guy, and I am, I would say that EJ wrote the manual on quarterbacking.
Yeah, I went there.
The all-important senior quarterback has completed a ridiculous 73.3 of his passes this year for 1,147 yards, nine touchdowns and one interception, all of which add up to what appears to be an unreal 176.7 QB rating.
Not bad for a dual-threat quarterback who has also rushed for 197 yards and a score on 5.8 yards per carry (up from 1.4 during his junior season).
To top it all off, NC State is allowing 8.9 yards per pass (115th in the nation) and 341.5 passing yards per game (119th).
And Manuel thought Clemson's defense was easy to pick apart.
NC State Player to Watch: David Amerson, CB
That being said, Clemson doesn't even come close to having someone like David Amerson. No team in the country does.
While the Wolfpack secondary certainly struggles as a unit, it isn't because of Amerson, who brings with him the complete package. He's big, strong, fast, has good instincts and possesses terrific playmaking ability, as evidenced by his three interceptions this year and NCAA-leading 12 last season.
This is, without a doubt, the best NFL cornerback prospect in the nation, and if anyone is going to slow down Manuel and the Seminoles, it's Amerson.
It's just too bad he can't turn into Bugs Bunny and play multiple positions to cover the entire field, as Manuel tends to spread the ball out to many different receivers.
The combination of EJ Manuel, his countless weapons and Florida State's stellar defense will be too much for the Wolfpack, even though they are always tough at home and have an absolutely menacing front seven.
Florida State 31, NC State 14
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