NC State vs. FSU: 10 Things We Learned in Seminoles' Win
The Florida State Seminoles were in total control on Saturday when they hosted the North Carolina State Wolfpack, and FSU came away with a 49-17 victory and remain undefeated on the season.
Jameis Winston and the FSU offense got out to a 42-0 lead in the first half before substituting out for backups who coasted to an easy win.
But what did we learn from this easy win for the Seminoles?
Here are 10 things I picked up while watching the dominant display.
FSU Received Dominant Blocking from Offensive Line and Wide Receivers
The Florida State offensive line and wide receivers set the table for a dominant rushing performance in the first half, with runs like this (GIF courtesy of the Bleacher Report Social Team) helping the Seminoles get out to a 35-0 lead in the first quarter.
According to Bud Elliott of Tomahawk Nation, Jimbo Fisher praised his offensive line after the Clemson game, and he can do the same after the NC State game. Winning the battle in the trenches goes a long way in college football, and Saturday against NCSU, the Seminoles did just that.
Looking ahead, if FSU plans to remain undefeated, it will need to run the ball to keep pressure off of Winston and keep defenses honest. Luckily, it has the blockers on the line and at wide receiver who can do just that.
Running Game Just Was Solid Without James Wilder Jr.
All of the attention focused toward the Seminoles will gravitate toward Winston, but they have a stable of running backs who are fully capable of carrying the load as well.
Devonta Freeman and Karlos Williams combined for 178 yards and three touchdowns on Saturday, as they filled in for the injured James Wilder Jr.
The Seminoles don't even need a solid running game with a Heisman front-runner at quarterback, but the fact that they have so many capable runners means they can keep defenses honest and never be seen as a pass-only team.
Jameis Winston Isn't Perfect, but He's Still Really Good
There was an interception on Winston's stat sheet on Saturday, but it was a perfect throw which was dropped by his receiver.
But there were certainly throws that the freshman phenom missed, especially when rolling out of the pocket.
He's a fantastic player who throws well while under pressure, and he was let down by his receivers multiple times on Saturday, but this was not his most dominant performance. He's still a Heisman candidate, but this game did not show anything new or exciting from the Seminoles signal-caller.
FSU’s Receivers Are Talented, but Inconsistent
Winston can be as special of a quarterback as college football has ever seen, but if his receivers can't haul in passes that hit their hands, he won't be able to succeed and lead his team to a national championship.
Kelvin Benjamin dropped a pass (seen in the photo above) which turned into an interception, and multiple other FSU receivers let good throws drop to the turf on Saturday, and that's a concern for FSU moving forward.
Benjamin, Rashad Greene and Kenny Shaw are fantastic players, but they must catch the football to be sure to support their quarterback in more competitive games.
The Florida State Offense Was Not Heavily Tested
This game between FSU and NC State was a conference game, but it seemed like an early season tune-up against an overmatched opponent for the Seminoles.
That was especially evident on offense, as the Wolfpack had absolutely no answer for the Seminoles running or passing game.
The tackling from NCSU was poor, the defensive backs could not keep up with the wide receivers and there wasn't much pressure on Winston.
The Seminoles must be better and sharper if they want to win the remainder of their games and stay undefeated. They let their foot off the gas very early in this game and need to get back to their best ahead of a big Top 10 matchup with Miami next weekend.
Missed Tackles Could Come Back to Haunt Them Later
The Florida State first-team defense was great, keeping NCSU off the board and preventing it from crossing midfield for a large portion of the first half.
But the players did miss tackles and show a lack of fundamentals that will hurt against tougher competition.
The FSU defense is loaded with talent and flew to the football on every play, but against Miami, Florida, and other tough competition, it won't get away with missed tackles on defense.
Terrence Brooks Is a Veteran Leader of a Solid Defensive Backfield
The Florida State defense has a plethora of playmakers in the defensive backfield, and they're led by senior safety Terrence Brooks.
Brooks had a huge first quarter against North Carolina State, intercepting a pass very early in the game to set up a score and forcing a fumble to set up another score.
The FSU defense broke up a majority of the passes thrown in the first half, with a few dropped interceptions as well. The players are opportunistic and talented, but Brooks is certainly the leader of that group.
FSU's Backups Couldn't Keep the Shutout, but Gained Good Experience
The Florida State defense was loaded with second- and third-string players in the second half of the game, and they were unable to maintain the shutout the starters had going in the first half.
But it's still a positive moment for the Seminoles to get some snaps for their backups against a starting ACC offense, as they now have tape to watch and lessons to learn after allowing 17 points to the Wolfpack.
And because the starters left so early, they're rested and ready to go for the Miami game, and some of the backups will have buoyed confidence and will be ready to get into the game if they're called upon.
FSU Wasn’t Caught Looking Ahead, It's Ready for Miami
Florida State had every reason to have a letdown game against North Carolina State.
The Wolfpack upset the Seminoles in 2012, and Florida State is in between games against Top 10 teams in Clemson (last week) and Miami (next week).
But the team was focused and dominant from the opening kickoff and showed no signs of thinking about Miami or the BCS standings or anything else but beating NC State.
Fisher and his coaches should be commended for coaching their team well from a schematic standpoint, and also from a mental preparation standpoint.
The Florida State Program Doesn't Forget a Legend
The Seminoles spent Saturday paying tribute to the head coach who helped define Florida State football during his years with the program as they held "Bobby Bowden Day" in Tallahassee.
As you can see in the video above, Bowden got to take part in the pregame ritual of stabbing the spear at midfield, and he also was commemorated at halftime by the Florida State band, as you can see from this tweet.
Bowden coached the Seminoles from 1976 until 2009, and won 12 ACC Championships and two national titles.
It's great to see a proud program pay tribute to a man who put it on the map and set it up to be the Top Five team it is today.