Florida State Versus North Carolina State: 10 Reasons To Watch
The Thursday night ESPN game this week features a match up between two of the best teams in the ACC Atlantic division.
The Florida State Seminoles travel to Raleigh, NC, tonight to take on the North Carolina State Wolfpack. Whoever wins this game will be one step closer to representing their division in the conference title game.
There's plenty at stake tonight for both coaches as well as the players, many of whom have NFL dreams that could be at stake tonight with plenty of scouts in attendance.
Forget the World Series! Here's 10 reasons why to watch this game tonight!
Russell Wilson is one of the most electrifying players in college football.
He is averaging over 330 yards of total offense per game, which is good for 3rd in the country. Wilson is a great rusher as well as a gifted passer, and he has been the main reason why NC State can say they still have a shot at winning the conference.
Wilson needs to be accurate and make good decisions for NC State to have a chance. In the past three games, the Wolfpack have turned the ball over 10 times. Turnovers must be kept to a minimum.
NC State has deep threat receivers for Wilson to look for and his play alone should be enough of a reason to watch tonight.
NC State's Receiving Corps
The Wolfpack feature a trio of receivers who can run with the best of them.
Owen Spencer, Jarvis Williams, and T.J. Graham are all averaging over 15 yards per catch, meaning they will really test the skill of Florida State's corners. The Seminole pass defense has been suspect thus far this season, and Russell Wilson will be looking to exploit them early.
This game will feature plenty of down field passes, most of which should come from the arm of Wilson.
FSU's Rushing Attack
Florida State has the 19th ranked rushing attack in FBS, featuring a three headed monster of backs that can really create headaches for opposing defensive coordinators.
Chris Thompson, Jermaine Thomas, and Ty Jones are all averaging over 6.0 YPC, and they each compliment each other perfectly. If NC State can't stop the run, they'll be in for a long night against this balanced and dangerous rushing trio.
Last year's version of this contest was a great game for offenses.
The two teams combined for over 1000 yards of total offense and 87 points. What better way to spend a Thursday night than by watching two of the most explosive offenses in the ACC duke it out?
Wilson and Ponder have been here before, and they're ready to do battle once again. Let's put it this way; neither quarterback will allow this game to come down to who has the better defense. They want to win the game with the ball in their hands.
Brandon Jenkins is one of the most exciting defensive players in the ACC this year. He is undoubtedly one of the reasons why there will be so many NFL scouts at this game tonight.
He has 7.0 sacks on the season and 11.5 tackles for loss. With a mobile quarterback like Wilson on the other side of the ball, expect the speedy Jenkins to by flying around and looking to push the Wolfpack backwards.
If Florida State wins this game, Brandon Jenkins will be a big reason why.
Christian Ponder Playing With Injury
Christian Ponder is another great NFL prospect that will be featured in this game. He has had a great season thus far, but it will be interesting to see how he plays if he isn't at 100%.
With a bruised bursa sac in his throwing elbow, Ponder will need to channel his inner Brett Favre in order to persevere and take on the Wolfpack. If he can play well injured, that will build his credibility in the eyes of NFL Scouts.
Also, he threw three picks two weeks ago in a win against Boston College. Watch the game to find out if Ponder, one of the best in the ACC, can bounce back and lead his team to victory.
Florida State's Defense
We've already heard about Brandon Jenkins and his dominance, but the Florida State defense is more than just one player.
Much of the credit can be attributed to Mark Stoops, their new defensive coordinator. Mike Stoops' brother is leading the 13th ranked scoring defense in FBS, and the squad ranks 5th in tackles for loss.
Their defensive line is as good as any, and they will be a big test for the NC State hogs in the trenches.
Can NC State Bounce Back?
The Wolfpack endured a tough overtime loss in their last contest against the East Carolina Pirates. It will be interesting to see if this team can bounce back after suffering a loss in a game that I'm sure they feel they should have won.
Tom O'Brien will have to rally his team and make sure they realize the importance of this game. The last game is over, and it's time to move on and play a game against their division rivals.
While they would have been in a much better position if they had beat the Pirates, they can reestablish themselves with a win at home against the Seminoles.
Jimbo Fisher Establishing a Legacy
Bobby Bowden essentially created college football in Tallahassee, and I'm sure Jimbo Fisher has the utmost respect for his friend and mentor.
That being said, a win tonight at NC State would go a long way for Fisher in establishing his own legacy. The Seminoles haven't been to the ACC Championship Game since 2005, and a win tonight would have them on a collision course with such a game.
Bowden was one of the best, but his time is over. Fisher needs to coach his team to victory to make a name for himself.
A North Carolina State Win
While Jimbo Fisher wants to win and establish his legacy, I think Tom O'Brien and the Wolfpack will be able to pull off the upset. It will be a close game with passing offenses dominating the scoreboard. Who doesn't love an upset? Tune into ESPN tonight at 7:30 PM ET to see NC State knock off the No. 16 Seminoles.
Final Score: NC State 35 Florida State 31