The No. 16 Florida State Seminoles host the NC State Wolfpack on Saturday, November 14 in ACC play. The Seminoles have won each of the last two meetings, including a 56-41 road win last year as 16.5-point favorites.
Florida State (7-2, 5-2 ACC) is coming off a tough 13-23 road loss to Clemson last week. This game was tied 13-13 at the end of three quarters before the Seminoles gave way in the fourth and were outscored 10-0 the rest of the way.
NC State (6-3, 2-3 ACC) earned a 24-8 road win at Boston College last week to become bowl eligible. The Wolfpack defense came through in a big way, limiting the Eagles to 285 yards while forcing four turnovers.
Kickoff inside Doak Campbell Stadium is scheduled for 12:30 EST Saturday afternoon with ESPN3 providing the television coverage. Taking a look at the lines in Las Vegas, I find Florida State as a 10-point favorite over NC State with a total set of 52.5 points.
I can’t help but think Florida State is going to come out flat this week after that loss to Clemson. It just had its run of three straight ACC titles come to an end with that defeat. The Seminoles were in the running for the national championship each of the last two years, and now that dream has ended as well. I just don’t expect them to be motivated at all this week as they suffer a hangover from that Clemson loss.
NC State, meanwhile, wants revenge from its 41-56 home loss to Florida State last year. This game was much closer than the final score showed as the Wolfpack were only outgained 520-531 for the game. They were outscored 35-17 after intermission in what was a tight game until the fourth quarter. Jacoby Brissett had one of the best games of his career in that contest, throwing for 359 yards and three touchdowns.
Brissett and company coincidentally lost by that identical score at home to Clemson 41-56 two weeks ago. But this team showed a lot of fight last week in a 24-8 win at Boston College. That gives these teams two of their four common opponents. NC State is 2-2 and outscoring those teams by 3.0 points per game, while Florida State is 3-1 against those teams and outscoring them by 8.0 points per game. But Florida State has been outgained by 13.2 yards per game against the same four teams that NC State has played. These teams are closer to equals than this 10-point spread indicates.
Brissett is having another fine season in 2015. He leads an NC State offense that is putting up 34.6 points per game. Brissett is completing 64 percent of his passes for 1,798 yards with a sensational 14-to-2 TD/INT ratio, while also rushing for 141 yards and two scores. He should find plenty of success against a Florida State defense that allowed 512 total yards to Clemson last week.
While the NC State offense is firing on all cylinders behind Brissett, it’s the defense that I’m most excited about heading into this game. The Wolfpack are only giving up 19.7 points, 296.2 yards per game and 4.8 per play to rank among the top stop units in the country. Florida State is giving up 344 yards per game and 5.0 per play for comparison’s sake.
The Wolfpack are 14-3-1 ATS in the last 18 meetings, including 6-1 ATS in their last seven trips to Tallahassee.
NC State is 8-1 ATS in Saturday road games over the last two seasons. The Wolfpack are 6-0 ATS in their last six road games after playing two straight conference games. The Wolfpack are 8-1 ATS in their last nine road games overall. The Seminoles are 2-6 ATS in their last eight vs. a team with a winning record. The Wolfpack are 14-3-1 ATS in the last 18 meetings, including 6-1 ATS in their last seven trips to Tallahassee.