The Daily Nole

Preview: Weakened Florida State Heads to Duke Looking to Right Ship

Jeremy Esbrandt/FSU athletics

Who: Florida State Seminoles (1-3, 0-2 ACC) at Duke Blue Devils (4-2, 1-2 ACC)
Where: Wallace Wade Stadium in Durham, North Carolina
When: Saturday, Oct. 14 at 12 p.m. EST (ESPN2)

Neither Florida State nor Duke come in to Saturday’s contest on a high note. The Seminoles lost to their bitter rival Miami at home, while the Blue Devils have suffered back-to-back debilitating losses. Before the season, many had penciled this in as an easy mark in the win column for FSU. Now, FSU is barely a touchdown favorite.

How will the Seminoles respond after losing a game that effectively shattered their expectations? Will Duke be motivated to try and pull off their first win ever over the Florida State? There are a lot of questions coming in to this game and very few answers for two teams that are almost halfway through the regular season. To break down Saturday’s contest, lead writer Clint Eiland and editor Mike Ferguson give you their thoughts:

Biggest FSU Advantage

Clint: Pass Rush Ability – Despite playing a fairly weak schedule overall, Duke allows three sacks per game. That’s tied for 110th in the nation in sacks allowed. Florida State could easily overwhelm the Duke offensive line if Josh Sweat, Derrick Nnadi, Demarcus Christmas, and Brian Burns are all on the same page. That group played fantastically against Miami, especially in the first half. Given the importance of quarterback Daniel Jones to the Duke offense, it’s imperative that he feels the pressure.

Mike: Overall Talent — Things might not be going well for Florida State at the moment, but there is still a significant gap between the Seminoles and Duke when it comes to the amount of talent on the field. If the Seminoles can play smart and motivated, the talent gap should be too much for Duke to overcome. David Cutcliffe has done an outstanding job during his tenure at Duke, but the Blue Devils don’t have the horses to run with an FSU team that plays close to its ability.

Biggest Duke Advantage

Clint: Daniel Jones – Opposing quarterbacks tend to have pretty good outings against Florida State. If the trend holds Saturday, Jones might give the defense its worst showing yet. He’s a genuinely talented quarterback that is being talked up as an NFL draft prospect. What he’s able to do at Duke is nothing short of astounding. He had a rough outing against Virginia last week, but don’t expect him to fall off a cliff after one bad game. If the defense is slow out the gate, it could be turn into a shootout.

Mike: Linebackers — If there is one position group that I would take for Duke over Florida State, it’s the linebackers. Matthew Thomas is an excellent player for FSU, but Ro’Derrick Hoskins is banged up and Jacob Pugh has yet to record a sack. For Duke, redshirt sophomore Joe Giles-Harris one of the best players in the conference at the position with 58 tackles and 10 for loss already this season. Junior Ben Humphreys is also a very good player for the Blue Devils. Those two will need a big day to slow down FSU’s ground game, tight end Ryan Izzo and to put pressure on quarterback James Blackman

Game Breaker

Clint: Can the Pass Rush Repeat Last Week’s First Half Performance? – As mentioned above, Florida State’s defensive line was dominant in the first half. They absolutely mauled the Miami offense and turned Rosier into a negative. They should have an easier time doing the exact same thing against Duke.

Mike: How Motivated Will FSU Be? At 1-3 with the ACC and College Football Playoff out the window and coming off a loss to one of its most bitter rivals, I’m interested to see how motivated the Seminoles will be when they head to Durham on Saturday. If FSU plays smart and focused, this should be a victory, but if it does not, Duke is capable of pulling the upset.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply