Florida State had plenty of time to work out what went wrong in a season-opening loss to Alabama back on Sept. 2 and will finally get a chance to take the field again when it hosts North Carolina State in its ACC opener on Saturday. The 11th-ranked Seminoles had their scheduled home opener against Louisiana-Monroe cancelled on Sept. 9 and had a meeting with Miami last weekend postponed due to Hurricane Irma.
Florida State had its practice schedule interrupted by Hurricane Irma as well and is anxious to shake off the rust and make sure it is rounding into form as the ACC slate kicks off. “We’ll find out,” Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher told reporters when asked about his team’s form. “I’ve never had to do this. It’s new on me, too. Listen, all you can do is control what you can control. Practice well, prepare well, know what you’re going to do and go play. Nobody knows anything after that. I think we practiced well. I think we know what we’re doing, and we’ve just got to go play well.” The Wolfpack are playing their first true road game and are anxious to prove they can play with the teams at the top of the ACC. NC State began its season with a tough 35-28 loss to South Carolina but recovered nicely while blowing away Marshall and Furman by a combined 86-36.
TV: Noon, ET, ABC or ESPN2. LINE: Florida State -13.
ABOUT NORTH CAROLINA STATE (2-1): The Wolfpack held a fourth-quarter lead over the Seminoles at home last season before suffering a 24-20 loss but showed off some of their offensive weapons with quarterback Ryan Finley and star tight end Jaylen Samuels each putting up big numbers. Those two are leading the NC State offense once again, and Finley is completing 75.6 percent of his passes for 987 yards, six touchdowns and no interceptions through the first three weeks. Samuels, who leads the team with 26 receptions and a pair of receiving TDs, showed off his skills in the running game with three rushing scores in the 49-16 triumph over Furman.
ABOUT FLORIDA STATE (0-1): The Seminoles not only lost the game to Alabama but also lost star quarterback Deondre Francois, who suffered a season-ending knee injury. Florida State will turn the offense over to freshman James Blackman, who at least got some extra time to study the playbook and practice with the first team during the layoff. “He has presence and poise,” Fisher said. “I’ve always said the No. 1 thing (quarterbacks) have to have, barring anything, I always look at it very early on, I say the No. 1 thing is presence. … They just have presence. When they talk, there’s a natural command to what they do and how they carry themselves. And I think James does that.”
1. Blackman will be the first true freshman to start at QB for the Seminoles since 1985.
2. Wolfpack DE Bradley Chubb is tied for seventh in school history with 39.5 tackles for loss.
3. Florida State took the last four meetings over and five straight at home.
PREDICTION: Florida State 35, NC State 31