Wake Forest at Florida State
Saturday, 12:30 pm PT - ESPN
CRIS Opener: Florida State -23.5 O/U 54
CRIS Current: Florida State -21 O/U 53
FSU escaped Miami with a 20-19 victory when the Hurricanes missed a game-tying extra point late in the fourth quarter. FSU now comes home to face a tough defensive-minded Wake Forest team. Although FSU will be coached not to overlook the Demon Deacons having the same focus and effort that its had against Miami could be difficult. The Seminoles enter this game with a bunch of injuries plus starting linebacker Matthew Thomas will serve a first half suspension (ejected for targeting last week). Adding pressure to the secondary which has been unsteady since the loss of star CB Derwin James four weeks ago is the loss of starting FS Nate Andrews (45 career games, 24 starts) who has been lost for the season after tearing a pectoral muscle last Saturday.
Wake Forest meanwhile played through and to some extent used adverse weather conditions at home last week to defeat up-tempo Syracuse, 28-9. The Demon Deacons defense played very well and turned it into a methodical game. For the season, Wake Forest’s disruptive defensive unit now ranks 26th nationally in tackles for loss and 16th in sacks. The rush defense has held opponents to 118.7 ypg thus far but they’ll be tested by Dalvin Cook who over the last three weeks rushed for 557 yard on 84 carries (6.6 ypc). On the offensive side for Wake Forest this week, talk of starting quarterback Kendall Hinton returning have been curbed after his injured knee showed visible signs Tuesday of not being ready to go.
From a situational standpoint, this game would qualify as even more of a potential letdown for Florida State if their showdown with Clemson was next week. However, FSU has a bye sandwiched between this contest and the Clemson game so this may be a sigh rather than a deep exhale for the Seminoles. Still, I believe that Dave Clawson’s club will bring more intensity to this matchup and their defense looks capable of slowing the Florida State offense down enough to stay under the number. Also of concern for the host here is the shoulder injury to starting quarterback Deondre Francois who will start but we may see his running attempts limited a bit.
Wake Forest looks to be the right style of opponent for this spot to give Florida State some difficulty but a major consideration when handicapping this game has to be the difference in strength of schedule. In six game thus far, FSU has played five teams headed for bowl games and all are arguably Top 25 caliber. Wake Forest on the other hand has played maybe one, NC State, who they lost on the road to, 33-16. Wake Forest will be very methodical offensively and could garner enough chain moving first downs to grind clock while FSU figures to play this one (even though it’s an ACC divisional game) somewhat conservative with the mission statement of winning and staying healthy. Play it under.