Florida State Preview and Prediction

Florida State Preview and Prediction

Football

Florida State Preview and Prediction

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Once again Clemson looks for their first ACC road win when they travel to Florida State Saturday night.  A win by the Tigers would put them right back in the Atlantic division race.

The Series: 

Saturday’s meeting between Clemson and Florida State will be the 24th meeting for the two ACC teams.  Florida State leads the overall series 16-7.  The Noles lead the series 9-3 at Florida State.  The Tigers won the last meeting 40-24 at Clemson in 2009.  In 2008 Florida State defeated Clemson 41-27. 

Tiger’s Offense vs Nole’s Defense: 

The Clemson offense finally found the endzone against North Carolina State.  Redzone problems including turnovers and missed field goals kept the Clemson offense in check most of the day.  Clemson ranks last in the league in redzone performance.

14 point won’t get it done Saturday night at Doak Campbell.  The Tigers will need to take advanatage of their redzone opportunities if they want to bring home their first road victory o the year. 

Florida State is third in the ACC in scoring defense only giving up 19.8 points per game.  The Noles are also third in the league in total defense giving up 333 yards per game.

The Tigers must throw the ball well Saturday night.  The weakness of the Noles defense is their passing defense where they rank 11th in the ACC.  It will all start up front for the Tigers.  Can the offense line give Kyle time to find his young receivers as they work to get open.  Florida State leads the ACC in sacks with 38 so the offensive line will have their hands full.  The Tigers do lead the ACC is sacks give up so it will be strength against strength.

The strength of the Noles defense is their rushing defense where they rank second in the ACC only giving up 108 yards per game.  Clemson will try to get Jamie Harper going as he returns home to Florida.  Last week Harper carried the ball 25 times for 70 yards as he played sick.  This week he should be healthy and will need to at least match last weeks numbers so Clemson can have a balanced offensive attack.  The Tigers will not beat FSU on the ground, but they must run enough to keep the Noles defense honest so they can be successful through the air.

Look for the Tigers to move the ball well through the air as Kyle saves one of his best performances of his career for his final game in Florida.  Hopkins and McNeal no longer play like freshmen and they will do enough to allow the Tigers to move the ball well against a defense that is struggling down the stretch.

Edge:  Even

Tiger’s Defense vs Nole’s Offense: 

The Clemson defense is playing as well as any Tiger defense has in a long time.  Clemson’s defense leads the ACC in scoring defense only giving up 17.6 points per game.

The Tiger’s defense will need to bring their A game to Florida to beat the Noles.  Don’t expect an offensive explosion from the Tigers so the defense will have to keep Clemson in the game.

Clemson has moved up to 4th in the ACC in total defense, ranking just behing the Noles as they only give up 339 yards per game.

First Clemson will have to find a way to slow down the Florida State rushing game that is averaging 196 yards per game.  The front four for the Tigers along with the linebackers will need to be able to stop the run so the secondary can concentrate on stopping the Nole’s outstanding passing game.

Expect to see Christian Ponder in at quarterback Saturday afternoon.  He may not be 100 percent, but he will give it a go if he can.  Ponder and the Noles are averaging 214 yards per game through the air.  If the Tigers can get some pressure on Ponder they should be able to force a few turnover which would be critical.  Expect a few tricks from coach Steele as he tries to defeat a team he is very familiar with from his days at Florida State.

Look for the Noles to get some points, but for the Clemson defense to keep it close and give the Tigers a chance to win in the second half.

Edge:  Tigers 

Special Teams:

Clemson and Florida State have both struggled to hit field goals the past few weeks.  A miss at the end of the game last week cost the Noles a victory over North Carolina.  The Tigers are only 7-14 on the season on field goals while Florida State is 10-14.
 
Dawson Zimmerman continues to be strong for the Tigers averaging 43.6 yards per punt.  Zimmerman is currently fourth in the ACC. 
 
Marcus Gilchrist and Greg Reid rank 3rd and 4th in the league in punt returns.  Reid had a critical kickoff return late in the game last week that setup the field goal that would have won the game for the Noles.  Marcus is now 2nd in the ACC in kickoff returns with a 28.3 average.
 
Until the Tigers show that they can hit a field goal the advantage has to go to the opponent.
 
Edge:  Florida State

Overall Analysis:

Once again it is hard to pick a winner when the Tigers hit the field.  There is always a question about which team will show.  The Tigers have yet to win on the road this season, although they did play well against Auburn.  Against North Carolina and Boston College the Tigers played poorly.

The Tigers now have a shot at redemption and a chance to get back in the Atlantic Division race.  In order to get the win the Tigers will have to find a way to play well for four quarters on the road.  They can’t afford to turn the ball over or make mistakes on the road. 

The offense showed some signs of life last week although they only scored 14 points.  The defense had their best performance of the season and one of their best since the early 90’s.  It will take a similar effort by the defense to give the Tigers a chance to come home with a victory.

Honestly this game could go either way.  This prediction has been a hard one, but we have to give one so here goes.

Special teams will be the deciding factor in this game and that doesn’t mean good news for the Tigers.  Look for the Tigers to once again have a chance to win in the second half, but look for the Noles to pull out a close victory.  

Florida State 24  Clemson 20

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