College Football Week 9 Prediction: NC State at Florida State

This weekend, Russell Wilson and the NC State Wolfpack travel to Tallahassee to take on the very unpredictable and inconsistent Florida State Seminoles.  A lot is at stake in this ACC match up as FSU will look to stay alive in the hunt for the ACC Championship Game, and NC State will look to snap their current three game skid.  As always, College FootBlog will break down each team, analyze the upcoming game and make a score prediction.

Christian Ponder has quietly put together the best passing stats in the ACC (google images)

Christian Ponder has quietly put together the best passing stats in the ACC (google images)

Florida State

Strengths:  The 2009 season has not been good to the ‘Noles, but the play of quarterback, Christian Ponder, has been the only constant they have had.  Ponder currently leads the ACC in total offense and is fourth nationally.  Ponder’s passing yards per game is tops in the ACC and currently ranks fifth nationally.

In addition to the yardage, Ponder has also managed to throw 12 touchdowns, compared to just one interception.

The only time Ponder has had trouble finding the end zone was against the South Florida Bulls, but even in that match up, he threw for 269 yards and did not throw a pick.

Despite an inconsistent running game and an atrocious Seminole defense, Ponder has kept his team in each game until the final whistle.  He will have to continue his great play if FSU has a shot this Thursday.

Key Concerns:  FSU’s defense has been downright horrible this season.  Whether it has been against the run or the pass, there have been too many holes to count in Mickey Andrews’ defense.

How bad is it?  The ‘Noles’ defense currently ranks 99th in the FBS in total defense, giving up just over 413 yards per game.  That breaks down to 98th in the country in rush defense (182.43 yards/game) and 79th in the nation in pass defense (231.14 yards/game).

russell wilson

Russell Wilson has quietly put up great numbers for the Wolfpack for the second straight season (google images)

NC State

Strengths:  As with FSU, the Wolfpack also has a great quarterback who has been overlooked nationally, due to the team record.  Russell Wilson was the first team All-ACC quarterback last year as a freshman.

This season, Wilson has avoided the sophomore slump.  With very few dynamic players to distribute the ball to this season, he has thrown for 1659 yards, but more importantly, he has thrown for 16 touchdowns and only four interceptions.  Wilson has also added 249 yards and another three touchdowns on the ground this season, while averaging over four yards per carry.

Key Concerns:  Although statistically, the NC State defense does not appear that bad, stats can sometimes be deceiving.  The Wolfpack currently rank 59 nationally in passing defense, but they haven’t exactly faced the best passing attacks in the country.

The Wolfpack have gone up against two FCS opponents this season and have yet to face, and they also took on Steve Spurrier’s anti-Fun & Gun offense in South Carolina, which ranks 47th in the FBS.  The ‘Pack will have their hands full this weekend.

NC State Offense vs. Florida State Defense

Unless FSU’s defense pulls a 180, this weekend will be much of the same for the ‘Noles.  As much as the Seminoles have struggled on defense this season, mobility and athleticism at the quarterback position has given them even more fits–see Jacory Harris and Josh Nesbitt, who were both able to rack up huge days against FSU in Doak Campbell Stadium

Russell Wilson provides a nice blend of those two athletic QBs.  Wilson may be an even better passer than Harris–he just does not have the stable of WRs that Harris has at his disposal.  And Wilson has the ability to make plays with his feet as well.  Look for him to have a very big day.  EDGE:  NC State

Florida State Offense vs. NC State Defense

As previously mentioned, NC State’s defense, especially against the pass is not as good as the stats may indicate.  Look for Christian Ponder to continue to add to his great season and distribute the ball to all of his weapons on offense.  This Seminole offense will present the biggest challenge the Wolfpack has faced so far this season.  Ponder should also have a very big day.  EDGE:  FSU

Special Teams

NC State’s TJ Graham is a solid returner and has already brought one kickoff back for a touchdown this season, and kicker Josh Czajkowski has converted on 7 of 9 field goal attempts. 

Florida State counters with a couple of solid return men, including freshmen phenom Greg Reid.  Reid has not brought a kick back for a touchdown this season, but many teams have stayed away from him on kick offs.  Freshman kicker Dustin Hopkins has been inconsistent on extra points and field goals, but he rebounded nicely last week against North Carolina.  Hopkins has done a solid job, however, of kicking the ball into the endzone on kickoffs, which has helped with field position.  Slight EDGE:  FSU

Prediction

Predicting games in the ACC this season has been a crap shoot, and the outcome of this game could easily go either way.  Russell Wilson is an outstanding athlete, and he will keep the Wolfpack in the game.  FSU showed last week that they can actually win a game down the stretch, and Christian Ponder has proven that with a little bit of protection, he can keep his team in the ‘Noles in any game.  Look for Ponder to have another solid outing this weekend, and that should prove to be the difference in this one, but it will likely go down to the wire. 

Score Prediction:  FSU wins 34-31

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1 Response to “College Football Week 9 Prediction: NC State at Florida State”


  1. 1 bryan December 14, 2009 at 11:57 pm

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