FSU wants back in national spotlight

Trap games are typically defined as a formidable team stumbling to a surprise loss against a lesser-known foe.  

Unfortunately for Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech doesn’t have the comfort of discretion that shields smaller programs, making them ineligible for trap-game status despite their 4-5 record.

“We’ve got a heck of a challenge coming up,” said Jimbo Fisher. “Frank Beamer always has a team that plays well, they’ve got a great team, very athletic, and we’re gonna have to be on our A-game.”

He’s right, of course: Florida State’s lone loss came the only other time the ‘Noles have crossed state lines, losing to N.C. State, and playing in Blacksburg on a Thursday night is the Hokies’ bread-and-butter. Fisher also spoke about Tech’s explosive offense, saying, “They play hard, they’re well-coached, they’ll punch you in the mouth, and they’ve done a nice job.”

But that is where the light dims on Virginia Tech’s chances to upset the Seminoles.

Florida State’s defense will look to exploit an offense Beamer described as “inconsistent,” especially on the offensive line where the Hokies are most vulnerable. They lost four starters on the O-line to graduation last season, and have been plagued by injuries to the replacements in “the one place you want continuity,” as Beamer put it.

On the other side lies Florida State’s strength: the defensive line. “There’s not too many teams that can just rush four and get pressure on the quarterback, but they can,” Beamer said, adding, “They’re extremely fast at linebackers and extremely quick in the secondary.”

Then comes the offense. The Seminoles have scored 132 points in their last three games alone, and EJ Manuel has shined all season, completing 70% of his passes for 2,315 yards and a 16-4 touchdown-to-interception ratio. He’s racked up another 224 yards on the ground with a touchdown.

The Seminoles did lose starting running back Chris Thompson for the season, who was having one of the best seasons in Seminole history, but James Wilder seems ready to accept the additional responsibilities, with eight touchdowns of his own this season. He’ll have help from a deep stable of reserves — including Devonta Freeman, who ran for 104 yards and two scores on just 12 carries against Duke — as the Seminoles have rushed for 2,111 yards with 29 touchdowns.

Oh, and did we mention FSU is coming off a bye week?

There aren’t many check boxes in Virginia Tech’s corner when lined up with FSU, but the Hokies are at home on a Thursday where they are often impressive. Plus, we must not forget that this is ACC football and anything can go wrong at any time.

But things have already gone wrong for FSU this season, and they should be focused as they try to reenter the national title picture with a big Thursday-night performance.