FSU Football: Three Reasons Why FSU Could Rout UNC on Saturday

fsu football

Sep 24, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles quarterback Deondre Francois (12) runs the ball for a touchdown in the second half against the South Florida Bulls at Raymond James Stadium. Florida State Seminoles won 55-35. Mandatory Credit: Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports

FSU football will welcome a high-powered UNC offense to Tallahassee on Saturday. We look at three reasons the ‘Noles could rout the Tarheels.

It’s a game that going to define the season of one of these two teams. Both offenses are scoring a ton of points, and both defenses are giving up a ton of points.

The main difference is FSU football has faced much stiffer competition in its first four games. The other difference? FSU has the more talented roster overall.

Oddsmakers made the ‘Noles 12 point favorites with their opening line. At first, I was thinking that’s a lot of points to cover for a defense that’s allowing teams to gain 6.78 yards per play.

The UNC offense is averaging 7.4 yards per play.

However, the more I look at this game, the more I can see FSU running over the Tarheels in a rout. Let’s look at the top three reasons.

fsu football

Sep 24, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles running back Jacques Patrick (9) dives forward in the second half as South Florida Bulls linebacker Cecil Cherry (33) defends in the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Florida State Seminoles won 55-35. Mandatory Credit: Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports

FSU Running Game

The UNC defense is not very good against the run this year, and this is against competition that’s far far from elite. They are allowing 4.98 yards per carry to opposing teams.

Did you see Dalvin Cook and Jacques Patrick last week? Dalvin Cook looks like the 2015 version and Patrick finally looks like he’s figured out he’s 6’2 and over 200 pounds.

UNC will likely look to limit the big plays by playing a lot of two deep safety. It’s what they did last year a ton, but got gouged on the ground to the tune of 247 yards per game.

They are giving up 240 yards per game this season, and Dalvin Cook and the FSU offensive line will be the best they’ve faced this season by far.

What does a good running game do? It keeps the opposing offense off the field and wears out the opposing defense.

fsu football

Nov 7, 2015; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) looks to pass as Duke Blue Devils defensive end Deion Williams (48) defends in the fourth quarter. The Tar Heels defeated the Blue Devils 66-31 at Kenan Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

UNC Offense

Let’s say the FSU offense is popping like bacon in the pan. The run game is effective and the UNC defense is on its heels…get it…heels.

Haha…ok, that was wack.

Anyways, the UNC offense will feel the pressure to score as they run an uptempo spread type of offense.

UNC passes more on first down than any other down. Often, it’s a short pass to the running back in flat or a short crossing route off play-action behind the linebackers.

The problem with these types of offenses is they can go three and out quickly if they are not successful on first and second down and get behind the chains.

The FSU defense matches up with the UNC offense pretty well and here’s why. While Mitch Trubisky is athletic enough to run and does run at times, he’s not the same threat to run as Lamar Jackson or even Quinton Flowers from USF.

Now, the FSU defense can’t totally disrespect Trubisky running the ball, but it seems the FSU defense is much better when the threat of the quarterback running is low.

Just look at the second half of the Ole Miss game when they abandoned their running game. FSU held them to 78 yards on 25 plays while gaining three turnovers.

There should be opportunities for the defense to get after Trubisky since UNC passes a bit with playaction and long developing plays as well. Remember how FSU rocked Chad Kelly in the opener?

fsu football

Sep 5, 2016; Orlando, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles defensive back Tarvarus McFadden (4) celebrates with Florida State Seminoles linebacker Dontavious Jackson (5) after a interception in the fourth quarter at Camping World Stadium. Florida State Seminoles won 45-34. Mandatory Credit: Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports

Time of Possession

This metric can be misleading somewhat. However, through four games against inferior competition UNC is allowing opponents to have the ball nearly 14 minutes more per game.

The FSU offense has had the ball 13 more minutes per game on average than their opponents.

Let’s look at how this could work:

  • FSU offense runs the ball effectively, thus keeping the UNC offense off the field
  • UNC defense gets gassed because they’ve been on the field a ton
  • A gassed UNC defense gets gashed even worse on the ground the deeper the game goes

That’s a recipe for a rout if I’ve ever seen one. Pittsburgh was well on their way to doing the same thing against UNC, but they went ultra conservative on offense and forgot to play defense for the last seven minutes of the game.

Pittsburgh was up 36-23 with 11 minutes to go in the game and then proceeded to run six plays for six yards for the rest of the game.

dalvin cook

Dec 6, 2014; Charlotte, NC, USA; Florida State Seminoles running back Dalvin Cook (4) runs the ball during the third quarter against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Bank of America Stadium. FSU defeated Georgia Tech 37-35. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Conclusion

Listen, we simply have no idea which FSU defense will show up on Saturday afternoon. We do know that Doak Campbell Stadium will be rocking, and FSU hasn’t lost at home since 2012 against Florida.

If the FSU offense is able to run the ball consistently, and considering how they ran the ball last week against USF, it’s certainly likely.

It’ll be up to the FSU defense to make a stand and force the UNC offense to get off the field. The FSU defense forced USF to punt on nine straight possessions at one point last week, and the FSU offense rattled off 35 straight points.

The same could hold true for Saturday’s contest if FSU football is playing as a team on BOTH sides of the ball.

They’ll have the best player on the field in Dalvin Cook, superior roster of talent and a home crowd hungry for another big win. Also, the oddsmakers win waaaay more than they lose. There’s a reason they opened the betting line as a 12 point favorite in favor of FSU football.

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