FSU football is coming off the huge come from behind victory over the Miami Hurricanes last week. However, they’ll have another big game this week for different reasons.
This game is huge because it’ll give us a better indicator of what this FSU football team is all about. Was last week’s intensity and effort solely about it being a rivalry game, or has this team finally bought into playing together as a team?
A win against Wake Forest sends FSU into their bye week with a huge likely top 10 matchup against Clemson on the horizon.
We take a look at the three keys to victory for the FSU football team against Wake Forest.
Oct 8, 2016; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles quarterback Deondre Francois (12) carries the ball during the first half against Miami Hurricanes at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
The FSU offense has turned the ball over five times on the season. Two of those turnovers came in the Louisville game, and Sean Maguire threw an interception in his first action of the season last week.
FSU quarterback Deondre Francois is responsible for four of the FSU turnovers thus far on the season. He did fumble twice on Saturday night against Miami, but both of those were recovered by FSU.
He’ll need to be sure to hold onto the ball with two hands in the pocket, and to be careful when handing the ball off to running backs on run plays.
The FSU offense can’t afford to give like Wake Forest extra possessions, as those are the type of factors that allow less talented teams to be competitive.
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
Convert Third Downs On Offense
The FSU offense is converting third downs at an excellent rate of nearly 47 percent on the season. That will need to continue on Saturday for the ‘Noles to be successful.
The Wake Forest defense is a well coached unit that’s currently holding teams to just 36 percent.
The ‘Noles were able to convert third downs at a 50 percent clip without Dalvin Cook in the lineup last season and with Everett Golson as the quarterback.
This is a game where the FSU offensive line will be able to impose its will on the smaller defensive unit. I would expect the Wake Forest unit to wear down later in the game if the ‘Noles have the same type of success as last year on third down.
Oct 4, 2014; Tallahassee, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles wide receiver Travis Rudolph (15) carries the ball for a touchdown against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons during the fourth quarter at Doak Campbell Stadium. Florida State Seminoles defeated the Wake Forest Demon Deacons 43-3. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
Score Touchdowns Instead of Field Goals
This is a goal I always have for FSU football. They are doing a good job of this so far this season. They’re scoring touchdowns 68 percent of the time when they enter the red zone.
Also, it was great to see Jimbo Fisher be aggressive last week against Miami, going for it on fourth down early in the game.
The pass wasn’t completed, but it was absolutely the right call by Fisher as he has a history of being conservative and settling for field goals.
The defense played well last week for the most part, but against more talented teams this offense will need to avoid settling for field goals.
I’d like to see Fisher maintain that aggressiveness against a team like Wake Forest.
Sep 24, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles head coach Jimbo Fisher looks on from the bench in the second quarter against the South Florida Bulls at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports
So essentially the FSU football team needs to play championship level football. The level of football that FSU fans are accustomed to watching over the past few seasons.
The same level of intensity that was seen last week against Miami needs to be seen against whoever lines up across from them regardless of the jersey.
Also, pay attention to how the FSU defense responds to having to face another spread offense. Will they communicate well enough to avoid huge coverage busts?