Defense: FSU at NCSU

Florida State(6-1, 4-0) travels to North Carolina State(5-2, 2-1) for a key Thursday night ACC battle where the winner will emerge as the clear front runner in the Atlantic Division. NoleDigest takes a look at the offensive side of the ball.

DEFENSIVE LINE


Dawkins and McCloud are having great seasons in the middle of the FSU defense
Steve Chase, NoleDigest.com

FSU

DE: Markus White (6-4, 264, Sr): 26 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 5.5 TFL

DE: Brandon Jenkins (6-3, 250, So): 34 tackles, 7 sacks, 11.5 TFL

DT: Jacobbi McDaniel (6-0, 298, So): 15 tackles, .5 sacks, 2.5 TFL, 1 INT

DT: Everett Dawkins (6-2, 285, So): 22 tackles, 2 sacks, 5 TFL

NCSU

DE: Jeff Rieskamp (6-3, 245, Jr): 16 tackles, 2.5 TFL

DE: David Akinniyi (6-4, 262, Sr): 17 tackles, 2 sacks, 3 TFL

DT: Natanu Mageo (6-3, 285, Sr): 16 tackles, 2 sacks, 3 TFL

DT: J.R. Sweezy (6-5, 293, Jr): 25 tackles, 1 sack, 2 TFL

Advantage: FSU. The FSU front four has put more pressure on the QB and exceeded expectations. Jenkins is quietly having a monster season and could reach double digit sacks. White has been coming on every week. The 'Noles have more depth inside.

Solid ACC unit for NCSU, but there is no one here who needs to be game planned for. There is good size and reasonable depth. This unit will have to step up against an outstanding FSU Offensive Line.

LINEBACKER

FSU

Nigel Bradham (6-2, 240, Jr): 44 tackles, 2 sacks, 2.5 TFL

Kendall Smith (6-0, 242, Sr): 45 tackles, 2 TFL

Mister Alexander (6-3, 227, Sr): 22 tackles, 3 TFL

NCSU

Nate Irving (6-1, 231, Sr): 52 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 9 TFL

Terrell Manning (6-3, 224, So): 40 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 6 TFL

Audie Cole (6-5, 239, Jr): 37 tackles, 4 sacks, 7.5 TFL

Advantage: Push. Smith has been much better as a senior while Alexander has shined at times. Bradham is having a solid season thus far, but more is expected out of him. The unit is much improved and there is quality depth with Christian Jones, Vincent Williams, Telvin Smith, and Jeff Luc itching to get on the field. FSU's tackling has been much better in 2010 and the LBs have been a big part of that.

This is the strength of the average NCSU defense. Each of the backer's is very active in the backfield and they are the ones who will be pressuring Ponder. Irving is having an All-Conference type of season and Manning brings a world of upside. They are not as deep as FSU.

Two very good units here in this one.

DEFENSIVE BACK


Rhodes is having a great season in his debut, the big CB has been a physical presence
Steve Chase, NoleDigest.com

FSU

CB: Greg Reid (5-8, 185, So): 35 tackles, 2 INT, 2 TFL

CB: Xavier Rhodes (6-1, 210, Fr): 24 tackles, 1 INT, 2 sacks, 3.5 TFL

S: Nick Moody (6-2, 228, So): 25 tackles, .5 sacks, 2.5 TFL

S: Terrance Parks (6-2, 218, Jr): 19 tackles

DB: Mike Harris (5-11, 183, Jr): 20 tackles, 1 INT

DB: Lamarcus Joyner (5-8, 183, Fr): 13 tackles, 1 INT

NCSU

CB: David Amerson (6-3, 285, Fr): 21 tackles

CB: C.J. Wilson (5-11, 179, So): 21 tackles, 2 INT

S: Earl Wolff (6-0, 201, So): 44 tackles, 1 INT, 1.5 TFL

S: Brandon Bishop (6-2, 210, So): 27 tackles, 3 INT

DB: Dontae Johnson (6-3, 184, Fr): 19 tackles

Advantage: FSU. Both units have struggled at times, but are on the upswing with youngsters who are talented. There is more raw talent at FSU and that is the biggest difference. Coach Mark Stoops has done a tremendous job not only as DB, but as DBs coach as well---these guys are getting better weekly.

NCSU has more height and both Wolff/Bishop are hitters. Bishop is a Florida product from Boca Raton. Reid helps FSU in special teams and he has big play ability. He will face a tough match-up vs. the size of the NCSU wide-outs. Both Harris and Joyner have been coming on. Moody has upped the level of his play and there were some signs vs. BC that Parks was going to join him.

Both teams have struggled with missed tackles in the secondary, thus PREVENTING the big play(both run or pass) will be the biggest key defensively.

OVERALL

Florida State is giving up 16.1 points per game and those numbers are slightly skewed due to a poor performance vs. Oklahoma. They have been light's out for much of the time since then barring a few loose plays vs. BC early in the game.

North Carolina State is giving up 23.1 points per game and has given up 33 to East Carolina, 17 to BC, 41 to VT, and 28 to GT the last four week's. They are incapable of stopping FSU, but they are good enough to keep the explosive 'Pack offense in the game.

There is not as much depth at NCSU and that could be a big factor in this one(although both come off a bye). In the end, it is hard to see the Wolfpack keeping the 'Noles under 30. The FSU defense won't shut down the 'Pack either, but seem more capable of getting critical stops. Nice size edge here to the FSU defense.


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