FSU vs. GT: Preview and Prediction

Florida State enters Saturday's game with all of the media's attention focused on the off-the-field stuff going on with the program. The players and coaches, though, are looking at this game against Georgia Tech as the first step the right the ship for the season. NoleDigest looks at this game and gives a prediction on who'll win this pivotal ACC match-up.

Florida State enters the game Saturday with a 2-3 record and a national perception that the program is in disarray. Frankly the season hasn't gone the way the coaches and players expected so far, and now the push to move on from the Bowden era is in full force. The Seminoles enter this game needing to win to salvage any sort of successful season. If FSU drops to 2-4 and 0-3 in ACC play their long-time bowl streak will be in jeopardy of ending.

Georgia Tech enters Saturday's contest ranked 22nd nationally with its only loss to Miami. The Yellow Jackets have started to roll recently on offense as Jonathan Dwyer has gotten healthy, but it has been the added dominion of Josh Nesbitt's passing that has made this offense difficult to stop recently.

Here are the key factors going in the game that'll play a role in who comes out victorious Saturday.

1) Georgia Tech's running game vs. FSU's defense: This is arguably the biggest factor going into this game. Last year the Yellow Jackets flat dominated FSU in this aspect, and it took an injury to Nesbitt for the Seminoles to stop the option and get back into the game. Athletic, fast teams like Miami give this unit trouble, and that is what FSU has. But the biggest thing that makes this an enormous area of concern for the Seminoles is the lack of depth and size along the middle of the defensive line. Georgia Tech is ranked 6th nationally running the ball, and last week FSU was ran over by Boston College as they gave up over 200 yards total and 99 yards to Montel Harris in the 4th quarter.

If FSU cannot play smart, assignment football and tackle well the rest isn't going to matter. This is sizeable advantage for GT, and FSU has to come out on defense and do 100% what they haven't been able to do this year.

2) FSU's passing attack vs. Georgia Tech's pass defense: Coach Fisher hinted this week that we may see this offense is more pass oriented as this is where the team has found the most success this year. The running game has been inconsistent, but Christian Ponder has been deadly and accurate this year. While Morgan Burnett is the ACC's best safety, the unit is struggling and giving up over 250 yards through the air. The Yellow Jackets have been up and down this year stopping the run, but FSU will most likely line up Ponder in the gun and use the short passing game as a substitute for the running game.

3) Emotions: FSU has a lot riding on this game and this past week has been a tough one on the program. While the player and coaches are saying the right things you cannot help but feel all of the stuff with Bowden, Fisher, etc hasn't taken a toll on the program. The focus has been on the game, rightfully so, but the fans are restless and they are planning on letting their feeling be felt. They'll support the players, but this program is anything but the model of stability. Winning here this week and turning a season that has gone wayward around will make a lot of people forget about what's been going on.

Prediction:

I have had this game circled since the start of the season as a game that FSU will have a tough time in. GT is simply a bad match-up for FSU at this time because they do well what FSU can't stop: run well, run tough and play smart. It is unfortunate that many fans have looked at this team going 2-4, but we haven't seen the consistency on defense, or offense for that, to think FSU can come in at home and beat a team that has started playing well.

We saw against BYU the Noles come out and blast the Cougars when everyone thought FSU has no shot at winning. But FSU hasn't played well at home, and they are having trouble scoring points. This is a game they'll have to outscore their opponent to win, but the Seminoles haven't shown they can do that yet consistently.

I expect FSU to play well in spurts, but I just think the Jackets are going to control the clock running the ball, and I think they'll leave Tallahassee 5-1.

Georgia Tech 31 FSU 20


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