NC State (1-4) at Florida State (3-1) 3:30 PM ABC
Why to Watch: After dispatching Alabama last weekend, the Seminoles appear to be on a good roll. In fact, since the first half of the opener against Clemson, FSU has been a defensive nightmare for opponents, and now that Xavier Lee has appeared to rejuvenate the offense, this could be seeing a legitimate ACC title contender emerging. Florida State takes the next step this week against a shaky North Carolina State team that has made some strides and thrown some punches but has lacked staying power.
Why North Carolina State Might Win: The Wolfpack looked pretty good on pass defense last week and was able to keep Louisville quarterback Brian Brohm under wraps, for him, allowing 251 yards. On the other side of the ball, NC State will continue its quest for balance, with Andre Brown, who had 92 yards rushing last week handling the ground chores. If Harrison Beck’s ailing left shoulder prohibits him from playing, look for Daniel Evans, last year’s starter, to take over. Evans was sound last week, leading the Pack to its only touchdown.
Why Florida State Might Win: When Nick Saban says your defense is one of the best he’s seen in a while, you have something going on. That’s what the ‘Noles are doing now: stopping people. They’re one of the best in the nation at stopping the run, and they have improved against the pass. FSU is fast and nasty on defense and should have a few turnovers Saturday against a team that has coughed it up 18 times so far this year. When the Seminoles have the ball, look for a more dangerous downfield passing attack that should make receivers Greg Carr and De’Cody Fagg more productive. And as for the struggling FSU ground game, a Saturday against one of the nation’s worst rushing defenses should help that out.
Who to Watch: After leading the Seminoles to victory last week by throwing two touchdown passes, Lee spoke of patience. Now, he’ll likely speak of starting. Lee will probably be under center to begin the game against the Wolfpack after throwing for 224 yards and rushing for 59 more against Alabama. What he needs to keep the job is efficiency and consistency, two qualities that have eluded him. No one has doubted his talent; now it’s time for him to be more productive on a regular basis. Do that, and FSU becomes a dangerous team.
What Will Happen: It might be a new coaching staff and a new team, but NC State’s recent history in the series will get FSU jacked up. The Pack doesn’t have enough to stay close to the Seminoles, who could run up a big number if Lee keeps the mistakes to a minimum.
CFN Prediction: Florida State 27 … NC State 10 ... Line: Florida State -18
Must See Rating: (5 Paris on Letterman - 1 Singing Bee) ... 2.5