After beating Duke last weekend, the Seminoles have now handled their business in all three big games on their schedule up to this point. With their 7-0 record, the Noles sit firmly atop the ACC, and they’ll be on the road this weekend to take on Wake Forest. Following the Demon Deacons win over Pitt, it’s said that Wake could be getting their starting quarterback back from injury, but I’ll break down why that shouldn’t stop FSU from covering this game.
Down to their third-string quarterback last weekend against Pitt, the Demon Deacons got some help from the referees late in the game, allowing them to get the ball back and score the game-winning touchdown with 11 seconds left. Santino Marucci was under center for their win over Pitt, but he is expected to serve in a backup role to Mitch Griffis this weekend.
Griffis started the season as the Demon Deacons starter, but his performance during conference play led to a benching before his replacement got injured. In the six games he has played in, Griffis has put up a 58.6% completion percentage with a 9:7 touchdown-to-interception ratio, which is a big reason why Wake Forest ranks 91st in offensive success rate on pass plays.
If it weren’t for the Demon Deacons defense, they likely would not have a record above .500. Allowing an average of 23 points per game, the Demon Deacons rank 45th in points per game and 40th in defensive success rate. This weekend will really put those numbers to the test since Florida State comes to town averaging 41.6 points per game and ranked 4th in offensive EPA.
Wake’s biggest strength on defense is their run-stopping ability, but that will only get them so far against Jordan Travis and the Noles receiving corp. Thanks to receivers like Keon Coleman and Johnny Wilson, FSU is 6th in the country in EPA on pass plays and averages 8.4 yards per pass.
Florida State is not a one-sided team either, as their defense is now 20th in the country in points per game after shutting out Duke in the second half over the weekend. The lone area the Seminoles' defense has struggled with is stopping the run, coming in at 65th in the country in defensive success rate on run plays.
The undefeated Seminoles will enter this matchup as (-20.5) point road favorites, and I’ll be backing them for my play. Offensively, the Noles are on a different stratosphere than the Demon Deacons, even if Griffis plays, and at the end of the day, I don’t see a way Wake Forest can score enough to keep this game under three touchdowns.
In three conference games, Mitch Griffis has one touchdown and four interceptions, which won’t do the job against a Florida State defense that is 2nd in opponent completion percentage and ranks 5th in EPA on pass plays. I mentioned earlier the weakest area of the Nole's defense is their run game, but Wake Forest has not proven they can establish a run game, ranking 80th in EPA on rush plays and averaging just 3.5 yards per carry.
That is too many negative factors on offense when trying to keep pace with Jordan Travis. Even if Wake Forest plays to their strengths and limits the Noles’ running game, they still have to figure out a way to slow an FSU offense that is 21st in offensive success rate on pass plays. Wake is 98th in yards allowed per pass, which shows they don’t have anyone who can slow Keon Coleman, who is averaging 15.2 yards per catch.
Florida State (-20.5)