FSU Beat: Seminoles Ready to Plunder Atlantic

With Saturday’s debacle of a game behind them, the Florida State Seminoles are preparing for their first real test of the season when the Wake Forest Demon Deacons come to town. The first two weeks of the season have not yielded much in the way of measuring just how good or bad the 2012 Seminoles are. Florida State handled their two cupcake opponents by a combined score of 124-3 and ultimately may have very well lost more out of the first two weeks than they gained, after losing All-American Brandon Jenkins for the season.

This week’s matchup against Wake Forest is a triple-whammy in a sense for a program that is looking to get over the hump of its own expectations and continue marching in the right direction. Wake Forest is the first conference and divisional game for Florida State in 2012. They are also a team who successfully upset the Seminoles in 2011. The Seminoles got off to an awful start and dug themselves into a hole that proved too deep to climb out of. Five turnovers and roughly 130 yards in penalties were likely their downfall in that game. The Seminoles are believed to have a more disciplined team after the first two weeks in comparison to 2011’s squad. Last season the Seminoles had committed 17 penalties through the first two games; this season they have five total.

Another key difference for FSU is that they will be walking into the game with a healthy EJ Manuel starting at QB. There are no questions surrounding who will or will not get the start. Last season a frazzled Clint Trickett opened the game for the Noles with three turnovers (two interceptions and a lost fumble). The pressure was on Manuel to mount a comeback after being thrust into action late in the first half with a still-healing left shoulder.

The Seminoles are a 24.5 point favorite in Saturday’s matchup, despite Wake Forest coming off an impressive close win over UNC on Saturday. The home atmosphere, conference matchup and revenge factor in this game will make it one of the more entertaining games to watch at 12:00 p.m on Saturday.

Wake QB Tanner Price tossed three touchdowns against FSU last season and is coming off another impressive performance. He failed to complete any touchdown passes against UNC, but he did connect on over 70% of his passes at 8.6 yards per attempt. A major factor in this game will be how well FSU can pressure him into making uncharacteristic mistakes. Price is a good quarterback, but he can be forced into some tight spots if the pressure is cranked up early and often.

The Demon Deacons have struggled to establish a rushing attack behind a very inexperienced offensive line, but with the way FSU plays against the run, this may not have been a very big factor regardless. In two games, Wake Forest has rushed for 162 yards total at 2.3 yards per carry.

This is a game, like last year, in which Florida State has the talent advantage. Whether or not they are able to execute and make this evident on the field are obviously yet to be seen. It is going to be a big-time game for Jimbo Fisher in further solidifying the direction of this program under his leadership. In the minds of many, it would be conceivable for the Seminoles to overlook this game in anticipation of what will likely be a top 10 conference showdown at 8:00 p.m the following Saturday against the reigning ACC Champion Clemson Tigers.

In reality, this is not something that Fisher and the Seminoles can afford in the least, and with such a senior laden team, it is probably not very likely. This team has seemed focused throughout all of fall camp and the first two weeks of the season. They look much more disciplined, and Saturday will be their first opportunity to prove that they are for real. It may end up being 2012’s statement game.

Adam Tolliver, @primediscussion on TwitterAdam Tolliver is an Atlanta, GA native and college football enthusiast who has been covering Florida State Seminole sports for three years. He is currently a contributor at Tomahawknation.com and XOFan.com, where he consistently delivers honest and accurate commentary and reporting regarding Florida State Seminole Football and Men’s Basketball. You can find Adam’s personal twitter account @primediscussion, where he spouts out about all things under the sun, or you can follow @Unconquered_FSU, which is exclusively dedicated to FSU Sports.

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