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Wake Forest Unit Match Ups

We'll provide a breakdown of how the teams' different units will match up with each other in the game on Saturday.

Florida State Offense vs. Wake Forest Defense

FSU Offensive Line vs. Wake Forest's Defensive Line

For any offense or defense to have success, it all starts up front.  This should be a good match up throughout the whole game with neither unit being dominant.  Last week against Chattanooga, both QB's were under more pressure than they should have been considering the opponent.  However, Wake Forest has also shown an inability to get much of a pass rush.  Look for Wake to start using multiple blitzes to get pressure on Christian Ponder and D'Vontrey Richardson (expect D'vo to play some with specific packages designed for him), especially if they have success in the passing game early.  In the running game, Wake's defensive line should be able to consistently clog up the middle with DT Boo Robinson.  With that in mind, there will probably be many running plays for FSU off the edge to try to get the backs into space.  There will definitely be times where Wake Forest gets the better of the play, but Florida State's offensive line will give the rest of the offense opportunities to make plays. EDGE: FSU




FSU RB's vs. Wake Forest's LB's

Wake Forest has a solid group of LB's anchored by preseason All-ACC member Aaron Curry.  Look for Curry to be involved in numerous plays from his strongside linebacker position.  As mentioned earlier, FSU should run outside of the tackles with Antone Smith and Jermain Thomas to avoid 325-lb. Robinson.  Also, look for Preston Parker to line up at RB multiple times throughout the game.  Jimbo Fisher will use Parker all over the field to get the ball in his hands and the best one-on-one match up he can.  FSU should have chances for some big runs, but Wake's LB's, especially Curry, will be in on a ton of tackles.  EDGE: Wake Forest

FSU Receivers vs. Wake Forest's Secondary

Wake Forest has maybe the best individual corner that FSU will see all year in Alphonso Smith (the only other corner that FSU is scheduled to see all year that could be considered better is VT's Victor Harris), and Brandon Ghee on the other side is not too shabby either.  Throw in FS Chip Vaughn and you are facing a more than formidable opponent.  Even with all that talent, this is still FSU's biggest advantage in terms of match ups.  There are just too many talented receivers for Wake Forest to be able to cover them all, especially when FSU goes to multiple receiver sets.  Florida State can concede any individual match up against Smith and still have way too many other options on the field.  Even though FSU has a distinct advantage here, Wake Forest will still have a couple big plays and at least 1 interception.  EDGE: FSU

FSU QB's vs. Wake Forest's Pass Defense and Scheme

Ponder and Richardson have both played well thus far, but that was to be expected.  It would have been more telling if they had played poorly, but as of now the jury is still out on both.  If Ponder is given time, he should be able to light up the Wake Forest secondary with his plethora of receivers.  Wake Forest will use a variety of blitzes and coverages to confuse Ponder and should have some success.  Look for D'vo to have about 10-20 plays with a mix of both passes and designed runs.  Overall, this battle will have more to do with whether Wake Forest can generate any pressure on the QB than the QB's actual talent.  EDGE: PUSH

Florida State Defense vs. Wake Forest Offense

FSU Defensive Line vs. Wake Forest's Offensive Line

With the return of Budd Thacker to the lineup, this unit should be much improved.  Thacker should help the rest of the defensive line stop most of Wake Forest's running plays, mainly since the interior of the offensive line is the weakest point.  Also, look for Markus White to see much more playing time and hopefully his first start.  Even with the help of White, do not expect much of a pass rush from FSU since Wake will primarily be running short to intermediate routes.  EDGE: FSU

FSU LB's vs. Wake Forest RB's

Even with the current suspensions, the FSU LB's are still talented enough to have a big game.  The defensive line should demand enough attention to keep blockers from getting to the second level, allowing the linebackers to flow freely to the ball carrier.  Wake Forest RB Josh Adams is talented, as evidenced by his preseason All-ACC selection, but it does not matter if he does not have the blocking.  Look for Derek Nicholson to put up another large number in the tackle column from his Mike roll.  EDGE: FSU

FSU Secondary vs. Wake Forest Receivers

With Wake Forest running mainly shorter routes, they should have a high number of catches.  The main role of the secondary in this game will be to not miss many open field tackles.  The loss of Patrick Robinson due to suspension really hurts here, and with Riley Skinner at QB, the Wake Forest receivers will have plenty of chances to make catches and gain yards after the catch.  EDGE: Wake Forest

FSU Pass Defense and Scheme vs. Riley Skinner

Riley Skinner is a solid QB that will pick a defense apart if given time.  FSU should be able to get enough of a pass rush on long routes without blitzing and would be better off to have as many people in coverage to prevent yards after the catch on the shorter routes.  Seminole fans can look at Skinner and see what the future may hold for Ponder.  Both quarterbacks have similar skill sets, with Skinner just being further developed at this point in both of their careers.  Ponder also is more of a running threat, but Skinner should have a good game unless Wake falls really far behind.  EDGE: Wake Forest

Special Teams

With Graham Gano still out with a knee injury, the FSU special teams have taken a huge hit.  Shawn Powell has done a good job filling in as a punter, but the same can not be said for the field goal and kick off replacements.  Zach Hobby is just 1 for 4 on field goals and has already missed 2 extra points, and James Esco's kick offs consistently fall short of the goal line, allowing the opponents to have good field position with only marginal returns.  Meanwhile, Sam Swank has been solid for Wake Forest, making all his field goal and extra point attempts, including a 41-yard game winner against Ole Miss.  FSU could switch to Parker to return punts which will help prevent Tony Carter from becoming injured.  If this game comes down to field goals, it could remind FSU fans of some Miami games in the past.  EDGE: Wake Forest