Thanks to a bye week following a Friday game, the Florida State Seminoles are set to take on Wake Forest fresh off a true 14 days of rest on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET. With Hurricane Joaquin stewing in the Atlantic Ocean, the affair could be a wet one as the 'Noles (3-0, 1-0 ACC) play their last game before a showdown with Miami looms on Oct. 10.
The bye week provided some story lines on the offensive side of the football for FSU, where backup quarterback Sean Maguire received increased reps with the first-team offense following another unimpressive showing by starter Everett Golson against Boston College. Golson remains the starter, but his margin for error appears to be closing as Maguire gets more starting reps in practice.
The FSU offensive line has also seen some rotation over the past couple weeks in practice, with Ryan Hoefeld getting first-team reps at center. Per our David Visser, the we can probably expect to see a starting O-line this week comprised of Rod Johnson, Kareem Are, Hoefeld, Wilson Bell and Derrick Kelly, but the return of Chad Mavety provides some depth at right tackle. The Wake Forest (2-2, 0-1) defensive line is not very big, however, and it shouldn't present a big test for the Seminoles offensive line, which is coming off a shaky showing against BC in which FSU managed less than three yards per carry on the ground.
Wake Forest's offensive outlook against a stout FSU defense will depend on which quarterback lines up under center. Josh Wolford is the Deacs' No. 1 QB and began the season as the starter, but he was sent off with an ankle injury during WF's 17-14 win over Army. In his stead, the more mobile Kendall Hinton has stepped in and thrown for 5.5 yards per attempt with a touchdown and three interceptions.
If Healthy, Wolford is absolutely the starter for Wake Forest. The Jacksonville product has thrown for four TDs and four picks on 9.5 YPA. However, 75% of Wolford's touchdowns were thrown against Elon, whereas he turned in a one-TD, three-pick outing against the Syracuse defense, which is the best Wake has seen this season at No. 52 nationally in total defense and 69th in yards per play. The 'Noles defense will represent a huge upgrade in talent on Saturday.
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Wake head coach Dave Clawson said this week that Wolford will go if fully healthy, but if he is not 100 percent Clawson believes Hinton gives WF its best shot to win. Depending on the status of Wolford's ankle, FSU could see less of the dink-and-dunk passing from Wolford and more designed QB runs, as Hinton has led the team in rushing the last two games.
Overall, Wake Forest's offense is inefficient, but the Deacs can hit some big plays. They like to take deep shots on early downs off play action, and feature very little true drop-back passing due to an O-line that cannot protect the passer. Despite the bad offensive line play, Wake averages over 41 pass attempts per game so far this season, so it will be interesting to watch how they choose to attack the FSU defense this week, which is top-three in the nation in yards per pass allowed. Despite not being tested by a truly good passing quarterback to this point, the talent in the FSU secondary is legit, led by one of the nation's elite in Jalen Ramsey.
Be sure to give the Nolecast a listen, as Bud and Ingram offer an in-depth discussion to prepare you ahead of the FSU-Wake game on Saturday in Winston Salem.