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FSU vs. NC State: Staff predictions

Our contributors weigh-in on how Florida State's homecoming matchup with the Wolfpack will play out on Saturday.

Bobo Wilson scores against the 'Pack last year.
Bobo Wilson scores against the 'Pack last year.
Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

The 'Noles and North Carolina State kickoff on Saturday at approximately 12:30. Here's what kind of game we're expecting.

Bud Elliott:

This pick is included as part of the Nolecast preview, along with Ingram Smith's. You can listen to the top-ranked FSU podcast right here.

David Visser:

FSU has been here before, returning home for an early start after a loss. Last time was Halloween against Syracuse, and while the 'Noles rebounded on that occasion, they also still had all of their goals ahead of them. Other than playing for pride and the best possible bowl game, those goals are now history-- so we're going to see just how far that pride goes.

I think a more disciplined defensive line and adept secondary tackling help Florida State do a better job containing Jacoby Brissett. Offensively, a healthy Jacques Patrick could be a big help in spelling a Dalvin Cook, who I'm still doubtful is all the way back, despite Jimbo Fisher's claims. Everett Golson will have to keep the 'Noles on schedule against an NC State defense that has been tough on third down, and the o-line needs to get out of its own head.

Florida State's inexperience has cost it at times this season, but that youth can also foster hunger, and I'm guessing the pangs of defeat fuel the FSU fire. I'll take the 'Noles, 30-20.


The ‘Noles get back on track on offense. Being at home against a considerably worse defensive line (NCSU is solid, but Wilkins/Lawson/Dodd ain't walking through that door) will help. NCSU's defense is decidedly worse against the pass and Maguire will get the chance to toss it around the park. Brissett won't make it easy for the Seminoles' D, but barring ST/TO disasters, the ‘Noles coast to a comfortable two score win. 31-17, ‘Noles.


On Offense: NCSU has a very good DL. But I'm actually encouraged by how well the OL held up against Clemson (no sacks or TFLs). I like Dalvin to continue to tear it up with another 150+ yard performance, and I think Sean will exploit their weak secondary with a few deep shots.

On Defense: Brissett is a beast, and NCSU has run the ball well all year. But NCSU is down their top two RBs. The DL is going to have to come to play, and I think they will. FSU's secondary has been playing well-- just need that to continue.

FSU 27 NCSU 16


I'm worried about this game. There are a lot of "let down" scenarios to be concerned with, and FSU has had trouble with the Pack before (never forget that chunkyburger waving his shirt on the goalpost). That said, I think FSU continues to improve through the air, and Dalvin goes over 100 by halftime. Defense will probably give up some points, but I think it'll make stops when it counts. FSU wins a close game, 27-21.

Kyle Griffis:

The NC State game will be a fantastic challenge for this young Seminoles team to determine if it can rebound, re-group, and re-focus coming off a tough loss. FSU still has a lot to play for in 2015, and it needs to make sure one loss doesn't turn into two. NC State is a tough opponent, and it can definitely win this game (feels like we've faced Brissett for eight years now), but I like the Seminoles' odds at home.

Offensively, I expect for Jimbo to try to exploit NC State's pass defense. The Pack's rush defense is good, but they haven't seen anyone like Dalvin yet this year. If the offensive line repeats its performance from last week, I really like FSU's ability to move the ball.

Defensively, I think NC State may try to rely more heavily on its passing attack with Dayes being lost for the year. If that's the case, I think FSU's secondary ability will lock down Brissett's passing. However, the defense needs to contain Brissett's mobility better than it did last year (and not miss 33 tackles again). I think the 'Noles notch their 20th consecutive win at home by a comfortable margin and Dalvin breaks the school's single-season rushing record. I'll take FSU, 31-17.


I really don't know what to expect in this game. I feel like if NC State's offense gets rolling, FSU won't be able to keep up. That's a scary thought. I think it's a bit of a shootout. I'll go with FSU 34, NC State 28.

Curt Weiler:

Coming into this game, I thought that Florida State would bounce back from the Clemson loss with a dominant performance, similar to that which followed the GT loss.

However, that was slightly altered by Jimbo Fisher's announcement on Thursday that Everett Golson would be the starting quarterback against the Wolfpack.

My concern with Golson in this game is that he may feel the need to take risks and try to make big plays in an attempt to lock up the starting job for the remainder of the season. This could go well and lead to a big win over NC State, but my gut feeling is that we may see a bit of the bad Golson who committed 22 turnovers at Notre Dame last season.

If he doesn't take care of the ball and the offense is unable to finish drives, NC State will be very much in the game as the fourth quarter begins. In the end, the Florida State defense does some heavy lifting once again and Florida State pulls away late, winning 30-17.

Andrew Miller:

FSU 17-7

I just have a feeling it will be a very low-scoring game, the colder weather will have an effect, and I think the abscence of Golson the last two weeks will have an effect on the efficiency of the offense. The defense should do a great job shutting down the NC State offense, however I don't think the FSU offense will gain much traction either. Lastly, I also predict Dalvin Cook will have more rushing yards than Everett Golson has throwing yards.


I didn't like this game before the last minute QB switch/injury news broke. I like it less now and wondering if all the planning by the coaching staff so far this week has been for naught and that they are now scrambling to throw together a new last-minute game plan.

That said, I think the defense keeps us in the game and hopefully they follow up last week's outstanding effort with another one, especially against Brissett, who could be the toughest QB we will face this season in terms of bringing him to the ground. I expect the defense will do enough to allow the offense to sputter along with whichever QB and whichever running back we play, and that they will score more points than NCST. Regardless of the QB, I really want to see Jimbo throw the ball on every first down for the whole game and to play aggressively from the start.

Our special teams are superior and the difference in the game could be decided by someone on this unit. Here's hoping Beatty continues his MVP punting, and that he punts like he has in road games where he is averaging ~3 yards better than his home average, in addition to continuing with the nice coffin-corner punts.

FSU 31 - NCST 17


For Florida State, QB shuffle is once again on the menu. There are injuries on the o-line, and Dalvin Cook still doesn't look 100 percent. Picking NC State to pull the upset is more than reasonable, as its offense should be able to move the ball with a mobile QB. However, in Doak, no matter which QB is under center, the 'Noles manage more continuity and more offense. The defense will need to bounce back and have a good game against a team that can put up points. Cook, even if he's at 80ish percent, is the difference. ‘Noles hang on to win, 30-24.

Josh Pick:

New week, more questions. Obviously, Dalvin Cook's health is still a huge issue, but a major wrinkle was thrown into the game plan when Jimbo Fisher announced Everett Golson as the starter in place of Sean Maguire against NC State. I still feel FSU will win, but I'm less confident now than I was before the announcement (not that it makes a big difference one way or the other---I just feel SMag's ability to hit the deep ball could've helped more against the porous Wolfpack pass D). Give me 27-20, good guys (quite happy this game isn't at Carter-Finley!).

Michael Rogner

I'm not sure who the opponent is this week, but I'll take 41-28, Noles. This will be a nice distraction before the real season starts Sunday (3 PM at the Tuck!).