2020 FSU-Virginia Preview & Predictions

by | Nov 26, 2020 | ACC, Analysis, Football, FSU, Predictions, Previews, Sports | 0 comments

Photo courtesy of Susan Erdelyi/Florida State athletics

The battle for the Jefferson-Eppes trophy is once again upon us. Florida State hopes to bring the trophy back home to Tallahassee after losing it to Virginia in 2019 by a 31-24 score.

The rivalry has been somewhat of a lopsided one, with the Seminoles dominating the series until 2005. The Cavaliers’ 26-21 triumph broke a nine-game losing streak, with the two teams trading victories since.

Virginia still has a lot of catching up to do, as the Seminoles lead the all-time series, 14-4.

FLORIDA STATE VS VIRGINIA

  • Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Florida
  • Saturday, Nov. 28 at 8 p.m. ET (ACC Network)
  • Virginia -9, O/U 59.5
  • Last Game:
    • FSU: L, 22-38, NC State
    • Virginia: W, 55-15, Abilene Christian

WHEN FSU’S ON OFFENSE

Much to the relief of many Seminole fans, quarterback Jordan Travis has an extra week to get healthy. With backup Chubba Purdy out for the season and Travis’ health questionable, the Clemson game’s postponement could not have come at a better time.

The ‘Noles are facing a very middle-tier defense this week. The Cavalier defensive unit is ranked 49th in ESPN’s SP+ rankings, and 42nd in defensive efficiency.

Virginia’s defense is allowing 431.5 yards and nearly 30 points per game to opposing offenses. Its strength is in the front seven, specifically the linebacker corps.

The Cavalier secondary is exploitable, however. The unit is allowing 289 yards per game through the air. In order for Florida State to win this game, it will need to pick on this secondary. That means FSU’s receivers will need to step up and get over the drops that have been common this season.

WHEN FSU’S ON DEFENSE

There is no such thing as a plus match-up for this Seminole defense. The FSU defensive unit is incredibly young, thin at important positions, and have yet to put together a complete half since the first half of the North Carolina game more than a month ago.

That being said, Virginia’s offense isn’t all that special. The Cavaliers field the 49th-ranked offense in the country, per ESPN’s SP+ rankings.

However, things seem to be clicking more for Virginia’s offense as the season progresses. In their last three games, the Cavaliers have averaged just over 43 points and 434 yards per game.

For Florida State’s defense to succeed in this game, it will need to find a way to make Virginia quarterback Brennan Armstrong uncomfortable. Armstrong is both the Cavaliers’ leading passer and leading rusher on the season, and is the focal point of their offense.

PREDICTIONS

John: UVA, 35-28. FSU’s defense is still pretty far out from figuring it out.

James: FSU, 28-24. FSU can’t lose them all.

Cory: UVA, 45-24. Virginia is just better than FSU. FSU is the dregs of the ACC now. Yay, basketball!

Mike: UVA, 38-24. Unfortunately for FSU head coach Mike Norvell, he had to spend the early parts of his week talking about the COVID-19 controversy perpetuated by Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney, but distractions have become too common this season. More bad news for FSU is that Virginia’s offense has been finding its footing lately. Quarterback Brennan Armstrong’s emergence has been key and he’ll be the difference on Saturday.

Jake: UVA, 42-20. Florida State still hasn’t really figured anything out. It is missing Xs and Os as well as Jimmies and Joes, and this has resulted in being blown out by teams of Virginia’s caliber. In order to win, the ‘Noles have to get pressure and make plays through the air, and they can’t do either.

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