Photo courtesy of Florida State athletics

It’s been a rough ride for Florida State football so far.

The Seminoles are 0-2, suffering a close loss to Georgia Tech at home and a shellacking by ACC rival Miami.

Luckily for the Noles, the upcoming contest against Jacksonville State should serve as a “get-right” game. They desperately need the positive momentum of a win, as the follow-up game is a road trip to face Notre Dame.

FLORIDA STATE VS. JACKSONVILLE STATE

  • Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, FL
  • Saturday, Oct. 3 at 4 p.m. ET (Raycom Sports)
  • FSU -26.5, O/U 54.5
  • Last Game:
    • FSU: L, 52-10, Miami
    • Jacksonville State: N/A

WHEN FSU’S ON OFFENSE

Florida State’s offense has been nothing short of awful thus far. In its two losses on the season, the group has only managed one touchdown per game, in addition to three field goals. The offense currently sits at 78th, per ESPN’s SP+ ratings.

The offense has only been able to muster 377 yards through the air, and the rushing game is averaging 3.7 yards per carry.

There are a couple of reasons to look forward to seeing this offense against Jacksonville State. Firstly, fans will likely see all four scholarship quarterbacks get some action. James Blackman has been lackluster up to this point, and if the Noles can get ahead early, the coaches should let the freshmen get some live reps.

Secondly, the offensive line should have no issue blocking Jacksonville State’s defensive front. Its front four aren’t exactly world-beaters, and the Noles’ offensive line has been serviceable up to this point.

If the offense struggles in this game, FSU has a major problem.

WHEN FSU’S ON DEFENSE

Despite its horrid performance against Miami last week, Florida State’s defense is still ranked 50th, per ESPN’s SP+ ratings. The defense hasn’t looked good, allowing 477.5 yards and 34 points per game through two contests.

The defensive group has also failed to get off the field on third downs, allowing a 59.4% conversion rate. When it does get the stop on third down, it has allowed an 80% conversion rate on fourth downs.

The defensive line has been bullied at the line of scrimmage, linebackers are slow to fill their gaps, and the defensive backs are allowing completions on neaarly 69% of opponents’ passes.

Defensive coordinator Adam Fuller needs to figure things out quickly, because the Gamecocks’ offense could actually be formidable. Their quarterback — former 4-star Clemson commit Zerrick Cooper — has thrown 60 touchdown passes in the past two seasons. He is one touchdown shy of Jacksonville State’s career passing touchdown record entering the game against FSU.

OTHER FACTORS

Head coach Mike Norvell will be returning to coach this game for Florida State. Norvell did not coach against Miami because he tested positive for COVID-19 and was quarantining.

FSU has made some changes to the depth chart. True freshman Chubba Purdy is now listed as co-backup with fellow quarterbacks Tate Rodemaker and Jordan Travis. Wide receivers Ontaria Wilson and Keyshawn Helton have made their way up the depth chart as well, earning co-starter status with Warren Thompson and Tamorrion Terry.

Linebackers Jaleel McRae and DJ Lundy have earned co-starter status with “Will” linebacker Emmett Rice. Stephen Dix, Jr. is now a co-starter at the “Mike” linebacker position with Leonard Warner III.

It looks like the coaching staff is looking to get the younger guys more involved.

PREDICTIONS

John: FSU, 42-17. As much fear-mongering as everyone will be doing, FSU will be able to work on fundamentals with young guys. Jacksonville State hasn’t played a game since last November and will be rusty. A lot of frustration will be taken out this week. This is the first week I’ve picked FSU to win.

Cory: FSU, 31-18. FSU gets off the schneid with a win. Nothing is pretty, except for the fact that it is most decidedly better than 2009’s 19-9 win.

James: FSU, 27-17. Jacksonville State has a quarterback that can throw it forward accurately and FSU doesn’t. FSU’s best quarterback is probably going to go out with his clavicle partially healed, but the FSU defense finally puts pressure on someone.

Mike: FSU, 34-17. It’s hard to see anything this Florida State team does being a thing of beauty, but the Seminoles will get their first win and an opportunity to feel good about themselves before making the trip to South Bend.

Jake: FSU, 40-23. After the “best practice of the season so far”, FSU’s offense gets off to a hot start. The scripted drives are enough for a few touchdowns, and the freshman quarterbacks help score some points as well. The defense looks better, but not by much.