Photo courtesy of wlpearce.com/Florida State athletics

In a contest that nobody would have predicted the last time these two teams met, North Carolina football is undefeated entering this weekend against the 1-3 Florida State Seminoles.

This game should be an absolute shootout. Both teams have solid offenses and porous defenses.

Florida State leads the series at 15-3-1, but the Tar Heels are on a two-game win streak. Let’s take a look into how the teams stack up against each other.

FLORIDA STATE VS. (5) NORTH CAROLINA

  • Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, FL
  • Saturday, Oct. 17 at 7:30 p.m. ET (ABC)
  • North Carolina -13.5, O/U 65
  • Last Game:
    • FSU: L, 42-26, Notre Dame
    • North Carolina: W, 56-45, Virginia Tech

WHEN FSU’S ON OFFENSE

Florida State’s offense is finally looking like a legitimate force. While there were ups and downs against Notre Dame last week, the team scored its first multiple-touchdown game against a Power 5 opponent.

The Noles were able to manage 405 total yards of offense against a stingy Notre Dame defense. This caused the group to jump five spots in ESPN’s SP+ rankings this week, landing at 52nd.

Despite the noted improvement, FSU desperately needs to improve on having success early and producing short yardage on third downs. The Seminoles averaged 7.9 yards remaining on third downs, resulting in an ugly 14.3% conversion rate on 14 attempts.

Luckily for Florida State, North Carolina’s defense isn’t all that impressive. The Tar Heels are 38th of 76 active teams in terms of defensive efficiency, and are allowing 350 yards per game. In order to stop the Noles, they will need to consistently get pressure and force throws. Quarterback Jordan Travis has proven he’s a solid passer, but he’s not going to be the guy to sit there and pick apart defenses.

WHEN FSU’S ON DEFENSE

To say Florida State’s defense has had a rough year is a massive understatement. The Seminoles are 67th in terms of defensive efficiency out of 76 teams. The group allowed 40-plus points and 500-plus yards to an opponent for the second time in four games.

The Noles have been plagued with injuries, but more importantly, haven’t been able to get any pressure along the defensive line. The team has only managed three total sacks in its four contests, with only two coming from a defensive lineman. In addition, the line has only been responsible for just over four total tackles for loss.

North Carolina’s offense, on the other hand, is firing on all cylinders. This is not a pretty match-up for this Florida State defense. The Tar Heel offense is averaging nearly 507 yards and 38 points per game. Head coach Mack Brown has them ranked eighth in the country in offensive efficiency, and they should continue to be virtually unstoppable this Saturday.

OTHER FACTORS

Florida State has taken a huge loss in offensive production as star wide receiver Tammorion Terry is out for the upcoming game. Terry exploded for 146 yards and a touchdown against the Fighting Irish, but the impressive performance re-aggravated a knee injury.

North Carolina appears to be regaining defensive lineman Raymond Vohasek as he returns from injury. Vohasek is a huge part of the North Carolina defensive front, and will improve the Tar Heels’ ability to get pressure on defense.

PREDICTIONS

John: UNC, 56-21. The FSU defense looks terrible. Its linebackers can’t even guess the right gap.

Cory: UNC, 49-21. My original prediction was 49-31. However, Tamorrion Terry’s absence is worth about 10 points, as he is at the very least a deep threat. Without this threat, the Tar Heels stack the box and force Travis to make plays with his arm.

James: UNC, 49-13. Florida State isn’t progressing enough to beat UNC. The defense has even regressed.

Mike: UNC, 45-30. North Carolina is loaded with playmakers on offense and Florida State has shown the ability to stop absolutely no one. With a healthy Jordan Travis, FSU could have another solid offensive night, but it won’t be able to keep pace with the Tar Heels.

Jake: UNC, 52-33. Tamorrion Terry is a huge loss, but FSU has the playmakers to step up. Unfortunately, Florida State’s defense is about to be manhandled by an elite UNC offense.