Photo courtesy of Florida State athletics
Florida State is coming off a timely bye week and looking to get healthy.
A noon date with the University of Massachusetts is just what the doctor ordered. However, the Seminoles cannot catch themselves sleeping.
While the ‘Noles are heavily favored in this one, the 17-14 loss to FCS opponent Jacksonville State on Sept. 11 should serve as a reminder that no opponent should be overlooked.
Let’s take a look at what both teams bring to the table to begin the second half of the season.
FSU vs. Massachusetts
- Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Fla.
- Saturday, Oct. 23 at 12 p.m. ET (ACC Network)
- FSU -35.5, O/U 59.5
- Last Game:
- FSU: W, 35-25 at North Carolina
- UMass: W, 27-13 vs. Connecticut
When FSU’s On Offense
The Seminole offense is rolling. Quarterback Jordan Travis has shown significant growth in back-to-back starts and the coaching staff is leaning on the rushing attack.
Confidence is one of the biggest factors in college football, and the ‘Noles’ confidence is at a season-high. After the Week 4 loss to Louisville, the Seminoles were at a season-low offensive ranking of 61st, according to ESPN’s SP+ rankings.
FSU’s offense has been growing since, posting back-to-back games with at least 350 yards and four touchdowns. The hopeful ‘Noles are currently 33rd in the country on offense, and should show further improvement as players return to full health.
FSU has a very real opportunity to rest some for its weary players against the Minutemen. UMass’ defense is the worst in the FBS.
Opposing offenses are averaging 41.5 points and 480.7 yards per game against UMass. It would seem that all the ‘Noles have to do essentially, is show up.
When FSU’s On Defense
Florida State’s defense isn’t showing quite as much improvement as its offense, but it is improving nonetheless.
The Seminole defense also bottomed out in Week 4 at 81st in ESPN’s SP+ rankings. After allowing 30 points to a struggling Syracuse offense the following week, it was hard to see the defense showing any signs of progress.
However, a road trip to North Carolina in which the ‘Noles allowed the elite Tar Heel offense to score only 25 points was a clear sign. FSU’s offense was rolling, which allowed the defense to rest up for longer periods of time. In addition, the Seminole defensive line was bullying North Carolina quarterback Sam Howell all night.
As a result, FSU’s defense leapt to 71st entering the bye, and gained another four spots to 67th entering Week 8.
On the other side of the ball, there are only a handful of FBS teams worse than Massachusetts offensively. The Minutemen are 118th in the nation, averaging just under 17 points per game.
If the ‘Noles can build on their success from the previous two weeks, this matchup should be a walk in the park.
FSU has the potential for distractions in the upcoming matchup. The Seminoles face a trip to Death Valley to face bitter rival Clemson on Oct. 30, so they need to be careful not to lose focus of this week’s opponent.
Another factor of note is that Massachusetts is coached by none other than former FSU offensive coordinator Walt Bell. The young head coach coordinated FSU’s offense during a 5-7 campaign in 2018 before being hired as the head coach of the Minutemen. Bell is 2-20 at his current school, dropping 16 straight before beating Connecticut last time out.
This week is also homecoming week for FSU. The ‘Noles are on an eight-game homecoming winning streak and are looking to continue that streak.
Cory: FSU, 49-10. We’re happy about beating Walter. We’re not thrilled about how FSU wins.
John: FSU, 52-10. Florida State’s running game romps over UMass.
Mike: FSU, 48-17. Florida State will leave Doak Campbell Stadium on Saturday with its first three-game winning streak in four years. If the Seminoles can start strong, it should provide an opportunity for a lot of players to get much-needed reps.
Jake: FSU, 41-13. The ‘Noles start sluggish as they look ahead to Clemson, but pick up steam as the game progresses. We finally get to see some Chubba Purdy action late in the second half.
James: FSU, 35-7. This is the Walt Bell revenge game. But I do hope UMass’ lone touchdown comes from a running back, because I rock with Coach (Donte’) Pimp(leton).