The 2022 season is upon us for Florida State.
Fresh off a 5-7 campaign, the Seminoles will open the year on Saturday against Duquesne. FSU has suffered through four straight losing seasons.
Third-year head coach Mike Norvell will look to flip the script in 2022. For him to keep his job, that is a must.
Our 4-part series predicting the outcome of each FSU game in 2022 continues. We opened on Monday by looking at the first three contests. The series continues with contests to conclude September and open a rough October.
vs. Boston College, Sept. 24
In last year’s matchup with the Eagles, the Seminoles dominated early in Chestnut Hill. Malik McClain’s 15-yard touchdown catch from Jordan Travis gave FSU a commanding 26-3 lead early in the third quarter. However, penalties — some questionable — derailed an FSU offense that was clicking on all cylinders. FSU held on to win, 26-23. Now, Boston College has to travel to Doak Campbell Stadium to play a motivated Seminole team that we have coming off a loss at Louisville.
Boston College quarterback Phil Jurkovec is returning for the Eagles. He was limited in 2021 after suffering a hand injury early in the year but did showcase signs of success. In limited action, Jurkovec finished with 912 passing yards, seven touchdowns and only four interceptions. Running back Pat Garwo III is someone to monitor after rushing for 1,045 yards and seven touchdowns in 2021.
The Eagles will also be returning their leading wide receiver from a season ago in Zay Flowers (746 yards and five touchdowns). However, they have to replace all five of their starting offensive linemen, which could spell doom against an FSU team looking to get back on track.
Veteran defensive end Marcus Valdez (five sacks), linebacker Kam Arnold (61 tackles) and defensive back Jaiden Woodbey, a former Seminole, are players to watch on defense. How Boston College’s offensive line situation comes together will go a long way in determining what kind of season the Eagles have.
Prediction: FSU 31, Boston College 20
vs. Wake Forest, Oct. 1
During their 2021 meeting, the Seminoles were beaten soundly by the Demon Deacons. That was thanks largely to an offensive performance that saw Florida State turn the football over six times en route to a 35-14 defeat. Wake Forest was thought to be led by prolific quarterback Sam Hartman. Hartman had 4,228 passing yards and 39 touchdowns last season but has suffered a non-football medical procedure and is out indefinitely.
Michael Kern will likely take over behind center for Wake Forest. Luckily for the Demon Deacons, he will have one of the best wide receivers in the entire country at his disposal in A.T. Perry (1,293 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2021). Linebacker Ryan Smenda (83 tackles) is someone to monitor in Wake’s bend-but-don’t-break defense. Given the uncertainty of Hartman’s return, this could prove to be a nice day for the home crowd in Tallahassee.
Prediction: FSU 34, Wake Forest 21
at NC State, Oct. 8
In last season’s matchup with the Wolfpack, the Seminoles’ roster was decimated by the flu. Most notably, quarterback Jordan Travis was not available and in came McKenzie Milton. Given everything that Florida State had to endure for the contest, it was still somewhat competitive as the Seminoles fell to NC State at home by a score of 28-14.
Fast forward to this season and the Seminoles have to travel to Carter-Finley Stadium where they have historically not played well. They’re 2-4 record in their last six contests in Raleigh. The Wolfpack are led by quarterback Devin Leary (3,433 passing yards, 35 touchdowns and five interceptions in 2021).
It shouldn’t be discounted that they have a suspect returning cast of running backs led by Jordan Houston (83 yards and one touchdown in 2021). NC State must also replace leading receiver Emeka Emezie (802 yards and six touchdowns).
The NC State defense, led by All-ACC linebacker Drake Thomas (99 tackles), should be dominant. They also have former Nole defensive tackle Cory Durden, who is a key piece up front. Overall, this will be a huge task for the defense to contain such a dynamic quarterback in a hostile road environment where the Seminoles have traditionally struggled.
Prediction: NC State, 35 FSU 27
Featured image courtesy of Florida State athletics