FSU will host the Jacksonville State Gamecocks Saturday at 8 PM on the ACC Network.
Jacksonville State is 0-1 on the year after getting pummeled by UAB 31-0.
The ‘Noles beat the Gamecocks 41-24 last year in Mike Norvell’s first victory at FSU.
If the opening weekend of 2021 is any indication the Seminoles are trending upward and JSU is going in the opposite direction.
Observations from the last game
It was a breath of fresh air to see the ‘Noles play confident and aggressive without an ounce of quit. Yes, a few mistakes were made like pre-snap penalties, turnovers and bad snaps but it wasn’t every other play like in years past.
And yes, Mackenzie Milton is back! His ability to make quick decisions can really help the offense.
Jordan Travis performed admirably leading 4 touchdown drives but still wasn’t able to pull the trigger on a few pass plays, which forced him to scramble.
The centers, Maurice Smith and Baveon Johnson need to work on their snapping and pass blocking. The running backs Jashaun Corbin (144 yards), Lawrence Toafili (34 yards), Treshaun Ward (76 yards) lived up to the preseason hype.
Transfer defensive ends Jermaine Johnson and Keir Thomas brought the pass rush and set the edge against the run, which set up opportunities for the linebackers and DBs to make plays. Linebacker Kalen DeLoach and defensive backs Sidney Williams, Brenden Gant and Jarvis Brownlee showed their off-season improvement by playing aggressive but within themselves, which helped the defense immensely.
Florida State offense vs Jacksonville State defense
In last year’s game, FSU got off to a horrible start until Jordan Travis led the comeback and has been the starter ever since. Corbin and Toafili had big games as well. After last year’s dominance on the ground, I expect Norvell and offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham to call lots of run plays until FSU is up big enough to work on the passing game.
Florida State defense vs Jacksonville State offense
JSU quarterback Zerrick Cooper (22/30 for 232 yards) played well against the ‘Noles last year but this match-up may be different with Coopers favorite targets leaving and FSU’s new look defense. Jacksonville State returns its leading rusher in Josh Samuel, but he was held to only 13 yards versus UAB. However, the Gamecocks did lose their top three leaving receivers. I expect the Seminole defense to control the game except for a couple plays where the defense loses focus. This lack of focus could lead to chunk yardage plays ending with points for Jacksonville State.
FSU’s Ryan Fitzgerald and Alex Mastromanno have the advantage over the Jacksonville State specialists.
FSU will look like the better team in this match-up, but the scoreboard might not be as lopsided as most people think. Due to a short week for the garnet and gold and 3 extra days for JSU to prepare, FSU will need to stretch the depth chart. Florida State 40 Jacksonville State 14.