North Carolina vs. Florida State, 10/1/16 - Prediction

Game Snapshot

#166 Florida State University Seminoles
vs.
#165 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Tar Heels

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Image licensed from USA Today Sports
North Carolina Tar Heels 3-1 (2-2 ATS) at Florida State Seminoles 3-1 (2-1 ATS)

When and Where: Saturday, Oct. 1, Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, Fla. 3:30pm EDT (ESPN)

Line: Florida State -11

Total: 69

After a season opening loss to the Georgia Bulldogs, North Carolina has reeled off three consecutive wins, including their 37-36 win over Pittsburgh in this past weekend’s ACC Opener.  Florida State did not fare as well in their first conference game, getting run off the field in their 63-20 loss at Louisville.  The Seminoles rebounded with a 30-point win on Saturday in Tampa against South Florida.  The Tar Heels have beaten FSU just twice in 17 all-time meetings, but one of those victories came in the last meeting between the two sides.  UNC went to Tallahassee in 2010 and came away with a 37-35 victory.

Trubisky Leads the Tar Heels

The North Carolina offense continues to impress during the 2016 campaign. After scoring 24 points in their season opening nine-point loss to UGA, the Heels have now put up 48, 56, and 37 points in consecutive wins. The architect of that offense is junior quarterback Mitch Trubisky, who has thrown for 1,306 yards, ten touchdowns and not a single interception.  FIve of those touchdowns came in the one-point victory over the Panthers, with the last one coming with just two seconds remaining. On the day, he would finish with a career-high 453 yards on 35-for-46 passing. More important than the stats was the fact that he led his team back from a 13-point deficit with five and a half minutes remaining.  UNC had the ball for just 33 seconds in the first quarter and allowed the first 12 points of the game before the offense woke and Trubisky found Mack Collins on a 39-yard scoring strike with 11:40 remaining in the second quarter. The team converted all four of their fourth down attempts in the ball game but will look to improve on the running game after rushing for just 18 yards on 22 carries.

Noles Earn Needed Victory

Still smarting from the 43-point beatdown at the hands of Louisville, Florida State came out a little stiff at Raymond James Stadium against USF.  The Noles allowed 14 points in the first 3:11 of the contest. The Bulls scored on the first play of the game with an 84-yard touchdown pass. Florida State would also score on their first play from scrimmage when Dalvin Cook scampered 75 yards to tie things up. Cook seems to love playing against South Florida as he now has his two highest rushing out puts of his career against the Bulls. The junior ran for 267 yards and two scores on Saturday, after going for 266 yards against USF last season in Tallahassee.  After falling down 14-7 at the Ray-Jay, the Seminoles settled into form before taking a 38-14 lead into the locker rooms.  The squad would end up with 647 total yards in the 55-35 win, but also gave up 450 yards to the upstart Bulls.  478 of the Noles’ yards came on the ground as they controlled the ball for over 40 minutes in the ballgame.  Cook now has 495 yards and four touchdowns on the year.

Trends:

North Carolina is:

  • 18-39 ATS in their last 57 games after accumulating more than 280 yards passing in their previous game
  • 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games after allowing more than 200 yards rushing in their previous game

Florida State is:

  • 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games after allowing more than 200 yards rushing in their previous game
  • 6-0 ATS in their last 6 games on grass
  • 5-1 ATS in their last 6 home games
  • 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following an ATS win

If North Carolina has trouble hanging with Georgia in a neutral site game (well, Atlanta), then there is no reason to think they will be able to keep up with Florida State in Tallahassee.  The Seminoles are continuing to try to get the taste of the Cardinals out of their mouth and this will be their first appearance in front of the home crowd since that embarrassing loss.  The difference maker here should be the Tar Heels inability to run the ball effectively.

Pick: Florida State -11.5

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Chuck D

Chuck Dowling is a 30-something University of Florida J-School alum that lives in his mother’s basement. Just kidding... there are no basements in Florida (the ground is too moist). He has been in the “biz” for his entire adult life and specializes in NCAA football and basketball, as well as soccer, boxing, and MMA. When not writing, Chuck moonlights as a high school athletics radio and internet-television broadcaster.