Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#123 Wake Forest vs.
#124 Florida State (FSU)
Saturday, October 1, 2022 at 3:30pm EDT
Written by Eric P.

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The Florida State Seminoles play host to the Wake Forest Demon Deacons on Saturday afternoon from Doak S. Campbell Stadium in a crucial ACC tilt. The Seminoles come into this one off to a hot start, sitting at 4-0 on the season. For Wake Forest, a loss last week to Clemson has tempered expectations slightly, though a 3-1 record still is a sign that this team can't be taken lightly. The Demon Deacons have won two straight in the series and with the 21-point win last season, the Seminoles will surely be looking for revenge in this one.

Wake Forest Aims For Bounce Back

The Demon Deacons turned quite a few heads last week, even despite the loss. Welcoming Clemson to town is never easy and while they took the Tigers to overtime, there is certainly some sting to how that game ended. With it being their first loss of the season, they're hoping that the issue doesn't parley into back-to-back defeats. The Demon Deacons didn't look great two weeks ago against Liberty either, with the hope that they can bounce back in this one. Having won two in a row in the series should give them some confidence, especially given all the experience on their sideline, though the road has been a challenge for them over the last few seasons.

Wake Forest only has four players listed on their most recent injury report, though three of those four have already been ruled out for the season. The status of long snapper Jacob Zuhr (undisclosed) is actually one to keep an eye on. While far from the most notable position, he plays an integral role that is difficult to replace. With this game expected to be down to the wire, special teams could make or break this opportunity.

Offensively, Wake Forest has a lethal passing attack and with some more balance on the ground, could continue to outpace opponents. They rank 16th in passing offense but only 105th in rushing offense. With the Seminoles squared away with one of the ACC's best passing defenses, it'll be interesting what the Demon Deacons come up with. Limiting turnovers has been key for this group and their ability to strike quickly could work in their favor on the road. In the end, this group will go where Sam Hartman (13 touchdowns, 2 interceptions) will take them and if he can find a rhythm early, it'll be key.

Last week, the defense showed a clear weakness within this group. Their inability to get crucial stops hurt them and with Florida State building momentum in their own right on the offensive end, the scoring should continue. Stopping the run will be key and as the game progressed last week against Clemson, their inability to control the clock caught up with them. Malik Mustapha (2.5 sacks, 27 total tackles) is a force in the secondary, while the more that fans hear Ryan Smenda Jr's (27 total tackles) name called, the better the Demon Deacons will likely be playing.

Seminoles Off To Hot Start

After years of Florida State battling irrelevance in the current college football landscape, it finally appears as if things might be trending in a positive direction for this group. At 4-0, this is one of their best starts in recent memories and with two of those being road or neutral site wins against LSU and Louisville, it's clear that this group has a different mentality than in seasons past. Last week saw them coast to a 44-14 win over Boston College and the luxury of staying at home for the second-straight week can't be understated. With some struggles against Wake Forest in the last few years, it'll be crucial for them to get out of the gates fast in this one.

One concern is the growing length of Florida State's injury report, with it now having 10 players on it. With five listed as out already, eyes turn to the other five players to see how Florida State's depth might look. The offensive line has been hit hardest, with two out and a third questionable for the weekend.

Florida State's offense comes into this one with the distinct advantage of having quite a bit of balance. With the nation's 13th-best running game, along with ranking 40th in passing yards, this group can go either way to win this one. Wake Forest will live through the air but if the Seminoles control the game on the ground, they can take some of the wins out of their sales. Jordan Travis (5 touchdowns, 1 interception) has been electric at quarterback, and with a running back by committee, the depth is key.

Defensively, all eyes will be on how Florida State can slow down Wake Forest through the air. The Demon Deacons will try to expose them through the air but with one of the ACC's best secondaries, the Seminoles won't make things easy. Stopping opponents on the ground has been another story, though it might not be a worry or concern in this one. With Tatum Bethune (25 tackles, 1 sack) and Kalen DeLoach (22 tackles, 1.5 sacks) leading the way in the middle of the field, this team has the experience to fare far better than Clemson did against Wake Forest last week.

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While winning this game outright could be a challenge, the Demon Deacons have the offense to keep pace with most opponents. Last week against Clemson, it took overtime for Wake Forest to not seal the deal, and with the Seminoles looking a step below the Tigers this season, moving the ball should be easy again for this group. Florida State struggled to beat Louisville and LSU, two other high-flying offenses, and with Wake Forest being sharper and more explosive, there won't be many empty possessions for the Demon Deacons. Additionally, according to covers.com, Florida State is only 1-8 ATS in their last nine games after allowing fewer than 20 points in the previous game, while Wake Forest is 4-1-1 ATS in the last six meetings overall between the two teams.

Prediction: Wake Forest +7

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Wake Forest has one of college football's most explosive offenses and there shouldn't be much surprise to see this one become an incredibly high-scoring game as well. Each of Wake Forest's last three games has seen 70 points scored combined between the two teams. For Florida State, their offense has been growing in confidence over the last handful of games and Travis has the experience and confidence at quarterback to have quite a bit of confidence against Wake Forest. Neither of these two teams experiences many empty possessions, which will continue into this one. Additionally, according to covers.com, for Wake Forest, the over is 4-1 in their last five games following an ATS win, as well as being 5-1 in their last six road games against a team with a winning home record.

Prediction: Over 63.5
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Written By Eric Ploch , "Eric P."

Eric grew up surrounded by sports, whether it was spending the weekend catching games in person or on tv, or heading out to the fields to play whatever sport was in season. What started as a hobby, soon became a passion, as he became the sports editor of his high school newspaper, then wrote for his university newspaper during his undergrad years. After obtaining a degree in Sports Operations and Promotions, and spending 8 years deeply immersed in the sports world, Eric decided to take his love for analytics and predictions, and his experience, to online sports fans everywhere. James is now an integral part of our team here at StatSalt and has also been a very successful sports bettor over the years. Be sure and follow him daily.