Florida State is going back to the drawing board as they host Northern Illinois on Saturday afternoon at Doak Campbell Stadium. The Seminoles are off to an 0-2 start in ACC play and were embarrassed by Syracuse last time out. The Huskies got their first win against Central Michigan.
Huskies defense can’t bail out their mediocre offense
Northern Illinois’ defense has been strong throughout most of this season. They’ve allowed 22 points per game, and that would be lower if the defense didn’t collapse in their opener at Iowa. After that blowout loss, they held Utah and CMU to 16.5 points on average. The defense has capitalized mostly on stopping the run, holding teams to 147 rushing yards per game (67th nationally). In total, they allow 342.7 yards per game, which is 51st nationally.
Where the big problem lies is their offense, which scores just 12.3 points per game. The passing game has been unable to generate any consistency with quarterback Marcus Childers under center. He completes 56.6 percent of his passes for just 325 total yards through three games. The best offense has come from running back Tre Harbison with 228 yards on 32 carries.
Seminoles haven’t fared that much better in their offensive attack
Perhaps the best news Northern Illinois will hear in this matchup is how bad Florida State’s offense has been in comparison. They’ve been scoring just 15.3 points per game, but that’s inflated after a blowout win against an FCS foe. Against Virginia Tech and Syracuse, they have 10 total points — that’s especially bad considering the Orange defense has rarely shut down anyone. FSU has a bad mixture of not being able to run the ball and they can’t stop anybody passing it.
The Seminoles average just 96.7 rushing yards per game, mostly on the back of sophomore Cam Akers. He has 210 total rushing yards on 38 carries, and he’s averaged around 5.5 rushing yards per carry without finding pay dirt. Quarterback Deondre Francois had his worst game of the season against Syracuse, completing just 50 percent of his passes for 178 yards.
- 6-0 ATS in their last 6 against teams with a losing record
- 8-2 ATS in their last 10 non-conference games
- 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games overall
- 1-4 ATS in their last 5 road games
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Something has to give for a Seminoles defense that allows anybody to pass on them taking on an offense that can’t pass. Francois’ latest showing is very concerning for FSU, but the Huskies will be eventually overwhelmed in another tough place to play for a MAC school. They’ll take the paycheck but the speed of the ‘Noles will be the big factor in covering the spread.
Prediction: Florida State -9.5
Full-Game Total Pick
As expected, the total has completely tumbled for this matchup that features teams that barely score 30 points per game. If Florida State can barely score against Syracuse, they won’t score against NIU — they have a tougher defense than most ACC teams.
Prediction: Under 42