Brock Berlin has never faced pressure like this and not having Frank Gore will make his task that much more difficult. Berlin needs to work on his decision-making because FSU will make him pay if he throws into triple-coverage.
Chris Rix seems to finally have found his groove, but if he wants to notch his first win against UM he will have to keep the Stella act going. Rix is having his best year yet, despite his inability to park in legal parking spots.
The ‘Canes lost Frank Gore for the season when he tore his ACL. Gore’s injury leaves two fifth-year seniors, Jarrett Payton and Jason Geathers, to carry the load, and with so many people doubting their worth they will be out to prove themselves.
Greg Jones looks like a Mack truck and if the ‘Canes found it hard to tackle West Virginia’s Quincy Wilson then they’re in for a huge surprise this week. Anyone who saw Jones pulverize a UNC player with a stiff arm in FSU’s first game should fear him.
The ‘Canes receivers have dropped some balls this season but overall they have played well. Kellen Winslow gives the ‘Canes an edge in any game. He tore WVU apart with 10 catches and saved the season with a leaping fourth-down grab.
Craphonso Thorpe and P.K. Sam have connected with Rix all season but neither of them has reached super-star status yet. They might hit some big plays but Sam might seem wary to go near UM safety Sean Taylor after getting tattooed in last year’s contest.
The offensive line hasn’t allowed a sack in the last two games and they finally seem healthy and cohesive as a unit. They will have to work extra hard with two backs who lack the ability that Gore had.
FSU has a bunch of young guns protecting Rix and they have done all right so far. They don’t have any seniors on the line but Greg Jones averages five yards a carry.
Vince Wilfork needs to pick up the pace and lead this young line into battle. The undersized defensive ends will get a big boost if Baraka Atkins and Bryan Pata return from injury.
The d-line has led this stellar defense so far and they need to continue their dominance if they want to win. Darnell Dockett and the surprising Eric Moore anchor the team, which has 22 sacks on the season.
Jon Vilma and D.J. Williams have never lost to FSU and their tenacious play could keep the Hurricanes in the game. Darrell McClover and Rocky McIntosh will split time at the other linebacker slot.
In Michael Boulware and Kendyll Pope the ‘Noles have two of the best defenders in the country. Between UM and FSU, this game might feature the greatest group of linebackers in college football this season. One of these guys could have fits trying to cover Winslow.
Safety Maurice Sikes has a sprained knee and likely won’t play but Greg Threat seems like he’s ready for his time to shine. Brandon Meriweather might also get some time at safety if someone can re-inflate him after Quincy Wilson bulldozed him last week.
Senior Stanford Samuels leads this talented group that has only allowed 167 yards passing per game this season. Though the stats are impressive, they don’t have the play making ability of UM’s secondary.
Jon Peattie missed his first-ever collegiate field goal attempt. He must have the memory of a goldfish because he has hit 10 straight and he broke a school record with five in one game, including the game-winner with eleven seconds left. Devin Hester returns from an ankle injury to give the ‘Canes a major threat at kick returner.
FSU kickers have a foul history when they play UM and Xavier Beitia probably can’t erase the image of missing a field goal that could have won the game for them last year. FSU also has dangerous kick returners in Craphonso Thorpe and Antonio Cromartie.