Florida State isn't winning games to the same dominating degree it did last season, but there are caveats to go with that: for one thing, matching the rare destructive power of last year's team would be incredibly tough, even with a Heisman-winning quarterback returning. Plus, the Seminoles have already played a pair of top-25 teams this year, one of them without that Heisman-winning quarterback.
While the margins on the scoreboard haven't been as impressive, the Seminoles are still performing at a high level. Here's a glance at how the Wolfpack and Seminoles rank nationally in some major statistical categories:
|NC State||Metric||Florida State|
|42||Opp. Yds/Pass Att.||97|
Bit of a gulf there between the S&P+ figures and the per-play averages, which look downright mediocre (or worse). The S&P+ numbers, which are adjusted for strength of opponent, suggest a much bleaker immediate future for NC State (as does FPI). Playing one of the tougher early-season schedules in the country has obviously taken a toll on FSU's raw statistics. Additionally, the Noles' offense did not respond well to the absence of Cheeseball McYellSwears on Saturday, rushing for only 13 yards and averaging a meager 4.8 yards per play. That will not be an issue this week.
In the Jameis Winston era, the Seminoles have been held under five yards per play twice, including that Clemson game. The only time it happened with Winston under center, oddly enough, was against Wake Forest last season. (FSU won by eight touchdowns anyway.)
With Winston back on the field, it's much more likely that the Seminoles get back to chewing up an average of six or seven yards per snap, especially considering how underwhelming NC State's defense has looked at times. Stranger things have happened, I guess, but I'm not optimistic. The Wolfpack doesn't have the speed or skill to create serious problems for FSU, so this is probably where the game is going to be lost.
There is at least some reason to believe that NC State's offense will show more life this time around, but enough life to win a game of Keep Up With Jameis & Co.? Nah, that ain't happening.