Just the facts: Florida State football preview, prediction vs. Louisiana
Florida State coach Mike Norvell would reach a noteworthy milestone if his team wins its next game.
He would improve to a .500 record (16-16) with the Seminoles for the first time in his three seasons atop their football program.
That accomplishment might seem ordinary or unimpressive. But it should be perceived as a significant feat when knowing how far FSU has come. Under Norvell, the Seminoles started 3-10 and have since been 12-6.
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No. 19 FSU (7-3) looks to be in a prime position to keep its momentum going when hosting Louisiana (5-5) in Doak Campbell Stadium at noon Saturday (TV: Bally Sports Sun).
If the Seminoles build a sizable lead, they would be able to rest their starters and minimize injury risk before facing Florida in a rivalry showdown next Friday. FSU also would be able to give valuable reps to younger players.
Per Bet Online on Friday morning, the Seminoles were 24-point betting favorites against the Ragin’ Cajuns. So instead of assessing why FSU would win or lose, let’s take a look at why each team would cover the spread.
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Why FSU will cover the spread
Since the start of their ongoing three-game winning streak, the Seminoles have been unstoppable.
FSU outscored Georgia Tech, Miami and Syracuse by a combined 124-22. The Seminoles were only single-digit betting favorites against the Hurricanes and the Orange but dropped them 45-3 and 38-3, respectively.
And FSU’s dominance has come on both sides of the ball.
On offense, the Seminoles have been elite in practically every measurable way. They are No. 1 nationally in plays of 20-plus yards (75). They are tied with TCU for No. 16 in rushing yards per game (213.6). And quarterback Jordan Travis provides balance through the air, coming in at No. 12 in passing efficiency (161.5 rating).
On defense, FSU has been stout against the pass. The Seminoles are No. 2 in passing yards allowed per game (155), No. 7 in passing yards per attempt (5.92), No. 25 in passing yards per completion (13.44) and No. 28 in opponent passing efficiency (119.89 rating).
Overall, FSU is now one of just four teams in the country – joining Georgia, Ohio State and Alabama – that ranks in the top 20 in total offense and defense. The Seminoles also are one of three teams, along with the Bulldogs and Buckeyes, that are top 10 in yards per play on offense and defense.
This explosive FSU team could overwhelm Louisiana, which may not have the offense to cover the spread. The Ragin’ Cajuns are No. 78 in rushing offense (141.9 yards per game), No. 90 in passing efficiency (128.05 rating) and No. 83 in total offense (368.8 total yards per game).
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Why Louisiana will cover the spread
The Ragin’ Cajuns have recently been one of the nation’s best Group of Five teams.
Under former coach Billy Napier, who is now in the same role at the University of Florida, Louisiana compiled a 34-5 record in its last three seasons combined.
This season, the Ragin’ Cajuns have taken a major step back and are in jeopardy of not earning bowl eligibility. But three of their five losses have been decided by six points or fewer. They also boast a solid defense.
Louisiana comes in at No. 20 in opponent passing efficiency (117.17 rating), No. 31 nationally in run defense (141.9 yards allowed per game), No. 31 in scoring defense (21.2 points allowed per game) and No. 41 in total defense (354.3 yards allowed per game).
So maybe the Ragin’ Cajuns could keep the Seminoles out of the end zone and force them to kick some field goals. Louisiana forces takeaways at a high rate as well, ranking No. 9 in turnovers gained (21).
It’s also possible that FSU will come out with low intensity in a noon game against a Group of Five team, especially six days before facing Florida.
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Look for FSU to comfortably cover the spread in this one.
The Seminoles have been playing too well lately to expect a different result. They also have yet to overlook an inferior opponent this season. FSU dominated the four woeful opponents on its schedule, clobbering Duquesne (44-7), Boston College (44-14), Georgia Tech (41-16) and Miami (45-3).
Expect younger players like true freshman quarterback AJ Duffy to receive plenty of action in this one.
Final score: Florida State 41, Louisiana 10.
Who: FSU (7-3) vs. Louisiana (5-5)
When/Where: Saturday, noon; Doak Campbell Stadium
TV/Radio: Bally Sports Sun/94.9FM
Reach Carter Karels at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @CarterKarels. You can also follow our coverage on Facebook (NoleSports) and Instagram (tlhnolesports).
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