Florida State fans can’t wait to get a second look at freshman phenom Jameis Winston. It seems like a month has passed since Winston ripped apart the Pittsburgh Panthers‘ secondary to the tune of 25-27 for 356 yards and four touchdowns. With a bye week last week, the anticipation for his encore performance is almost palpable.
On Saturday, the Nevada Wolfpack travel to Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee to try their hand at slowing down Winston and the Seminoles. Nevada opened the season with an embarrassing 58-20 loss to UCLA, but rebounded to beat UC Davis last week. Now, they make their first ever road trip to Florida to play another nationally ranked team.
The Wolfpack are led by talented junior quarterback Cody Fajardo, who has thrown for over 400 yards and two scores this season. He’s an intriguing name for a lot of NFL scouts, because he has the arm talent to make all the throws. His leading receiver is Richy Turner, who has turned his 12 catches into 183 yards and a touchdown in 2013. He also has all conference wide Brandon Wimberly to throw to, but he’s off to a bit of a slow start.
While the Wolfpack were able to move the ball well against UC Davis, this isn’t UC Davis. The Seminoles’ defense has ranked inside the top 10 each of the last two seasons, and appear to be just as loaded with talent this Fall. Senior linebackers Christian Jones and Telvin Smith were dominant in their season opening win, as was fellow senior defensive back Lamarcus Joyner.
The Seminoles’ defense used a variety of blitz packages against Pittsburgh and will likely continue to pressure teams, because they have the capacity to play man-to-man on the outside. The defensive ends weren’t much of a presence in Week 1, so look for defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt to cut them loose against the Wolfpack.
The Seminoles are balanced on offense, thanks to a rushing attack led by Devonta Freeman and James Wilder Jr. Just this week, head coach Jimbo Fisher announced that junior Karlos Williams would be moving from safety to running back, to provide the Seminoles with more explosiveness from the position.
Wide receiver Rashad Greene had a nice chemistry with Winston in the opener, and could be ready for a truly remarkable season.
In the end, the Wolfpack has too many question marks to head into hostile territory and beat an outstanding football team. Their first trip to the sunshine state won’t be pleasant.
Prediction: Florida State 48 – Nevada 13