Despite what some may consider a close call for the No. 2 Florida State Seminoles in week 10 against Louisville, the reigning champs came out on top and still haven’t lost a game since 2012. The Virginia Cavaliers, on the other hand, are looking to become bowl eligible with two more wins — something that didn’t seem so tough to do after a 4-2 start to the year. Three straight losses have put the Cavaliers’ bowl hopes in jeopardy.
Jameis Winston was expected to come into this season and dominate as the reigning Heisman winner and one of the best collegiate quarterbacks in recent memory. Winston has had his fair share of off-field issues, however, leading to a somewhat underachieving season — under his standards. The sophomore quarterback has passed for 2,279 yards, 16 touchdowns and an elevated nine interceptions while completing 67 percent of his passes to guys like Rashad Greene and Nick O’Leary. Greene leads the team by a wide margin with 58 catches for 853 yards and four touchdowns while O’Leary is second with 33 catches for 364 yards and two scores. Karlos Williams has had some off-field issues of his own as the senior running back has been somewhat of a disappointment, rushing for 450 yards and seven touchdowns while speedy freshman Dalvin Cook has been impressive, rushing for 380 yards and five touchdowns.
Virginia has one of the most average offenses in the nation this year, ranking 58th in passing yards, 74th in rushing yards and 84th in points per game. The Cavaliers are led by sophomore quarterback Greyson Lambert — for now. I say for now because Lambert and fellow sophomore Matt Johns have been splitting time this year. Lambert leads the team with 1,055 yards, five touchdowns and eight picks while Johns has been a bit better, passing for 1,044 yards, eight touchdowns and five interceptions. Darius Jennings has been the favorite target of both quarterbacks, racking up 421 yards and a touchdown while Canaan Severin leads the team with 30 catches to go along with 385 yards and three scores. Senior running back Kevin Parks is rounding out a solid career with a team-high 626 yards and four touchdowns.
Defensively, Virginia’s defense has kept it in multiple contests, allowing just 24.2 points per game — ranking 51st in the nation. However, the total defense has been much more impressive, ranking 28th in yards allowed per game (344.7). Florida State has dropped off drastically from last season’s top-ranked unit. The Seminoles have the 42nd-ranked scoring defense as well as the 63rd-ranked total defense.
Virginia will travel to Florida State to take on the Seminoles at 6:30 p.m. EST on Saturday, Nov. 8. The game will be broadcasted on ESPN.
PREDICTION: Virginia 13, Florida State 34
Connor Muldowney is a columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Connormuldowney, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also reach him at email@example.com.