It’s not often you see a defending national champion that is undefeated and returning its starting quarterback and reigning Heisman winner drop in the rankings from No. 1 to No. 3 this season. However, the Florida State Seminoles have failed to win with style points against lesser opponents this season. The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets are looking to end the Seminoles’ string of wins and good luck in the ACC title game.
As I stated earlier, the Seminoles have returned last year’s Heisman winner in Jameis Winston, yet the sophomore quarterback is having a somewhat pedestrian season and has thrown more interceptions, 17, than any Florida State quarterback in quite some time. On the year, Winston has passed for 3,251 yards and 21 touchdowns while completing about 65 percent of his passes. Freshman running back Dalvin Cook has emerged in the run game as the team’s top rusher despite Karlos Williams beginning the year as the starter, rushing for 728 yards and seven touchdowns on 5.9 yards per touch. Rashad Greene has been the receiving game’s top weapon, catching a team-high 86 passes for 1,183 yards and five touchdowns while tight end Nick O’Leary has been solid as well, catching 44 passes for 517 yards and five scores.
Like many Georgia Tech squads in recent years, the Yellow Jackets of 2014 have been a run-first offense with a passing attack that ranks near the bottom of the nation. The Yellow Jackets have the fourth-best run offense in the nation behind the likes of quarterback Justin Thomas, senior running back Zach Laskey and fellow senior Synjyn Days. Thomas leads the team with 861 rushing yards and five touchdowns followed by Laskey’s 748 yards and eight scores as well as Days’ 686 yards and three rushing touchdowns. Outside of the top three rushers, the Yellow Jackets have eight more guys who have rushed for over 100 yards on the year — yes, that’s 11 total players who have rushed for over 100 yards on the season. Senior wide out DeAndre Smelter is the only receiver worth noting as he is one of two with over 10 catches this year, racking up 35 receptions for 715 yards and seven scores. Thomas has passed for just 1,460 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2014.
Defensively, Georgia Tech isn’t exactly considered one of the best defenses in the nation, but it’s considered above average. The Yellow Jackets rank 43rd in the nation in scoring defense and 60th in total defense. Florida State isn’t quite the same team it was a year ago, but the Seminoles have been solid again, ranking 47th in total defense as well as 27th in scoring defense.
Florida State will travel to Bank of America Stadium to take on the Yellow Jackets at 8 p.m. EST on Saturday, Dec. 6. The game will be broadcasted on ABC.
PREDICTION: Florida State 34, Georgia Tech 30
Want to see the Seminoles take on the Yellow Jackets in week 15? Check out ScoreBig for tickets.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.