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THE COLUMN: Virginia vs Florida State Complete Preview

No. 25 Hoos welcome the Noles to town

TIME: 7:30 PM (EST)

DATE: September 14th, 2019

LOCATION: Scott Stadium | Charlottesville, VA


The Lowdown

Two weeks in. So far, so good? Virginia took care of business on the road against Pittsburgh and beat up William & Mary at home. Though ranked No. 25, one can’t help but feel different from when the Hoos first got ranked last year. It took eight games last year for Virginia to crack the Top 25 and they lasted all but one week there. We all know the Hoos have high expectations this year and this week will be another sign for the sustained success that the team could reach.

Florida State is a name synonymous with football success but, let’s be real, they have been kinda bad of lately. The ‘Noles finished unranked the last two years. Not a big deal for most programs but, for perspective, they had been in the Top 25 at the end of the season for seven seasons between 2010-2016. This year, it has been shaky so far too.

When your social media team can’t get it together, you know it’s gonna be a rough year.

The Seminoles lost to a Boise State team with a freshman quarterback and then they needed a missed extra point to survive in OT against UL-Monroe. The Warhawks had only been to one bowl game in their program’s history. Interestingly too, in both games, Florida State was up big in halftime and then proceeded to implode in the second half.

Make no mistake though, this is a big game for both teams. Virginia is trying to prove its hype and a win against a big name program (even one on a downtrend) is still big. Florida State is trying to get back on track and still has talented players to make that happen. Under the lights, it could be one of the more exciting games this year in Charlottesville. Word going around is that a ‘lil banner is being raised in the local arena. Let’s see if the championship mentality is contagious.

The Statistics

from Danny Neckel

Florida State’s defense isn’t great

Category UVA Category FSU
Category UVA Category FSU
Passing Offense 61st (238) Passing Defense 119st (324)
3rd Down Offense 16th (55.2%) 3rd Down Defense 108th (47.1%)
Scoring Offense 30th (41) Scoring Defense 120th (40)
Rushing Offense 61st (172.5) Rushing Defense 107th (196)
Rushing Defense 15th (70.5) Rushing Offense 70th (159)

Hoo’s Hoo?

Virginia Cavaliers

Joe Reed, WR

Already Virginia’s all-time leader in kick return touchdowns, Joe Reed brought another one 100 yards to the house last week. Besides being an elite special teams player, the fourth-year is also expected to partially fill the gap due to the departure of Olamide Zaccheaus, the Cavaliers’ all-time leader in receptions. So far this season, Reed has caught 11 passes for 92 yards and one touchdown.

Virginia Cavaliers

Zane Zandier, LB

Third-year Zane Zandier a.k.a ZZ Stop really came into his own last season as he compiled 62 total tackles and two sacks. This year, he’s expected to provide a much larger impact for the Hoos’ defensive corps. Zandier already has 18 total tackles (10 solo) and one sack so far. Alongside Jordan Mack, Virginia has a formidable pair of linebackers that should amass a lot of tackles for the Hoos this year.

Virginia Cavaliers

Mike Hollins, RB

For Virginia, one of the big questions going into this season was who would emerge as the No. 1 running back. PK Kier, Wayne Taulapapa, and Mike Hollins have basically split the role so far, but Hollins proved why he might deserve more opportunities after last week. In 11 carries, he accumulated 78 yards plus two touchdowns. Still, Bryce Perkins will shoulder the load of rushing for Virginia but we may see more of Hollins this week.

Florida State Seminoles

James Blackman, QB

Redshirt Sophomore James Blackman has a lot to prove this year. He started most of the 2017 season in replacement of an injured Deondre Francois, but had to sit on the sidelines last season as he watched the Seminoles finish 5-7. After a rough first two games, Florida State is undoubtedly still figuring things out and Blackman will need to show that he is a capable starting quarterback.

Florida State Seminoles

Cam Akers, RB

Junior running back Cam Akers is the brightest star on the Seminoles’ offense. He is expected to shoulder a lot of the offensive load for Florida State and this Saturday will probably be no different. So far, he already has 51 carries for 309 yards and three touchdowns. Akers has caught seven passes for 67 yards and one touchdown. Virginia will look to prove their rushing defense this week.

Florida State Seminoles

Hamsah Nasirildeen, S/LB

Last year, Nasirildeen led Florida State with 91 tackles in only five starts (he did play in all 12 games). This year, Nasirildeen has been actually shifted to the safety and plays a hybrid-linebacker role for the Noles. The Junior, who was the No. 1 recruit from North Carolina, will be expected to cover up some of the issues that the Seminoles are currently having on defense.


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Florida State falls short of a touchdown in the final seconds as Virginia defeats #4 FSU 33-28. November 11th, 1995.