Saturday afternoon, the Florida State Seminoles open up at home inside Doak Campbell Stadium against the Nevada Wolfpack of the Mountain West Conference. It’ll be the second game this season for the ‘Noles, following their dominant opening performance against the Pittsburgh Panthers on Labor Day evening.
After a slow start in that game–Pitt scored right out of the gate–this new Jeremy Pruitt-led defense settled in and shut down the Panthers’ pro-style attack for the rest of the game. The FSU D looked just as we all assumed it would throughout the entire offseason. They were disciplined on the blitz packages, quick to the ball and hard-hitting.
But this Saturday, they’re going to see an offense vastly different than that of Pitt.
The Nevada Wolfpack utilize the pistol-style offense, an offense that was created by their former head coach Chris Ault. 2012 was Ault’s last year after his second stint leading the program. Ault is now on staff with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Even under new head coach Brian Polian, the Wolfpack run the pistol and they have a quarterback experienced with it.
Now assuming that he’s ready to go following suffering a minor knee injury last weekend, this group is led by QB Cody Fajardo. Fajardo was one of only five quarterbacks in 2012 to pass for over 2,000 yards and gain over 1,000 on the ground. Like I said, he knows how to run this system and run it well.
Through the first two games this season, the junior has completed over 70% of his passes and has tossed for 403 yards with two touchdowns. He’s also amassed 143 yards rushing with three scores.
The FSU defense did a tremendous job against Pitt keeping constant pressure on QB Tom Savage, as he’s basically a statue back in the pocket. Fajardo is far from that. The key against the quarterback for Jeremy Pruitt and crew this week is all about contain. They have to limit the big plays from Fajardo, especially on the ground.
Nevada’s leading rusher so far in this young season is junior Kendall Brock. Brock has totaled 148 yards on the ground with two scores. He’s the type of runner that you don’t want to get to the edge. He has a tremendous burst with an open seam and can hit the big play in the blink of an eye, especially if you’re too focused on Fajardo.
Richy Turner and Brandon Wimberly make up a solid one-two punch at the receiving slots for this Nevada crew. So far, Turner has 12 catches for 183 yards and a TD and Wimberly has racked himself up 10 catches for 101 yards and also one scoring play.
Synopsis: Limiting big plays are the key to the game. While the Seminoles have the resources on offense, you don’t want to get into a shootout with this team. Although the game ended in a blowout, UCLA nearly found themselves in that situation two weeks ago before blowing the game open in the third quarter. I’d have to assume that Pruitt will implement some new blitz packages to throw this offense off of its rhythm. If the defensive line also does their part, then the task of slowing this offense down should get a lot easier.