Florida State will look to get over .500 on the season and in ACC play on Saturday as it plays host to North Carolina State. The Seminoles are coming off a hard-fought 35-24 victory over Louisville while NC State defeated Ball State, 34-23.
The Wolfpack won 47-28 last season in Raleigh and 27-21 in its last trip to Tallahassee two years ago. NC State (3-1) has never won three straight over FSU.
With quarterback James Blackman nursing an MCL sprain, the Seminoles will likely turn to Wisconsin transfer Alex Hornibrook. Hornibrook shined in his FSU debut with 255 yards passing on 15-for-20 and two touchdowns.
Cam Akers, a junior running back, is the straw that stirs the drink for FSU (2-2, 1-1 ACC). Akers comes in with an ACC-best 499 yards rushing and eight total touchdowns. Out wide, Tamorrion Terry is a tough cover and leads FSU with 307 yards receiving on more than 19 yards per reception. Terry finished with 142 yards receiving and two touchdown grabs in last season’s meeting.
NC State has a number of new faces in the offensive lineup, led by sophomore quarterback Matthew McKay. McKay has seven total touchdowns this season, but four of those are on the ground. Zonovan Knight, a freshman running back, is off to a strong start with 269 yards rushing on 5.7 yards per carry and three touchdowns.
Among ACC teams, the Wolfpack rank high defensively, but have allowed 67 total points over the last two weeks. Sophomore safety Tanner Ingle leads the Wolfpack with 31 tackles and a forced fumble. Cornerback Chris Ingram is one of four ACC players with multiple interceptions this season. He ranks second in the conference with a pair of picks.
The strength of the FSU defense is up front and on the interior. Defensive tackles Marvin Wilson and Cory Durden have combined for 6.5 sacks and eight tackles for loss this season. Hamsah Nasirildeen, a junior safety, was banged up last week, but still leads the Seminoles with 28 total tackles.
Strong starts have been a theme for FSU this season, but so has blown leads. The Seminoles have watched three leads of at least 18 points evaporate this season, but held on to win two of those contests. Saturday’s game at Doak Campbell Stadium begins at 7:30 p.m. ET and airs on ACC Network.
Prediction: Florida State 34, NC State 24
Florida Atlantic (2-2) at Charlotte (2-2)
Saturday, Sept. 28 at 3:30 p.m. ET (NFL Network)
After a brutal first two games, Florida Atlantic has found its stride with two nice victories. Quarterback Chris Robison has a newfound confidence after tossing nine touchdowns over the last two weeks.
Prediction: Florida Atlantic 42, Charlotte 35
Towson (3-1) at No. 9 Florida (4-0)
Saturday, Sept. 28 at 4 p.m. ET (SEC Network)
Quarterback Kyle Trask’s confidence will continue to grow this week as Florida hosts its second FCS opponent of the year in Towson. Defensively, the Gators are allowing just 11 points per game.
Prediction: Florida 52, Towson 10
SMU (4-0) at South Florida (1-2)
Saturday, Sept. 28 at 4 p.m. ET (ESPNU)
SMU picked up a signature win last week against a ranked TCU team in Fort Worth. Shane Buechele will lead a potent offense into Tampa to take on a South Florida team that has lost eight straight to FBS programs.
Prediction: SMU 38, South Florida 20
Connecticut (1-2) at No. 22 UCF (3-1)
Saturday, Sept. 28 at 7 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
UCF ranks seventh nationally in yards per game and is coming off its first regular season loss in nearly three years. The remedy for Josh Heupel and company? A home game with Connecticut.
Prediction: UCF 55, Connecticut 12
Los Angeles Chargers (1-2) at Miami Dolphins (0-3)
Sunday, Sept. 29 at 1 p.m. ET (CBS)
Josh Rosen should make his first home start on Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers. Through three games, the Dolphins have scored a grand total of 16 points and just one touchdown.
Prediction: Chargers 34, Miami 13
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-2) at Los Angeles Rams (3-0)
Sunday, Sept. 29 at 4:05 p.m. ET (FOX)
Tampa Bay let a 28-10 lead slip away against the lowly New York Giants with a rookie quarterback making his first career start. It won’t get any easier this week.
Prediction: Rams 37, Tampa Bay 20
Jacksonville Jaguars (1-2) at Denver Broncos (0-3)
Sunday, Sept. 29 at 4:25 p.m. ET (CBS)
The Jacksonville Jaguars with quarterback Gardner Minshew displayed a glimmer of hope last week in a 20-7 win over the Tennessee Titans. Jacksonville has a legitimate chance to get to .500 this week as it heads to the Mile High City to take on the winless Denver Broncos.
Prediction: Jacksonville 20, Denver 17
Mike Ferguson is a contributor for The Grueling Truth, covering Florida sports and sports history. Follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeWFerguson. To keep up with all of his work, like his Facebook page.