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Georgia Tech Football 2022 - Opponent Q&A: FSU

Our chat with Tomahawk Nation

NCAA Football: Clemson at Florida State Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports

After a couple unsuccessful attempts with previous opponents, the Q&A returns this week chatting with Perry Kostidakis of the Florida State SBN blog, Tomahawk Nation. Follow along below as we learn about what has happened to the ‘Noles after their hot start to the season, what the ceiling is for their first year starter QB, and what would constitute a successful season following this 3 game losing skid.

1. For the first few games of the season, it looked like FSU was returning to the ‘Noles of old and that Norvell had turned the program around. Is there any one thing you can point to for the 3 game skid? Or has it been a myriad of things?

While roster health has played a part, the losing streak has mainly come down to the Seminoles’ inability to turn drives into points. FSU’s offense choked up heavily in the last few weeks, going two-quarter periods without logging any points in each of those three losses, despite being one of the most explosive offenses in the country (in terms of racking up chunk plays.) Some injuries along the offensive line and to starting running back Treshaun Ward have not helped, but there has been a consistent issue of FSU stalling out and either failing to convert on a crucial third or fourth down or missing a field goal.

2. Not to twist the knife, but the last 3 times FSU and GT have met during the regular season have resulted in dramatic, highlight losses for FSU. None of my friends who are FSU fans will attend this game in person or watch it with GT fans, like myself, due to superstitions developed from these previous meetings. Are they being crazy, or is there some voodoo with this game that’s taken hold with the ‘Noles fanbase after the 2015 Block Six?

I’m not joking — the fact that the last two FSU-Georgia Tech games I’ve attended have been losses played a bit into me not traveling up to Tallahassee to cover this week’s game. There is definitely some sort of weird feeling that comes from playing these games — 2015 hit particularly hard because it shattered a few streaks and was the first blow in removing FSU from the top of the ACC hierarchy. Outside of Miami and Pitt (who barely counts since they’re fresh to the ACC scene), Georgia Tech has played FSU the closest in the overall series.

3. With FSU’s remaining schedule, there’s a good chance the ‘Noles finish with 8-9 wins this year. Would that be considered success and a sign of growth? Or would that be a disappointment after the hot start?

7 wins would be just okay — perfectly aligned with preseason expectations and still a two-win improvement, but a bit of a letdown after the 4-0 start to the year. 8 wins would be good and encouraging as to the progress of the program, but nothing to throw a parade over.

9 wins means FSU went 5-0 to end the season, earning wins over Miami and Florida as well as top 25 Syracuse team, and also a chance to finish the year with 10 wins for the first time since 2016. It’s still not as exciting as the potentially huge year that FSU could have had if it had gone 2-1 against Wake, NC State and Clemson, but a 6-win improvement from 2020 would be a really encouraging example of growth under Norvell.

4. Numbers-wise, Jordan Travis has looked like a solid QB this year. If the ‘Noles put some things together, what’s his ceiling in 2023? Does he have the talent to take the ‘Noles to a NY6 Bowl?

The step he’s taken this year has raised his ceiling enough that there have been some murmurs of him as an NFL candidate. I personally still think he has a bit of room to grow, which when you consider that 2022 is his first full-year as a starter, makes a lot of sense. His arm talent in particular is where there has been the most growth — after making teams terrified of his legs over the last few seasons, he’s now able to stand in the pocket, move it around under pressure but not take off and deliver some pretty impressive balls. The talent in the wide receiver room has helped that as well, and if the upward trajectory of that position group as well as Travis continues even decently on pace, then there is a legitimate case for FSU as an ACC contender next season.

5. Georgia Tech is unwatchably bad on offense without Jeff Sims at the helm. He twisted his ankle early in our loss to UVA last week, so we don’t know to what extent he’ll be able to play. Without him, backup QBs took 7 sacks against a bad UVA defense. Who from FSU’s front 7 will be spending the most time in the GT backfield? Whose pass rush has stood out to you?

Jared Verse, hands down, has been the most impressive in the trenches in 2022. There were a lot of questions over how the FCS transfer would acclimate and the hole left by now-New York Jets defensive end Jermaine Johnson II, but Verse has dominated the line of scrimmage in each game, even when playing at less than 100 percent. If Fabian Lovett is healthy and plays, then he could be looking to have a big comeback game as well. FSU likes to bring the pressure but hasn’t exactly finished off sacks as of late — unfortunately for Georgia Tech, that trend could change given the personnel issues on the Yellow Jackets’ end.

6. The last time GT played in Tallahassee, they retired Bobby Bowden and there was a 90min lightning delay before getting a road win. Presumably, this game will be less dramatic. How do you see this game going? Does FSU end their losing skid?

If this was last season, I think I would honestly be preparing mentally for a frustrating, disgusting slogfest that FSU finds a way to lose. That outcome is still possible, since we’ve seen some ugly tendencies from the last two seasons occasionally pop up this year, but just based on the talent that FSU has added and developed and the deficiencies that Georgia Tech has on the offensive side, the Seminoles manage to snap the losing streak and unload a bit of the frustration left over from 2020 and FSU’s last three games. DraftKings, with an over/under of 47, sees this as a 35-11 (don’t ask me how 11 happens) type-game, with FSU as 24-point favorites. I’m inclined to take the under and FSU against the spread, with something like a 31-7 game playing out. If we want to get hyper-specific, I think FSU goes up 21 early, doesn’t score in the third quarter, then adds on those final points in the fourth.

Thanks again to Perry for taking the time to chat with us. Saturday’s game kicks at noon in Tallahassee.

Go Jackets!