The Wolfpack faces the Seminoles in a crucial early-season ACC match-up.
The Wolfpack sits in a crucial spot early in the season, facing a road contest against Florida State that will set the tone for the entirety of the team’s ACC Slate. Answering questions at quarterback and on defense will be on the forefront of fans’ minds as the Wolfpack faces the Noles. We caught up with Chop Chat site expert Kelvin Hunt to get his thoughts on the upcoming game
1. Alex Hornibrook subbed in for an injured James Blackman last week and played well (15-20, 255 yards, two touchdowns). Is there a quarterback controversy in Tallahassee?
No, I wouldn’t say there’s a quarterback controversy at the moment. Willie Taggart has maintained Blackman is the starter, though I wouldn’t be surprised to see more of both quarterbacks moving forward. If Hornibrook has to start against NC State because of Blackman’s injury and performs well, then it could become more of a story as there are clearly passionate fans of both among the fan base.
2. Willie Taggart has taken a ton of heat during his tenure as head coach. What’s been the issues and would a win over N.C. State help to change the narrative?
Well, this year’s team is light years better than the product last season so some of it is unwarranted. There is clearly progress towards competence being made. I think he’s taken heat because of the consistent inconsistencies. The areas of dominance early and this team allowing teams to come from behind in the second half is infuriating. They could easily be undefeated at the moment, yet sit at a mediocre 2-2 heading into the NC State game. The issues have been turnovers and penalties along with the defense’s inability to get stops on third down. Though they have played a bit better in those areas the past two games.
3. Florida State lost linebacker Jaiden Lars-Woodbey against Louisville. With the Seminoles ranking 107th in scoring defense, how big of a loss is this and is there hope the defense can improve?
There’s no question it’s a big loss. Lars-Woodbey was a ESPN Freshman All-American last season. He was playing a different position the first three games of the season before moving to outside linebacker which seemed to fit him better. He was having a great game up until the point he was injured. FSU lost another starter the game before then when former five-star defensive end Joshua Kaindoh was lost for the season. FSU has talent, albeit unexperienced talent to fill in those voids. As I mentioned, the biggest issue with this defense early on was stopping the run, but that’s looked much improved as they have held their last two opponents below their season averages in that department.
4. Who is one Seminoles player Wolfpack fans should pay attention to that may not know much about?
I’d probably have to say slot receiver Keyshawn Helton. He was the lowest rated recruit in the 2018 class but has found himself a nice role in this offense. He’s as tough as they come and has the ability to take one to the house as evident against Louisville last week. Helton leads all FSU receivers with three touchdowns.
5. Prediction for the game
I think FSU fans are feeling a bit optimistic for this game after the last two weeks. NC State lost against the only legit competition they’ve faced and is still working out some kinks of their on. As long as FSU doesn’t turn the ball over multiple times and beat themselves with dumb penalties I like their chances. I’m going to say Noles 34-24.