The No. 10 Florida State Seminoles face a struggling Virginia Tech team in Blacksburg, Va., on Thursday night.
Fresh off a Thursday night defeat a week ago in Miami, the Hokies (4-5, 2-3 Atlantic Coach Conference) know they must win out if they want to avoid going .500 for the season, a tall order considering Florida State (8-1, 5-1) is a heavy favorite.
“This “[Florida State] is a fantastic football team, a very talented football team, a very hard-playing football team, athletic,’’ Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer said.
Florida State has been an absolute force at home this season, winning games by an average score of 54-7 and going over 600 yards of offense in four of their six games at Doak Campbell Stadium.
But on the road the Seminoles have yet to turn in a complete game. FSU was sloppy at times in wins over Miami and USF and no-showed in the second half in a loss to N.C. State.
Lane Stadium on a Thursday night is one of the most intimidating venues in the country.
“We have to play great, sound, fundamental football,” said FSU coach Jimbo Fisher.
“We have to be consistent from the opening snap to the last snap. They’re not going to give you anything. You have to earn everything you get. Play consistent in all three phases, play physical, and be able to sustain the surge of energy in the stadium.’’
Fortunately, Florida State matches up better. Last week against Miami, Logan Thomas and the Hokies offense struggled to throw the ball downfield — despite the Hurricanes being without both starting safeties.
Florida State’s defense is much better than Miami’s. The Seminoles currently rank in the top five in five major statistical categories, including total defense, run defense, pass defense and third-down efficiency.
Still the Seminoles know a quarterback the size of Logan Thomas (6-6, 260 pounds) can present problems.
“He can definitely throw the ball down the field, he’s very athletic, he can run. We’ve just got to respect both,” said junior Terrence Brooks. “He can get up out of the pocket and run, but if we just stay on our keys and cover the receivers [well] and fly to the ball, we’ll be all right.”
Virginia Tech ranks 70th in points scored and 52nd in scoring defense. It’s a down year for a school that is perennially in contention for the ACC title. But Florida State knows it cannot take Virginia Tech lightly, definitely not in a night game at Lane Stadium.
“Frank always has his guys ready to play. They have a great team,” said Fisher.
“They’re very athletic in all three phases. We’ll have to be on our “A’’ game and have a heck of a challenge [Thursday] night. So we’re looking forward to it.”