In an emotionally charged reunion for many of these players, Texas (4-2) travels to Tallahassee for a match up against Florida State (0-6). Since the breakup of LSU, many of their former players transferred to these two schools and have flourished in their new environment. Texas’s Ray Tatum has played a great season so far after transitioning from an air raid offense to the more balanced pistol. His former favorite target, Jared Tetonis, is yet again destroying secondaries every down. Lastly, DE Michael Sudeikis is doing his thing after moving Sack City to Austin. Looking at this game on paper gives it a bad look. But when you consider the emotions of the reunion, the high powered offenses, and the accolades on the line, it means everything to the kids on the field.
While only having two five star players on offense is an unusual choice, the Texas offense is currently tied for the top spot in points per game. Led by sophomore gunslinger Ray Tatum, this team is a destroyer out in an ocean of inferior paddle boats. His completion percentage may be low, but his average yards per attempt is up near the top and he rarely turns the ball over or takes a sack. His main target this year has flip-flopped between Hunter Lewis and Jackson James throughout the year. Hunter has been one of the best deep threats all year, averaging over 20 yards per catch. The run game is reeling a little bit after Geaux Bamba had his first rough game against TCU. Confident he can bounce back, look for Bamba to be his normal self – dancing into the end zone time and time again.
This unit has been a tale of two halves so far this season. The defense gave up over 40ppg in games two through four and looked like the weak point of the team. When things seemed bleak, things turned around fast. Weeks five and six were wins where they held solid opponents to under 24 points. Texas should be proud of this turnaround that placed their defense in the top 3. Big plays by guys like Justin Boudreaux have transformed this young defense into a cohesive unit. Due to FSU’s crazy fast passing offense, look for all five of this elite secondaries play makers to be all over the field. With their 3-3-5 scheme, watch out for Texas dropping into Cover Three in order to take away the deep ball. If they can ever end this turnover dry streak and finally get an interception, it’ll be this game.
With an offense that gets 435 yards per game, you’d expect them to have at least one win under their belt. Alas, things don’t always work out as they should. This unit has talent everywhere. Quarterback James Kovach has been one of the leagues best newcomers so far. His 9.2 yards per attempt average is incredible to say the least. You have to give a lot of credit to the best receiving group in the country too. Jared Tetonis is on pace to be the leader in receiving yards for the second year in a row. Trevor Golinar is not far behind him, posting and insane near 25 yards per reception! The question today is how do they beat a secondary that is designed to beat the pass. Maybe getting Adam Croft into the mix and throwing some play action passes will give them an edge.
Things get a little ugly when you take a look at the FSU defense. Nathan Tetonis is a DPOY contender and rightfully so. His impact on defense goes past the stat sheet stuffing numbers he puts up. He should have an advantage against these weaker Texas receivers. Don’t be surprised to see him give Voodoo his second interception on the year. Outside of him and LB Darnell Jefferson, the team has struggled to slow anyone down. The combo of Gable Stevenson and Mark McCabe could put a stop to this tonight. Bamba is a tough man to stop, but these beefy D-lineman can get in and bring him down. This even lines up perfectly to stop some of the option plays Texas likes to break out. It’s going to take some work, but it’s possible for this team to slow Texas down.
What to Watch For
Texas KR Geaux Bamba vs FSU Special Teams
Something interesting to note is that the KR streak Bamba had going stopped against two strong defensive teams in Oregon and TCU. This could be due to some of those defensive players playing on the special teams unit as well, gunning for Bamba and stopping the streak. Since the FSU offense likes to score and score quickly, Bamba could get some opportunities to get things going again against what could be a weaker unit. It’s an unusal situation, but something that could have a big effect on the game.
Texas Safeties Jimbo Smithers, Randy Charles V, and Michael Wells vs FSU WR Jared Tetonis
Florid State loves the deep ball more than any other team in the country. They sling it with poise and precision unmatched by any other team we have seen before. Jared has jets. It doesn’t matter who you are or what accolades you have. He’s going to burn you. But this week he faces a team that runs three safeties in a look that they have yet to face this year. The Texas defense may not force many turnovers, but they may be able to swat down some deep balls. Even if they do let a ball or two get caught, these three combine for over 120 tackles on the year. This match up is the biggest factor when deciding if FSU can pull a major upset.
Things line up to show Texas winning this game by a mile, but I don’t see it. FSU is a scary team with a unique offense and bright stars. They can make up for their talent deficit with an explosive passing game if they stick to what has got them close to upsetting other teams. While I do think Texas comes out with the win, the game could be a lot closer than people think. However, I am 100% certain that this will be a high scoring affair.
Texas 45, FSU 38