If the year was 2023, NC State’s battle Saturday night against Florida State would have a ton of ACC title implications.

But it is, of course, still 2022, and Clemson already has wins against the Wolfpack and Wake Forest and looks to be well on its way to winning the Atlantic Division in the final year of the format in the ACC.

For the Seminoles and the Pack, Saturday’s game at Carter-Finley Stadium still holds weight, though. NC State has won 4 of the past 5 meetings between the sides, but FSU’s 2022 resurgence should make this fun.

Here’s what to expect:

The Seminoles

After a few years of trying to figure things out under Mike Norvell, Florida State finally looks to be a team on the rise.

The Seminoles are 4-1 and coming off their first defeat of the season, a 31-21 loss to Wake Forest in Tallahassee. Still, this FSU team is a talented, dangerous and fun group that could make some serious noise Saturday night in Raleigh.

On offense, it starts with quarterback Jordan Travis, who is putting together quite the season so far. He has never actually faced off against the Wolfpack because of injuries, so he will offer a new look to NC State.

In 2022, Travis already has thrown for more than 1,200 yards and 8 touchdowns and is looking like the dynamic playmaker he always had the potential to be for the Noles. FSU also has some great weapons at running back and receiver, coming together to create what NC State defensive coordinator Tony Gibson called “the best offense we’ve faced to date.”

On the other side of the ball, FSU has done an excellent job in defending against the pass, led by one of the ACC”s best players in Jammie Robinson. The run defense hasn’t been quite as good for the Seminoles, but it hasn’t been atrocious.

Jared Verse is the other really exciting piece for Florida State on defense, as the newcomer has 4 sacks.

Even with the loss to Wake Forest, Florida State’s path to the ACC title game is much more realistic than NC State’s, simply because the Seminoles haven’t yet played Clemson. If they want to keep that hope alive, they have to win as an underdog on the road against this very good NC State team.

The Wolfpack

It has been a crazy week for NC State. The Pack got more national attention than it has gotten in a long time, as NC State played its first top-10 matchup last weekend against Clemson.

The result was disappointing, but there’s still plenty to play for for this NC State team loaded with veterans. Now the task is to quickly move on and get ready for another tough test against the Seminoles, though there’s experience there, too. Since the start of 2020, NC State is 5-1 coming off a loss.

At Clemson’s Death Valley, the Wolfpack’s defense did mostly what it has done all season. It limited an explosive offense fairly well, though a couple major breakdowns did contribute to the Tigers’ win.

And on offense, well, NC State did what it mostly has done this season. The Pack struggled to move the ball. The running attack didn’t get much usage, and Devin Leary played well but didn’t get enough from his receivers to cause a lot of damage Saturday night.

In the end, the Pack finished off a game against Clemson in a pretty familiar place. But now it’s time for Florida State, which might just make moving on a bit easier as the Pack has to fully focus its attention on a tough task ahead.

Two big storylines for NC State heading into the game are Cory Durden and Cyrus Fagan, who transferred together ahead of last season from Florida State. While Fagan got hurt against Clemson and his status is unknown, it still will be a big night for the duo against a lot of former teammates.


Under the lights at Carter-Finley Stadium is a tough place for opponents to win.

The Pack, which has the 5th-longest home winning streak in the Football Bowl Subdivision, has won its past 9 games at home under the lights. The last loss in a home night game was 2020 against Miami, though there were just 4,000 fans in attendance for that one. The last time the Wolfpack lost at night in front of a full Carter-Finley Stadium was the year before against North Carolina.

NC State also is a more experienced team than Florida State, and it’s coming off a game against Clemson in which just a few plays could have changed the result.

The Wolfpack should be focused and ready for this challenge, and its defense should be able to limit FSU’s attack efficiently. If the Pack can get its run game going just a little, NC State should take care of business at home.

NC State 31, Florida State 24