Wake Forest-Florida State Preview: Campanaro Ready for Big Stage
September 15th, 2012 By De'Angelo Bryant
WR Michael Campanaro (pictured) enters Saturday's game with a national-leading total of 22 catches in just two games this season. He leads Wake Forest into Doak Campbell Stadium today, where they have won two of the last three meetings versus Florida State. DraftNasty.com national correspondent De'Angelo Bryant gives you insight to this ACC showdown in his game preview.
The 5th-ranked Florida State Seminoles have much more riding on this game than Wake Forest. A win for the Seminoles sets up an ACC Atlantic division showdown with the Clemson Tigers next week. A loss to Wake Forest places Florida State as an outside contender to compete for the ACC Championship and they can only hope Clemson or Wake Forest slips up by the end of the season. Unlike last season, the Seminoles are hoping to control their own destiny.
This Wake Forest football team comes into this game with huge expectations. If the Demon Deacons can get out of Doak Campbell with a win, they will put themselves in a position to represent the ACC Atlantic division in the championship game. However, a loss puts Wake Forest outside of the bubble and they still have to play Clemson and NC State to stay alive in the division hunt.
What to Watch For
Despite the absence of All-ACC pass-rusher Brandon Jenkins, Florida State should have the advantage when it comes to controlling the LOS versus Wake Forest's inexperienced OL. DTs Anthony McCloud, Everett Dawkins, and Timmy Jernigan usually create good gap penetration to disrupt the backfield, while All-ACC DE Bjoern Warner gives OTs trouble with his explosive "get-off" and violent arm movement. They also have depth along the front, which could serve as big factor down the stretch if they need to apply pressure on QB Tanner Price.
OC Steed Lobotzke has been known for his crafty play calls that make fast-flowing defenses like Florida State pay when over-pursuing. QB Tanner Price is in his third year of command in Lobotzke's offense. An improving passer, Price completed 60% of his passes and threw for three touchdowns versus the Seminoles defense last season. He will look for help from WR Michael Campanaro who is coming off of a career-high 13 catches last week against North Carolina. Expect for the Demon Deacons to find ways to get him the football on crossing routes, jet sweeps, and vertical seam routes from his slot position.
Match-ups & Player Breakdowns
Florida State QB E.J. Manuel vs. Wake Forest CBs Merrill Noel/Kevin Johnson/Chibuikem Okoro
E.J. Manuel will get his first true test of the season versus Wake Forest's experienced cornerbacks. Last season, the Demon Deacons' front seven ran multiple stunts to confuse the 6'5 QB and forced him to throw four interceptions. Manuel has had most of his success against the Wake defense when they have designed sprint-outs where he has high-low reads or the capability to tuck the football and run. The Virginia native will have to make every throw count versus the tight coverage from Wake Forest's corners.
Merrill Noel was on the receiving in on one of four Manuel interceptions last season. Noel, a Pahokee, Florida native, shows natural man coverage skills and ballhawking ability. Redshirt sophomore Kevin Johnson could get the start over three-year starter Chibuikem 'Kenny' Okoro. However, Okoro will be available if Johnson has problems matching up with Florida State's bigger receivers. All three players will be relied on to come up with big plays to give Wake's football team a spark.
Wake Forest OC Garrick Williams vs. Florida State's DTs
Wake Forest OC Garrick Williams will have his hands full dealing with the combination of Anthony McCloud, Everett Dawkins, and Timmy Jernigan. Williams is a powerful run blocker and shows good football IQ when in pass protection. If Williams can create movement against all three players, Wake Forest could have a productive running game in between the tackles.
McCloud, Dawkins, and Jernigan may be the most talented interior DL group in the country. All three possess a different attribute that makes them unique players. Dawkins is the better technician, while McCloud has the power to walk defenders into the backfield. Jernigan plays with good finesse and the quickness to be disruptive immediately after the ball is snapped. We also could see true freshman Mario Edwards, Jr. shake up the lineup if the Seminoles decide to get clever and use him on long passing downs. Wake Forest may have a long day keeping these guys under control.
Florida State DB Lamarcus Joyner vs. Wake Forest WR Michael Campanaro
S Lamarcus Joyner is a versatile player in Florida State's secondary. They need his ability to run around the field and contest with the speed of Campanaro. Joyner displays above average man-to-man skills and contains an extra burst to close on the football. Don't be surprised if you see Joyner sticking to Campanaro like glue.
Campanaro has filled the void nicely after the departure of big play receiver Chris Givens (St. Louis Rams). Last week versus North Carolina, Campanaro was used on deep in-cuts, deep outs, jet sweeps, and intermediate crossing routes. Anticipate the Seminoles to focus all of their attention on him, which should open up opportunities for Sherman Ragland III and Brandon Terry.
Florida State will look to hand the Demon Deacons its first loss of the season and continue its quest for an ACC title. However, Wake Forest has played spoiler in recent years and also have their eyes set on an ACC crown. Florida State cannot afford to turn the football over and they must take advantage of Wake Forest in the special teams game. On the other hand, Wake Forest will need to come up with a few turnovers of their own and have a productive game on the ground to take the pressure off of Tanner Price. Two teams, one goal, which team will be left standing at the end of the day? Kickoff is almost here.
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