Heading into the season many ACC folks thought E.J. Manuel and Mike Glennon were among the top quarterbacks after Logan Thomas and Tajh Boyd, but many could argue Manuel and perhaps even Glennon have had better seasons so far.
Tajh Boyd has a case for the Heisman as a dark horse and Glennon would too, that is if his team could win some games.
NC State nearly lost to Connecticut earlier in the season, but after Tennessee dethroned them in the opener and suffering a tough road loss to Miami may be the boiling point of a disappointing first six weeks.
There were major questions heading into the season about the offensive weapons and they have been way too inconsistent, leaving Glennon lonesome at times.
Quinton Payton and Tobias Palmer are the main threats in the passing game for Glennon, who has thrown 10 TD with 6 INT. If they are going to move the ball against the Noles defense, they need to keep them honest with a balanced attack.
Mustafa Greene was the expected starter this season but he has been suspended for the last three games, so Tony Creecy and freshman Shadrach Thornton have filled in well enough to avoid disaster.
The offense actually has not even been much of an issue, it has been an overrated and underachieving defense.
Their secondary was expected to be one of the best in America, and they have struggled to rank as one of the better ones in the ACC.
Ranking 97th in the nation allowing 278.60 yards per game is a joke once you realize David Amerson was a unanimous All-ACC and All-American selection.
The game against Tyler Bray and the Vols really set him back and those fluid hips and tremendous ball skills have been disappointing to say the least. Even the rest of the so called ‘studs’ have struggled as well (Earl Wolff, Brandon Bishop).
In steps the Heisman dark horse as E.J. Manuel has quite the cast of crew around him. The talent is still very young, but the bevy of talent is scary with James Wilder Jr. and Chris Thompson running so well.
Kenny Shaw, Nick O’Leary, Rashad Greene, Kelvin Benjamin, Greg Dent and Rodney Smith have been legit, stretching opposing defensive backfields.
That has enabled Manuel and the running game to go to work, which has allowed everybody to take a deep breath and execute.
The key stat would be sacks allowed by the Pack (106th, 16 total), which is not great news going up against arguably the best defensive line in America. While NC State has an edge playing in their own hostile environment, their talent level will cost them in the fourth quarter as they will go from having a chance to win to ultimately losing by two-plus scores.
Time: 8 p.m. Eastern
Experts Pick: FSU by 14
Danny V’ Pick: Florida State 34, NC State 17