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Key Matchups of the Week: Florida State vs. Massachusetts

The Seminoles will look to dominate a porous Minutemen defense on the ground.

Florida State is coming off the bye week with momentum this program hasn't seen in recent years. With UMASS on tap this weekend, the Seminoles are looking to win three straight games for the first time since 2017. UMASS defeated UCONN two weeks ago for its first win in two years. For the first time in program history, they will visit Tallahassee with some confidence and, expect former FSU offensive coordinator/Minutemen head coach Walt Bell to have his troops ready to try and upset the 'Noles on Saturday. 

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FSU (2-4) will face UMASS (1-5) in Tallahassee at 12:00 pm EST on the ACC network. Here are three key matchups to watch for as the Seminoles look to stay undefeated in October.

Turnovers

The Seminoles are a consensus 37-point favorite over UMASS which signifies most believe this game shouldn’t be close. One way to keep an underdog in the game is by committing turnovers. The Seminoles have had moments of turning the ball over, especially earlier in the season and versus Wake Forest when they had six turnovers. Since that game, the 'Noles have only given away the ball two times in three games. Ball security will be key due to the Minutemen being outmatched in every phase of the game.

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FSU Rushing attack

Florida State’s rushing attack lead by running backs Jashaun Corbin, Treshaun Ward, and quarterback Jordan Travis has been consistent all year. As a team, the Seminoles rush for 208 yards per game which sits them at 25th in the nation. UMASS is allowing 227 yards per game on the ground and that ranks 127th in the nation. This bodes well for the 'Noles, and I expect both running backs to rush over the century mark on Saturday. This will continue the trend of success on the ground this season for FSU.

UMASS running back Ellis Merriweather vs FSU defense

The Minutemen offense is one of the worst in the nation, to say the least. UMASS averages 293 yards total per game on offense which ranks them 123rd in the nation. However, in the win two weeks ago vs UCONN, Merriweather was a bright spot for the offense. He totaled 171 yards on the ground on 39 carries, reaching the end zone two times. The Florida State defensive line has caused trouble for opposing offenses all season and that should continue this week. Making life difficult for Merriweather should be one of the top priorities on Saturday.

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This should be a game the 'Noles end quickly. We haven’t seen FSU end a game early in a while, and we know what happened earlier in the season versus under-matched Jacksonville State. Let’s hope the Seminoles can continue to ride this momentum off the bye week and win their third consecutive game. After UMASS is when the real test awaits with a trip to Death Valley.