Game 6: Florida State University

Adam
Clarke
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JT
Thomson
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Vishnu
Parasuraman
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Game 6: Florida State University
Date/Time/Location: 10.06.2018, 15:30 EST, Miami Gardens, FL
Television: ABC

Vegas Lines
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Miami -13.5

Known Injuries for Florida State University

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Date Pos Player Injury Status
09/30/18 OL Derrick Kelly II Knee is “?” Saturday vs Miami Florida
09/21/18 DB Calvin Brewton Undisclosed has left team
09/20/18 DB Isaiah Bolden Shoulder is out for season
09/11/18 RB Khalan Laborn Knee is out for season
09/01/18 QB Bailey Hockman Transferred is out for season

Series History

Miami leads the all-time series 32-30 after last year’s victory as shown in the photograph above, putting an end to FSU’s 7 game win streak in the series. Notably, Miami has not won 2 in a row in this series since 2006 (at which time it was a 6 game winning streak).

Florida State University Overview

Florida State comes into this game at 3-2, but all three of this victories were extremely shaky. And the losses were downright bad. FSU opened the season at home against Virginia Tech, and were run off the field 24-3 in primetime on Monday night. Less than week later, it was looking like Samford was coming into Doak and pulling off the upset before literally throwing the game away to FSU with a 36-26 final margin. Returning to ACC play, FSU went on the road to Syracuse and once again looked awful, scoring only 7 points in a 30-7 defeat. Things looked somewhat better against Northern Illinois in a 37-19 victory, but it took another gift interception last week by Louisville that turned into a late 28-24 by FSU. Based on performance to date, most FSU fans have dismissed the idea of this game being winnable, but I suspect they are lying in wait to taunt Miami should they pull off the upset.

First year head coach Willie Taggart promised his Gulf Coast offense would be “lethal simplicity.” It has been anything but thus far this year. With across the board offensive woes, the FSU offense has struggled all year to put up points, looking downright incompetent on several occasions. The offensive line has drawn most of the criticism, with FSU fans and analysts pointing to recruiting deficiencies, roster attrition, and just general bad play. Undoubtedly bad offensive line play can cause issues throughout the offense, but keep in mind there is still A LOT of talent on this team including starting QB DeAndre Francois, RBs Cam Akers and Jacques Patrick, and WRs Nyqwan Murray, Keith Gavin, Tamorrion Terry and even TE Tre’ McKitty has caught more balls and touchdowns this early in the season than any other FSU TE in memory. Thus, if FSU’s offensive line puts up a good performance, the skill talent should produce. And considering that ACC refs do not flag opposing offensive lines for holding Miami’s defense, they should get plenty of time.

The defensive side must be questioning what is going on with the offense as well, because thus far, they have done a good job of holding up their end of the bargain. They’ve allowed less than 3 yards per carry against opposing FBS rushing attacks (8th in the nation) while allowing only 54.5% completions at 6.6 yards per attempt (34th in the nation) against FBS competition. FSU has also shown an affinity for getting after the quarterback, notching 14 sacks already in 4 FBS games, which at 3.5 sacks per game is 13th in the country (in comparison, Miami has 11 or 2.75 per game). Thus, the talent is still there on defense, and although they have been put in awful spots many times throughout this young season, on the whole, they are producing.

On Special Teams, PK Ricky Aguayo is a known quantity, but has struggled thus far this year as he is only 4/7 on field goal attempts with three misses inside 50 yards already. However, he looked much better against NIU two weeks ago going 3/3 from beyond 40 yards. Like mentioned several times already, the talent is there it just hasn’t produced consistently yet. Punter Logan Tyler has been a beast thus far this season, and you would expect that considering he’s already punted 33 times this year, one of the highest amounts in the country. Florida State has yet to show much of anything on either punt returns or kickoff returns, but show the possibility of allowing a big return on both punt and kickoff returns (hello, Jeff Thomas!).

What to Expect This Week

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Looking at this game from a statistical breakdown, Florida State compares to Toledo and UNC. Miami was a big favorite in both of those games, so to see the spread here much lower (by nearly a touchdown) shows that the oddsmakers are respecting both the rivalry and the talent of Florida State. No question, the weakness of FSU is the offensive line, and considering that Miami’s defensive line is one of the strengths of the team, it could be a very long afternoon for Florida State, especially if the ACC refs decide for once in their lives to call holding in favor of Miami’s up front dominance.

That being said, Florida State’s defense has played remarkably well for the situations it has been put in thus far. We all remember the days not too long ago when the Canes defense would play well for long stretches, only to see the offense fail to capitalize repeatedly, before ultimately the dam would just break. If FSU can keep this one close early, or even jump out to a lead (which we’ve seen opposing teams have early success against Manny Diaz’s defense), then that could give this FSU defense even more confidence to come after redshirt freshman N’Kosi Perry in his first taste of this rivalry. It’s one thing to get your feet wet against UNC (especially when you get three defensive touchdowns in your favor). It’s an entirely different scenario against your rival.

The cliche would be to say this is a big-time rivalry where you throw out the records and performances to date. And while yes that may be true, the series has seen some lopsided victories when one team truly is just much better than the other. While some Canes fans may critique the every move of our coaching staff, I promise you it is a significant advantage over their counterparts at FSU. Don’t be surprised to see that play out on Saturday.

Predictions

Unlike the Miami QB situation, we at Sebastian’s Pub are held accountable for our performance. This year, we’ll try to show how well we did with our predictions each week. After one week, all of us should be benched.

Picker

Straight Up

Against the Spread

Clarke

4-1

2-3

Thomson

4-1

3-2

Parasuraman

4-1

3-2

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CLARKE

I became a Canes fan in 2008, when I started at UM as a freshman. The Seminoles has won 8 of the 10 UM-FSU games I have watched. I have not seen a Miami victory over FSU in person. So this scenario, where the Canes are heavy favorites is completely foreign to me. And I can understand the prevailing sentiment among many Miami fans that this game will be close. They will say that this game is always tight, no matter how good or bad the other team is. I don’t buy it. I have watched a lot of Florida State football this year. They go through long spells of complete offensive ineptitude, brought on primarily by an offensive line that cannot block anyone. And they are supposed to stop UM’s defensive line, which leads the nation in tackles for loss? I just don’t see it. Not to mention that Jaquan Johnson is likely back in the lineup. On the other side of the ball, you could talk me into believing that Miami might struggle to sustain drives. N’Kosi Perry is still inexperienced, and the Canes offensive line is nothing special, especially in run blocking. But the Seminoles linebackers and defensive backs have looked suspect all year, and if Mark Richt can get Perry comfortable with quick throws against the FSU blitz, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Miami put up 40 again. The chain comes out twice and Miami runs away with this in the second half.

Miami 42, FSU 20

THOMSON

Last week before the UNC game, I predicted we would cover with ease but fail to cover against FSU, sight unseen on the spread. I still feel that way. Nearly two touchdowns is a lot still in this rivalry, and the true cause for concern I have in this game is Miami’s special teams. Miami has been abysmal in the kicking game, and that hidden yardage can swing a game of this magnitude. That being said, I believe that Miami’s defense is going to cause problems for FSU all day long, and I expect that Miami gets a huge afternoon from Jeff Thomas and DeeJay Dallas. I do not think it will be as heart-pounding as last year, but it is going to be a game in the 4th quarter. Ultimately, offensive talent and coaching win the day.

Miami 31, FSU 20

PARASURAMAN

So the conventional wisdom is you can throw the records out in a rivalry game. And that is especially true of this type of game, where even when one of the teams is struggling, there is still a lot of talent. On the other hand, FSU is probably worse than Toledo, but Miami just overwhelmed Toledo with superior athleticism. They can’t do that here. And the Canes defense will concede the chunk plays. In every game, other than Savannah State, they have given up big plays. So I expect FSU to hit some big gains. With that said, Miami’s DL will obliterate FSU up front, which will lead to turnovers and an eventual blowout. The Canes pull away in the 3rd quarter and coast to a victory.

Miami 34, FSU 13

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