Today at 7:30 on ABC Florida State will take on the Miami Hurricanes at Hard Rock Stadium.
The Seminoles are 30-34 against the Hurricanes all time. The last time FSU got a win against the Hurricanes was in 2016, 20-19, when Demarcus Walker blocked potential game-tying PAT. Miami has since won 3 straight including a 27-10 victory last year in what was Willie Taggart’s last game.
Miami is 2-0 on the year with wins over UAB and Louisville.
Mike Norvell has tested positive for COVID and will have to miss the game. Tight ends coach Chris Thomsen will be the acting head coach for the game. Offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham will call the plays for the offense. Dillingham and Norvell have coached together for 7 years so the play calls shouldn’t be that much different.
Safety Hamsah Nasirildeen and corners Meiko Dotson and Jarvis Brownlee will be back on the field. While defensive end Joshua Kaindoh is questionable.
Observations from the last game
The Seminoles were able to do well when the starters were on the field. When the starters needed a break or were injured the wheels started to come off. The lack quality depth was apparent at linebacker, defensive end, tight end and offensive line. This was most evident along the O-Line, but for the first time in years the starters held their own against a power 5 team. Hopefully Alex Atkins has the line in an upwards trajectory.
The receivers need to help out their quarterback and vice versa. There were two plays during the last game when Blackman was able to put the ball on target but the receivers could not make the play. And several tumes the receivers were open and Blackman threw the ball too late or missed his target.
Florida State offense versus Miami defense
Miami lost 8 starters on a defense that held FSU to 10 points and sacked Seminole QBs 8 times. To help keep the pressure on their opponents ‘Canes coach Manny Diaz brought in transfers Quincy Roche and Jaelan Phillips to replace Jonathan Garvin and Gregory Rousseau. The secondary has experienced some turnover but safeties Bubba Bolden and Amari Carter lead the team in tackles with 12 a piece.
Miami has an attacking style of defense that can create sacks and tackles for loss, but leaves them vulnerable to the big play. Blackman will take some hits, but hopefully he can stay in there long enough to find Tamorrion Terry or Keyshawn Helton for some chunks of yardage. Another way to slow down the pass rush will be to run some screens or draws with running backs Jashaun Corbin, Cory Wren and Lawrence Toafili. The screen game was one of the most effective parts of the offense in the opener against Georgia Tech.
FSU defense versus Miami offense
Florida State’s linebackers and safeties had a tough time covering the backs out of the backfield in the opener, so having Nasirildeen back for this game should be a big help as he is a good coverage guy and can make tackles in space.
Miami’s offense is more formidable this year thanks to an offensive line that returns 4 starters and an upgrade at quarterback with transfer D’Eriq King. King is one of the nation’s best QBs and he holds an NCAA record 16 game streak in which he has thrown for a touchdown and ran for a touchdown in the same game. FSU will have it’s full allotment of DBs for this game, so I expect Miami to try to expose the Seminole defense down the middle with their NFL caliber tight ends Brevin Jordan and Will Mallory. The best way for FSU to slow Miami down will be for the defensive tackles to live up to their preseason hype by limiting the running backs and getting pressure on King up the middle.
FSU showed vast improvement in the return and coverage game. During the first game, kicker Parker Grothaus and punter Alex Mastromammo did decent job. However, I expect them to get better as the season goes on. Miami’s punter Lou Headley has already booted 5 punts over 50 yards. The transfer kicker Jose Borregales is 5/5 with a 57 yarder this past weekend.
FSU will need dominant performances from its star players like Marvin Wilson, Tamorrion Terry and Asante Samuel along with James Blackman finding and hitting his receivers on a consistent basis to pull out a win. All four of these players have done it before so let’s hope they can put it altogether in the same game. I still think Miami’s ability to get to the passer and FSU’s lack of depth at defensive end will be the deciding factor of the game.
FSU 23 Miami 31.