Who: Miami Hurricanes (5-4, 3-3 ACC) at Florida State Seminoles (6-3, 4-2 ACC)
Where: Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, FL
When: Saturday, November 12th at 3:30 P.M. EST
Last Week: Florida State beat Boston College 38-7 on Thursday night; Miami beat Duke 49-14.
On Saturday, Florida State and Miami will meet in Tallahassee. The Seminoles enter the contest on a four-game-winning-streak. With Thursday’s win over Boston College, Florida State was able to extend the nation’s longest bowl streak to 30. With a win over Miami on Saturday, Florida State will notch its 30th straight winning season. The Hurricanes will become bowl-eligible with a win over FSU.
Florida State destroyed Miami 45-17 last season at Sun Life Stadium. Miami beat Florida State 38-34 in the last meeting in Tallahassee, back on Labor Day of 2009. Christian Ponder’s final pass of the game was dropped by Jarmon Fortson as the Hurricanes opened 2009 with a win in Tallahassee. In fact, the visiting team has won the last five meetings; neither team has won at home in this series since 2005 when the Seminoles defeated Miami 10-7 in Tallahassee. Last year’s Florida State victory was the first meeting decided by more than one score since 2001. Saturday’s game will be televised on ABC.
Keys to Seminole Success
Find Offensive Balance
One trend that has held true throughout the Florida State-Miami series, is that the team that runs the ball best usually wins. FSU rushed for nearly 300 yards in the 45-17 win last season. After stellar rushing performances against Duke and Maryland, the Seminoles have taken a step back in the last two weeks, but have still been dramatically better than at the beginning of the year. Devonta Freeman, a true freshman, has been the workhorse for Florida State over the past month, but in a rivalry game like this, expect more experienced guys like Jermaine Thomas and Ty Jones to get more carries. With the exception of the Oklahoma game, the Seminoles have had no trouble throwing the football. Balance will be important however on Saturday for FSU to keep a fast Miami defense honest.
Pressure the Quarterback
Although he has performed better this season, Miami senior quarterback Jacory Harris has a history of turning the football over when pressured. If Florida State is able to get pressure without blitzing, Miami may be in a world of trouble. The Canes do have a talented corps of wide receivers with guys like Travis Benjamin, Allen Hurns and Tommy Streeter. That is why it will be important for the FSU front four to get pressure on Harris. If Harris has time, the Hurricanes should be able to convert big plays. A big game from Brandon Jenkins or Bjoern Werner could go a long way toward a Florida State victory.
Control Lamar Miller
For Miami to pull off the upset on Saturday, the Canes will need a strong rushing effort from sophomore Lamar Miller. Miller has already broken the 1,000 yard barrier this year and has the speed to make big plays in the run and passing game. It will be essential on Saturday for Florida State to stuff Miller, particularly on early downs. Keeping Miami in third-and-long situations would take away the run-pass option making Miller less of a threat. If Florida State is able to minimize Miller’s productivity, it should be a long day for the Hurricanes.