Miami (3-1) vs. FSU (4-0) 3:30 pm
Over the past two seasons, the Miami Hurricanes are 5-9 on the road or on a neutral field site (includes bowl games and two games this season against FAU and Cinncy). Over the last five meetings, FSU is 5-0 against the Hurricanes with an average margin of victory of 15.2 points per game. FSU’s four wins have come against opponents with a combined record of 7-11 this year.
The Hurricanes have been able to score points this season and come into this contest averaging 37 points per game. Led by quarterback Brad Kayaa, the Hurricanes are averaging 174 rushing yards on the ground and are passing for 286 yards per game. Kayaa has completed 61.4% of his passes for 1094 yards with 5 touchdowns along with one interception. Running back Joseph Yearby has had a solid season and will be needed in this game to carry the rock between the tackles against a tough Seminoles defense. Yearby has rushed for 424 yards with 4 touchdowns and has been utilized in passing offense in the short to intermediate passing game this season. Running back Mark Walton has added depth to the position with 184 rushing yards and 5 touchdowns and gives the Hurricanes another option in the running game to help give Yearby a rest as the game progresses. Miami will need to challenge the Seminoles defense vertically on Saturday afternoon. Al Golden and the offensive staff must be able to break tendencies and mix up the play calling and not be one dimensional. The Hurricanes have struggled this season on third down situations as the team has converted 24% on third down conversions this year. Miami will need to play action on first and second down to force Florida State out of playing “eight in the box” to stop Yearby. The Hurricanes have not been able to start fast on the road-which has been part of the poor road record the past two seasons. The team will need to jump up early in order to pull out the victory and must be able to make halftime adjustments. Last year, along with the loss to Cinncy last Thursday night, the team trailed by a touchdown or less at halftime and failed to pull out the victory in the second half (last season trailed at half to Louisville, Nebraska and GTech by 7 or less-lost each game). Miami will have extra time to prepare for this game as the Hurricanes last played last Thursday against Cinncy.
Defensively, the Hurricanes must force Florida State quarterback Everett Golson to beat them with his arm in this game. The Hurricanes are allowing 11.5 points per game and are solid in run support giving up 149 rushing yards per game. Miami is allowing 195 passing yards per game and has been very opportunistic in being able to create turnovers. The Hurricanes are +9 in turnover margin with defensive backs Rashawn Jenkins and Artie Burns each leading the team with 3 interceptions. The Hurricanes will need to force pressure on Golson on Saturday as he has not looked comfortable in the passing game and look for Miami to utilize blitz packages to force pressure on the Seminoles offensive line. Miami has 11 sacks on the season with defensive lineman Trent Harris leading the team with 2.5 sacks. Linebacker Raphael Kirby, who leads the team with 34 total tackles, will need to have a big game in order for the team to pull off the upset.
The Seminoles are averaging 32.8 points per game and have been relying on the strength of the running game to win their first four games. Florida State is averaging 192 rushing yards per game with running back Dalvin Cook carrying the load with 570 yards along 6 touchdowns. In order to get the home victory this coming weekend, the Seminoles will need to stretch the Hurricanes defense vertically. Quarterback Everett Golson has completed 64.2% of his passes with 786 yards with 7 touchdowns and no interceptions. As a team the Seminoles are averaging 213 passing yards per game and cannot afford to get into a shoot out with the Hurricanes and quarterback Brad Kayaa. The 2015 version of the Seminoles offense has been more methodical and has lacked big plays in the passing game. The offensive line has allowed 8 sacks and Golson’s mobility has been able to take pressure off the unit as they continue to gel this year. Wide receivers Jesus Wilson and Travis Rudolph have combined for 35 receptions for 416 yards and 4 touchdowns. Florida State will look to control the line of scrimmage against Miami by running the football and control the tempo of the game.
The Seminoles have been stellar this year on the defensive side of the ball. The team is giving up 11.5 points per game and has allowed 140 rushing yards per game along with yielding 141 passing yards per game. This unit is ranked 13th overall in the nation with 281.5 total yards per game. That has been the strength of the team in building a 4-0 record. However, this unit will be challenged by the best offense the team has faced in the Miami Hurricanes. The Seminoles have faced Texas St., USF, Boston College and Wake Forest and will be challenged by a speedy Hurricanes offense. Florida State is +5 in turnover margin with linebacker Reggie Northrup having a good season with a team leading 26 total tackles. Defensive back Jalen Ramsey has been able to come up with big plays at key moments in games and seems to play his best in big contests. Ramsey has 14 total tackles along with one fumble recovery for a touchdown and 5 passes broken up.
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Joseph Lisi a former ABC Sports college football researcher, is the owner of www.GOFORTHE2.COM. He is a member if the FWAA (Football Writers Association Of America),Maxwell Football Club and is currently the content editor at www.2FiveSports.com.He contributes regularly to www.Sid-Rosenberg.com and has been a featured guest every Tuesday night from 10:30-11:30pm EST on Yahoo Sports Radio With Ken Thomson(www.sportsxradio.com).
Joe has been featured on the FNTSY Sports Network and The Sid Rosenberg Sports Radio Show 640AM Sports (South Florida). You can follow him on Twitter: @Goforthe2.
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