Since 2011, Florida is 5-0 over Miami and have won those games by an average margin of victory of 14.4 points per game. Last season, Florida State won 29-24 in Tallahassee.
The Seminoles are limping into this game after their disappointing home loss to North Carolina on a last second field goal. Entering this game against the Hurricanes, the offense is averaging 41 points per game. Florida State is rushing for 240 yards on the ground and passing for 268 yards through the air this season.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Deondre Francois has looked very good at times and other times has looked as an inexperienced quarterback. On the year, Francois has completed 62% of his passes for 1,323 yards with 7 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Francois will need to show poise this coming weekend and be able to feel the pass rush from the perimeter. Florida State’s offensive line has allowed 16 sacks through 5 games and must give Francois time to locate his receivers.
Head coach Jimbo Fisher has not done a good job this season in utilizing running back Dalvin Cook. Cook is the best player for the Seminoles offense, however, Fisher has taken Cook out of ball games by putting the football in Francois’ hands to make plays. In order to win this game on the road, the Seminoles will need to utilize Cook in both the running and passing games. Cook has rushed for 635 yards averaging 5.9 yards per carry with 7 touchdowns. As a receiver, he has caught 19 passes for 286 yards. As Cook goes on Saturday so will Florida State’s offense. If he is ineffective, expect a Seminoles road loss. He is the most important player on the field for Florida State on Saturday night for the offense.
Wide receiver Jesus “Bobo” Wilson leads the team with 22 receptions for 340 yards with one touchdown. The group of Wilson, Travis Rudolph and Kermit Whitfield were the strength of the offense entering the 2016 season with 174 receptions for 2,336 yards with 16 touchdowns in 2015.
However, entering this game, Rudolph and Whitfield only have 26 receptions through five games (average of 5 receptions per game) for 320 yards with 3 touchdowns.
Florida State must convert third down situations against Miami and has converted 45% of their third down attempts entering this game.
Defensively, the Seminoles are allowing 35 points per game and have not been good in shutting down the run giving up 191 rushing yards per game.
The secondary is yielding 247 passing yards per game and must force Miami into working down the field. North Carolina was able to exploit the Seminoles secondary deep on crossing patterns and look for the same type of game plan from the Hurricanes on Saturday afternoon.
Florida State has recorded 16 sacks through the first five games and is +7 in turnover margin heading into this game.
One major concern is that the defense is allowing opposing offenses to convert 43% of their third down attempts.
The Hurricanes are allowing 47 points per game and have a pass heavy offense with an experienced quarterback in Brad Kaaya.
Miami is rushing for 111 yards per game and is passing for 241 yards through the air. The offensive line has done a fantastic job inn protecting Kaaya in giving him time to locate his receivers. On the year, the unit has given up 2 sacks through 4 games and is a main reason why the Hurricanes are undefeated heading into to this match-up.
Kaaya has completed 66% of his passes for 935 yards with 8 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. Kaaya has shown a great touch on his passes, but more importantly knows where he wants to go with the football in his reads and progressions.
The Hurricanes have two solid running backs in Joseph Yearby and Mark Walton that have combined for 766 rushing yards with 13 touchdowns. Both players have the speed to put pressure on the Seminoles defense on the perimeter and move the chains to keep the Seminoles offense on the sidelines.
Wide receiver Stacy Coley has been Kaaya’s main target hauling in 15 passes for 211 yards with a team leading 4 touchdowns. Coley must be able to take the top off of the defense on Saturday to open up running lanes and allow the offense to stretch the Seminoles defense.
Defensively, the Hurricanes have made a complete 360 with new defensive coordinator Manny Diaz at the helm. Miami is allowing 11 points per game and is giving up 115 rushing yards per game along with 137 passing yards per game.
Diaz’s blitzing schemes has helped the Hurricanes make up for the loss of star defensive end Quan Muhammad, who was dismissed at the start of the season. On the year, Miami has recorded 16 sacks through the first four games and is +3 in turnover margin.
As a defensive unit, the front seven is allowing 2.6 yards per carry and holding opposing offenses to 51% completions.
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