FSU Offense vs. Miami Defense
WHEN FLORIDA STATE PASSES: The Seminoles average 35.9 points per game, rushing for 1,138 yards (126.4 ypg) and have thrown for 2,631 yards (292.3 ypg). The Hurricanes have surrended 1,851 yards (205.7 ypg) through the air and 1,611 yards on the ground (179 ypg). They give up an average of 21.2 points per game.
FSU QB E.J. Manuel is completing 66.7% of his passes, totaling 1,956 yards with 14 TDs and eight INTs, averaging 244.5 ypg. His top three targets include Rodney Smith, Rashad Greene, and Kenny Shaw, all wideouts. Smith’s hauled in 28 passes for 486 yards and three TDs. Greene has 26 receptions for 457 yards and six TDs, while Shaw has 26 catches for 308 yards and four TDs. Manuel spreads the ball around well to all his available targets and FSU has nine players with at least 10 catches. Tight end is an evolving position that will get better over time, but the unit as a whole has about the same production as Miami’s.
The Noles get back senior David Spurlock this week which should help bolster the line Saturday afternoon. FSU has allowed 26 sacks on the season, but keep in mind this line hasn’t been injury free for some time.
Manuel’s return from injury has sparked resurgence in FSU’s passing attack. Manuel doesn’t lock on to favorite targets as the distribution chart suggests. Although Florida State lacks a superstar WR at the moment, they are more talented than the defensive backs Miami will line up against them.
UM’s defensive gameplan will probably look a lot like several games this season. Miami defensive coordinator Mark D’Onofrio just doesn’t have the pieces in place yet to mount much resistance, opting for a bend but don’t break philosophy. FSU should have little trouble moving the ball through the air and Manuel could post big numbers against an outmanned Hurricanes secondary. Even with the suspension of safety Ray Ray Armstrong for this game, the Canes were outmatched. The Hurricanes will have to depend on applying pressure with defensive ends and using timely LB blitzes to force Manuel into mistakes.
Miami has only registered 19 sacks. DE Marcus Robinson has four, freshman DE Anthony Chickillo has 3.5, and LB Sean Spence has sacked the QB three times. Rushing the passer isn’t a strength for the Hurricanes and given the fact that UM will play zone coverage primarily, Manuel should have plenty of time to pick an open receiver.
The secondary in Coral Gablesis a mess. Only 18 passes have been defended, 10 by defensive backs. The Hurricanes have just four INTs as a unit and the lack of playmaking is painfully apparent. The coaching staff doesn’t feel confident enough to blitz that often because of the holes in the secondary.
FSU OL vs. UM DL advantage Florida State
FSU WR,TE vs. UM DB advantage Florida State
FSU QB Manuel vs. UM DB advantage Florida State
WHEN FLORIDA STATE RUNS: Manuel has rushed for 307 yards and four TDs, but including sacks brings his total down to 175 total rush yards. However, he’s a threat to run even when he drops back. Miami has struggled against running QBs historically and it should be no surprise to see Manuel take off with the ball. RB Devonta Freeman has played well recently and should start. He’s rushed for 367 yards and six touchdowns. It’s imperative that Florida State find a way to get the running game going to limit the chances Harris has to produce points.
LB Sean Spence leads the Hurricanes in tackles with 83 total. LB James Gaines is second with 53 total stops and freshman LB Denzel Perryman is fourth on the team with 48. Miami isn’t particularly strong up the middle and expect the Noles to run right at the Canes defense. Miami did limit a strong Georgia Tech rushing attack to just 134 yards.
FSU OL vs. UM DL advantage Florida State
FSU RB, QB vs. UM front seven advantage Florida State
SPECIAL TEAMS: Should this game come down to a field goal, both squads are in good hands. FSU kicker Dustin Hopkins has an incredibly strong leg and hit on 22 of his last 25 attempts. UM kicker Jake Wieclaw has been good, hitting on 8-of-10 attempts this season. Noles punter Shawn Powell averages 45.8 yards per punt and Canes punter Dalton Botts averages 41.3 yards per punt.
Both return units feature speedsters. FSU’s Greg Reid and UM’s Travis Benjamin can score from anywhere on the field.
FSU STs vs. UM STs advantage Florida State