Miami vs. Florida State. It’s finally here. After having this matchup postponed due to Hurricane Irma, and almost having the game time of this weekend’s matchup change due to the threat of Tropical Storm Nate. But enough about the weather, let’s get to talking football.
Conference and in-state rivals go head to head this week as the 13th ranked Miami Hurricanes visit Tallahassee and take on the Florida State Seminoles in a pivotal rivalry matchup and a crucial conference matchup. This will be the 62nd meeting between the in-state rivals. The Hurricanes currently lead the all-time rivalry at 31-30, but the Seminoles have won seven straight matchups against the Hurricanes. Seminoles Head Coach Jimbo Fisher has not lost to the Hurricanes since becoming the leader of the Seminoles back in 2010.
The Canes are currently 3-0 and will be a tough test for this Seminoles team. They defeated conference foe Duke last week 31-6, while the Seminoles beat Wake Forest last week 26-19, after a game-winning TD drive led by freshman quarterback James Blackman.
This will definitely be a physical matchup as it is a rivalry game and has massive implications for both schools. The Hurricanes want to end this losing streak to the Seminoles, while the Seminoles would love nothing more than to extend the streak to eight games and make Miami fans miserable on the drive back to South Florida.
Let’s take a look at three storylines to watch in this one:
1. Stop Miami’s running game:
Mark Walton and Travis Homer are the Hurricanes running backs that have helped the team get to an undefeated start. Walton is the sixth-leading rusher in the ACC and Homer is no slouch either. These two will look to get a pace going and control the game against the Seminoles. If FSU can find a way to slow them down, and force quarterback Malik Rosier to throw the ball, then they can pull this one out. Rosier has thrown 8 touchdowns and 2 interceptions through 3 games, but Florida State’s defense should want him to attempt to make big plays. Rosier is a first-year starter and can be prone to mistakes. If the running game is shut down, then Rosier will have to make plays himself, which could lead to success for the Seminoles.
2. Can the offensive line protect Blackman?
After playing well against Alabama and NC State, the offensive line did not play well against Wake Forest last week. They allowed five sacks and the Demon Deacon defensive line wreaked havoc in the backfield all day. Blackman rarely had time to throw the ball throughout the majority of the game, and this cannot happen against Miami’s defensive line, which is very good and will look to confuse the young freshman in Blackman and make life miserable for the offensive line. If they struggle against this Miami front, it will be a long afternoon for Blackman and the offense.
3. Will special teams play a role?
It’s Miami vs. FSU. Special teams has always been a part of this rivalry. From missed field goals to blocked extra points, when these two teams meet, this is always a key. The field position battle between the two teams could be crucial, as the defenses could make game-changing plays with the opposing offenses working with long fields. The punters could have a busy day Saturday, but nothing will be as stressful as being the field goal kicker. If this game comes down to the final drive, the kickers will have a chance to add their name to this historic rivalry, whether that be a made kick, a missed kick, or a blocked kick. Special teams will be a huge part of this game.
The Seminoles, although having a tough season, are just as talented as the rival Hurricanes. The Canes are desperate to end that seven-game losing streak to their rivals. The Seminoles started slow the first three games, and if they continue to start slow, then the Hurricanes will win this game. Expect it to be a physical game as these two teams do not like each other, and there is so much on the line for both teams. Until the Hurricanes beat the Seminoles, continue to expect a Seminoles victory.
Florida State 17, Miami 16