No.13 Miami Looks To Stay Undefeated At Arch Rival Florida State’s Stadium Saturday
TALLAHASSEE, FL– Labor Day 2009, the last time Miami beat Florida State (in Tallahassee) and 2,953 days since their last win against the Seminoles. The head coach for Miami was Randy Shannon, in his third year he went 9-4; the only season Shannon finished the season ranked. The quarterback for Miami in 2009 was Jacory Harris; current Hurricanes quarterback Malik Rosier was a sophomore in high school at Faith Academy in Alabama. Miami head coach Mark Richt was at Georgia, going 8-5 with an Independence Bowl win.
Miami vs. FSU has been one of the most iconic rivalries in college football with the Hurricanes owning a 31-30 series lead over the ‘Noles. 30 of the 61 meetings have been decided by eight points or less, and eight games have been decided by one point, including last year’s game. FSU won 20-19 on a missed extra point by Miami in 2016. Now the No. 13 Hurricanes will travel to Tallahassee, ranked ahead of Florida State for just the second time since 2010.
The rivalry that is Miami vs. Florida State is fierce, with a combined eight National Championships and 107 first round draft picks. These programs fight for the same recruits and are equally successful in sending those recruits to the NFL.
The win-loss records of these teams, this particular week does not matter. What happened last year or 10 years ago does not matter. The mission for Miami vs. Florida State week is to win by any means necessary.
Through The Years
Miami — The Miami Hurricanes football program has been underwhelming over the past seven years. The combinations of three coaches in that span has caused instability within the program. The Nevin Shapiro scandal also set Miami back with probation and loss of scholarships. Every time Miami thinks they’ve come back to glory, a loss to Florida State sets the Hurricanes straight.
In the past seven years, the Hurricanes have a 52-37 record (not including this year), while going 1-5 in bowl games. The ‘Canes have yet to reach the ACC Championship game since joining the ACC in 2004. Miami has had only one top ten recruiting class in the past seven years as recruits flock to FSU, Florida, Alabama, Georgia and all the way up to Ohio State and Michigan.
Florida State — Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher has never lost to Miami. The 2009 loss in Tallahassee was former head coach Bobby Bowden’s last year at FSU. Since then Fisher has posted a 79-19 record, 5-2 bowl record, three ACC Championships (2012-2014), and one National Championship in 2013.
The Seminoles have enjoyed seven top ten recruiting classes in the past seven years, producing a Heisman Trophy Winner in Jamies Winston. The talent despair between Florida State and Miami hasn’t been close. FSU has had better recruiting classes while putting more players in the NFL over the past seven years.
On paper, the Miami Hurricanes should be able to handle the Seminoles pretty easily. But in this rivalry paper means nothing. The only thing that matters is a win and bragging rights for the year.
Last year the ‘Noles visited Hard Rock Stadium for the annual matchup where they came into that game ranked ahead of FSU as well. Former Hurricanes Brad Kaaya and Stacy Coley hooked up for an 11-yard score with 1:41 left to in the game. All Miami needed was an extra point to tie the game, then hold the lead. But Miami kicker Michael Badgley had his extra point blocked. Game over.
Hurricanes quarterback Rosier will have his toughest test as a starter Saturday afternoon. With four starts under his belt, this will be the largest crowd as Rosier looks to improve to 3-0 on the road. Doak Campell stadium will be rocking with about 80,000 fans in Tallahassee, the loudest football stadium in Florida.
“They fly around the ball. Every time you see a pass, there’s someone in the way or deflecting the ball. They’re a really solid defense.” Rosier said of the Florida State defense.
Rosier leads all ACC quarterbacks in pass efficiency (167.0) and has a 4:1 touchdown/interception ratio this season. He leads a very potent and balanced offense which is 11th in the country in total offense, 18th in scoring offense and when the ‘Canes reach the red zone, they score 93 percent of the time.
‘Canes running back Mark Walton looks to continue his dominance with 9.2 yards a carry, fourth in the nation. Walton is the only running back returning in the ACC with 1,000 yards. The Miami running back was hurt last week (ankle) at Duke after being hurt the previous week against Toledo. But he practiced all this week.
“He did alright,’’ Richt said. “He’s going to play. Like last week, unless there’s a setback, we believe he’ll play.”
Sophomore receiver Ahmmon Richards returned last week, he sat out the first two games due to a hamstring pull in fall camp. Richards recorded 106-yards receiving and a score at Duke. Emerging receiver Braxton Berrios and Richards will look to attack the Seminoles’ 38th ranked pass defense.
FSU quarterback James Blackman and the Florida State offense has struggled since All-ACC quarterback Deondre Francois was lost to a season-ending injury in week one against No. 1 Alabama. The FSU offense has struggled to get first downs allowing the FSU defense to stay on the field longer and grow tired. The Seminoles defense will have their hands full Saturday.
Preseason AP All-American safety Derwin James didn’t get to play Miami last year due to a season-ending knee injury against Charleston Southern. James was initially called for a targeting penalty last week against Wake Forest, which would have put the Miami game in jeopardy. It was reviewed and overturned.
“Everybody is ready to go to work. It’s a big week, Miami week, a rivalry week, and it’s time to go.” James said before Monday’s practice.
The Seminoles defense will have its work cut out for them. Miami’s offense is balanced and can score from anywhere on the field with their skill players.
The Hurricanes defense has to be salivating over playing Florida State. The ‘Noles average 18 points per game with their 121st ranked rushing attacked and ranked 88th in passing yards per game. The Seminoles have a decent running back core featuring Jacques Patrick and freshman Cam Akers so stopping them on first and second down will be important for Miami’s defense.
“They’ve had to change their identity a little bit, but I still think that in any game, and certainly in this game, stopping the run is still going to be the first order of business,” Miami defensive coordinator Manny Diaz said.
Diaz, who is from Miami but went to Florida State, will look to duplicate Miami’s success from the first three games.
How many times will the “turnover chain” come out? The Miami turnover chain is rewarded to the defensive player who creates a turnover during the game. The Miami defense has produced five turnovers so far this season.
Miami is a three-point favorite on the road. The only thing that will keep this game close is home-field advantage for Florida State. Blackman will get his first taste of the Miami-Florida State rivalry. But he is merely a game manager at this point in his career. Ranked, top ten in the country in sacks and tackles for loss, Miami will harass Blackman as they control the line of scrimmage.
Offensively, the ‘Canes have a tougher test against the Seminoles. Patience, balance, and protecting the ball will bode well on the road for Rosier and the offense. Rosier will use his running ability to move the chains, keeping drives alive. Miami has only two turnovers all year, contributing to their 25 point win margin this year.
Saturday’s matchup will be a low scoring affair as the ‘Canes and ‘Noles grind out another hard fought battle. At the end of the day, Miami’s defense will prove too tough for FSU. The No. 13 Miami Hurricanes will give Fisher his first loss in this decorated series.
Miami 24 – Florida State 14