October 6, 2017 - by
First and 10: Florida State vs. No. 13 Miami

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.  – Florida State is back home, where it will look to build on last week’s win at Wake Forest with a win over 13th-ranked Miami. Here are the names, numbers and notes you need to know before the Seminoles meet the Hurricanes for the 62nd time.

1) Game on

Florida State (3-0, 1-1 ACC) vs. No. 13 Miami (3-0, 1-0)
When/Where: Saturday, 3:30 p.m./Doak Campbell Stadium (79,560)
TV/Radio: ESPN/Seminole IMG Radio Network/SiriusXM Ch. 81

Florida State injury report:
George Campbell (Hip) – Questionable
Ryan Green (Illness) – Out

Out for Season
QB Deondre Francois (Knee)
OL Baveon Johnson (Knee)
OL Jauan Williams (Shoulder)

2. Know Your Foe

Miami Hurricanes

Coach: Mark Richt (12-4 in two seasons at Miami, 157-55 overall)

Last game: The Hurricanes jumped out to a quick, two-touchdown lead then cruised to an easy 31-6 victory at Duke last week. Receiver Ahmmon Richards caught three passes for 106 yards and a 49-yard touchdown.

Last game vs. Florida State: In one of the more famous plays in recent series history, DeMarcus Walker blocked Miami’s point-after attempt with 1:38 remaining in the game to preserve a 20-19 victory at Hard Rock Stadium on Oct. 9, 2016. The play, dubbed “The Block at the Rock,” started a skid of four straight Miami losses.

Miami vs. Florida State all-time: Miami leads the all-time series 31-30 and is 10-14 in Tallahassee. The Seminoles, however, have won seven straight.

FSU vs. Miami since 2004:
2004: No. 5 MIAMI 16, No. 4 Florida State 10 (OT)
2005: No. 14 FLORIDA STATE 10, No. 9 Miami 7
2006: No. 11 Florida State 13, No. 12 MIAMI 10
2007: Miami 37, FLORIDA STATE 29
2008: Florida State 41, MIAMI 39
2009: Miami 38, No. 18 FLORIDA STATE 34
2010: No. 24 Florida State 45, MIAMI 17
2011: FLORIDA STATE 23, Miami 19
2012: No. 12 Florida State 33, MIAMI 20
2013: No. 3 FLORIDA STATE 3, No. 7 Miami
2014: No. 2 Florida State 30, MIAMI 26
2015: No. 8 FLORIDA STATE 29, Miami 24
2016: No.  21 Florida State 20, No. 10 MIAMI 19
2017: No. 13 Miami at FLORIDA STATE, Saturday, 3:30 p.m.

3. Storylines
  • The 62nd meeting between Florida State and Miami carries both historic and future significance. A win would mark FSU’s eighth in a row against the Canes, would give the Seminoles the longest winning streak for either side in the all-time series, and tie the all-time record between the two at 31-31. Florida State’s biggest nemesis throughout program history, Miami has been in front since 1974.
  • More pertinent, though, is the direction of each team’s season. Miami is 3-0, ranked in the top 15 and has designs on a big year. FSU, meanwhile, is continuing its turnaround from an 0-2 start and a win over the Hurricanes would provide a big boost for the Seminoles as they head toward the midway point. While several college football pundits have pegged Miami for its first win over FSU since 2009, recent history is in the Seminoles’ favor.
  • Two quarterbacks will write their name in series history for first time: Freshman James Blackman for FSU and redshirt junior Malik Rosier for Miami. Blackman can become the sixth straight Seminole quarterback to win his debut against UM and 10th to do it since 1989. Everett Golson (2015), Jameis Winston (2013) and EJ Manuel (2011) all won their first starts against Miami at home.
  • Saturday marks the return of coach Mark Richt to Doak Campbell Stadium for the first time since 2000, his last year as FSU’s offensive coordinator. Richt coached two Heisman Trophy winners and helped the Seminoles to a pair of national titles as an assistant from 1990-2000.

  • Jimbo Fisher will once again put his sterling record against teams from the state of Florida on the line. Since taking over as FSU’s head coach in 2010, Fisher is 17-1 against teams from the Sunshine State, including 7-0 over Miami and 6-1 over Florida.
  • FSU and UM both had to work around Hurricane Irma at the start of the season. They each had their Week 2 games cancelled and then had their Week 3 meeting with each other rescheduled from Sept. 16 to Oct. 7.  As a result, the Seminoles and Hurricanes each had a two-week break in September.
4. Ones To Watch

Miami: Quarterback Malik Rosier is 4-0 as a starter, leads the ACC in pass efficiency and has thrown eight touchdowns against just two interceptions. But two of those four starts have come at home, with the other two coming at Duke (in 2015 and 2017) in a stadium that seats 40,000 people. Meaning he’s never started in an environment like one he’ll face Saturday at Doak Campbell Stadium.

The Hurricanes rank eighth nationally with 3.67 sacks per game, and at the head of UM’s pass-rush are defensive ends Chad Thomas (3.5 TFLs, 1 sack) and Trent Harris (2.5 sacks). The two form one of the more formidable duos in the conference, and lead the fourth-straight NFL-caliber defensive line that the Seminoles will face to start the season.

Florida State: Through three games, Auden Tate has scored three of Florida State’s total touchdowns and accounted for 37 percent of the Seminoles’ receiving yardage. Even, still, Tate’s impact on FSU’s offense might be understated: He made FSU’s two biggest plays against Alabama, had a career day against NC State and caught the game-winning touchdown a week later at Wake Forest. Furthermore, it was clear that FSU’s offense wasn’t the same when he went down with a shoulder injury against the Wolfpack. Tate was limited last week, but was still the Seminoles’ most dangerous receiving threat. Having him healthy and productive against the Hurricanes could be crucial.

On defense, the Seminoles would do well to slow down Mark Walton (9.2 YPC, 3 TDs) and the Miami running game. FSU has outrushed the Hurricanes in five of the seven games of its current win streak, and by an average of 185.7-99.8. Which means there’s a prime opportunity for senior defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi to disrupt UM’s offensive line and help the Seminoles’ defense force Rosier to beat them through the air.

First and 10: Florida State vs. No. 13 Miami
5. Numbers To Know

Total offense: FSU: 300.7 YPG (120th nationally); UM: 515.3 YPG (11th)
Scoring offense:  FSU: 18.0 PPG (116th); UM: 41.3 PPG (18th)
Passing offense: FSU: 203.0 YPG (88th); UM: 278.7 YPG (36th)
Rushing offense: FSU: 97.7 YPG (122nd); UM: 236.7 (22nd)

Total defense: FSU: 333.7 YPG (33rd); UM: 376.0 YPG (63rd)
Scoring defense: FSU: 23.3 PPG (50th); UM: 16.3 PPG (17th)
Passing defense: FSU: 207.3 YPG (45th); UM: 246.3 YPG (92nd)
Rushing defense: FSU: 126.4 YPG (38th); UM: 129.7 YPG (46th)

6. They Said It

“The thing about it, you have great respect for Miami. Listen, they’re a great team. They do everything. I mean, this game is always physical, hard-fought, and it’s one of the things I always loved about watching it when I wasn’t part of this. I mean, you saw the intensity, and I think you’ll see the same thing (on Saturday).” – Jimbo Fisher

“Sometimes we take winning for granted, and (winning at Wake Forest last week) was just a beautiful thing. It felt good. Hopefully, we can keep riding this wave.” – FSU safety Derwin James

“We’re going to play good football. We have stuff to work on, but guys will come ready. This is Miami week, one of the biggest rivalries in college football, so guys will come ready to play.” – FSU linebacker Matthew Thomas

“It’s just two great teams going at each other. The series is lopsided (recently), but the scores haven’t really been that lopsided all the time. A lot of close games as of late, but not any that Miami has won, obviously. You prepare for a team that you know that you have to battle every snap. You have to scrap for everything you get. That’s kind of how we go into most all of our games.” – Miami coach Mark Richt

“I just learned a lot of football from Coach Bowden but I learned probably a lot more about life. His priorities were things that meant a lot to me. He took a chance on a 24-year-old kid that coached quarterbacks for him. I don’t even know that I should’ve been coaching QBs that early in my career. He let me grow as a coach. For him to have faith and confidence in me to do that was huge.” – Richt on his relationship with FSU’s Bobby Bowden

“It’s inexcusable, honestly, seven straight. It’s a great rivalry. We say it’s the best rivalry in football. Ohio State and Michigan is the second-best rivalry in football, so take it as you wish, but it’s inexcusable to have lost to them seven straight times.” – Miami receiver Braxton Berrios

7. Nole Notes
  • As always, the South Florida region is well represented across FSU’s roster. The Seminoles have 20 players from Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, including five from the city of Miami. There are six high schools from the area with players on both teams.
  • Mark Richt is the most obvious FSU connection on Miami’s staff, but he’s far from the only one. UM defensive coordinator Manny Diaz was a graduate assistant in 1998 and 99, and coached under former FSU quarterback Rick Stockstill at Middle Tennessee from 2006-09.
  • Other connections include: UM receivers coach Ron Dugans (Tallahassee native, FSU WR 1995-99); UM quarterback Cade Weldon (father Casey is a Tallahassee native and FSU QB 1988-91); UM linebacker Bradley Jennings Jr. (father Bradley was an FSU LB 1997-2001).
  • The Florida State game has been a turning point in Miami’s season over the last few years. The Canes were 4-0 when they met the Seminoles last year, then finished the season 9-4. Similar trends took place in 2015 (3-1 against FSU, finished 8-5), 2014 (6-3, 6-7) and 2013 (7-0, 9-4). Losses to FSU started a four-game UM losing streak in 2016 and 2014, and a three-game skid in 2013.
  • FSU has thrown a touchdown pass in 11-straight games, a streak extended in the final minute of last week’s win at Wake Forest.
  • Jimbo Fisher can earn his 80th career victory on Saturday. He is 79-19 since taking over in 2010.
  • The Hurricanes are riding an eight-game winning streak dating back to last season. UM has beaten its opponents by an average of 21 points per game during that streak.
8. Watch And Learn

Strangely enough, 2017 marks some rather dubious anniversaries in the FSU-Miami series. It’s been 20 years since the 1992 “Wide Right II” game, and 30 years since the 1987 contest in which Bobby Bowden eschewed a tie and went for two with 42 seconds to play. The attempt failed, and Miami won, 17-16.

But let’s forget all those and focus on a more obscure — and, for FSU, fun — anniversary. On Oct. 4, 1997, Florida State was ranked fourth in the country and, led by a stout defense and a promising young offense (Peter Warrick and Travis Minor were underclassmen) welcomed Miami to Tallahassee for what would become the most lopsided FSU win in series history. The 47-0 final score was Miami’s worst defeat since 1944 and the Seminoles would go on to finish the season 11-1 and ranked No. 3.

9. Further Reading
10. The Bottom Line

The college football world seems to believe that Florida State is facing long odds, but the Seminoles have more than a few reasons to feel confident, too.

Despite their opposite records, it’s reasonable to suggest that Florida State might be 3-0, had it started with the likes of Bethune-Cookman, Toledo and Duke. And Miami likewise would be hard-pressed to be 3-0 after facing Alabama, NC State and Wake Forest.

Florida State needs to be better than it’s been in recent weeks, but there’s nothing like a rivalry game – at home, no less – to bring out the best in a team. See last year’s contest at Miami, in which 3-2 FSU knocked off 4-0 Miami, as an example.

And don’t underestimate the pressure facing Miami. The Canes have been asked all week about their seven-game losing streak, and now they’re headed to Tallahassee, where they’re all but expected to do something that hasn’t been done since 2009. That type of weight can bear down on a team, especially on the road and especially if the game is close in the fourth quarter.

In a series always defined by kicks, perhaps it will be a special-teams play – FSU’s specialists have been a strength in recent weeks – that lifts the Seminoles to a win and sends the Hurricanes home hurting for the eighth straight year.

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