It’s Famous Jameis versus The U in the Battle of the Sunshine State. (Thanks for playing, Florida Gators; see you next year).
When Miami Has The Ball
Finally, for Miami, it’s about a game. People aren’t talking about them being awful, or about what sanctions the NCAA is going to bestow on them, they’re talking about Miami being in an important game. And Miami fans have every reason to be excited about this game, because for the first time in awhile, they have a pretty good team. Quarterback Stephen Morris has thrown for 1,463 yards and 10 TD (although he does have 8 INTs). Allen Hurns leads the team with 506 receiving yards and 2 TDs, but there are four other players on the roster with at least 200 yards and either 2 or 3 TDs. That’s a lot of weapons for any quarterback. On the ground, Duke Johnson has 823 yards and six TDs through just seven games; Dallas Crawford has far fewer yards with 291, but he has nine TDs to go with them. Clearly this is not a one-dimensional offense.
Florida State’s defense, however, is likely up to the task. They’re allowing just 13 points per game, good for fourth in the country, and have 17 sacks and 10 INTs. The secondary is going to have to bring their “A” game to cover all of Miami’s top-tier receivers. With so many capable wideouts, getting pressure on Morris and either sacking him or forcing him to throw before his receivers can get open is going to be key. Eight interceptions tells me he can be baited into making ill-advised throws at times. Going into the season, the ‘Noles front four were a concern, with two starters having been high draft picks, but their replacements have played quite well. Stopping Duke Johnson and Dallas Crawford will keep them busy on Saturday.
When Florida State Has The Ball
By now, we all know about Jameis Winston. A redshirt freshman with better, well, everything than a lot of upperclassmen I’ve watched, has thrown for 2,177 yards and 23 TDs, with just 4 INTs. He’s also firmly entrenched in the Heisman discussion, with, in my opinion, a good chance of winning it. Winston has also rushed for 126 yards and 3 TDs, but with three quality backs on the roster in Devonta Freeman, Karlos Williams, and James Wilder, Jr., Winston doesn’t need to run the ball often. The three aforementioned running backs have rushed for a combined 1,136 yards and 15 TDs thus far. The receiving group, too, is above-average, with Kenny Shaw, Kelvin Benjamin, Rashad Greene and Nick O’Leary combining for 2,001 yards and 22 TDs. Keep in mind that the Seminoles have also had two off weeks, meaning they’ve played at least one less game than most teams.
Will Miami be the team to slow this attack? It seems as though someone should be able to, with a redshirt freshman at the helm, and yet no one has so far. The Canes rank 10th nationally in points allowed, so maybe they’ll be the team to do it. Throwing Winston some fronts and coverages he hasn’t seen before could help. Getting pressure and making him rush his throws could too. Of course, then there’s the run game to contend with. It’s truly been a “pick your poison” situation for defenses facing the ‘Noles this season. One guy to watch for is linebacker Denzel Perryman, who had double-digit tackles (at least per ESPN.com’s unofficial stats) against Florida, Georgia Tech, and North Carolina.
The Hurricanes may be unbeaten, but they haven’t faced anything like Florida State yet this season. Don’t get me wrong, Miami is a good team- but this Seminoles team is bordering on great. Florida State 41, Miami 21
Thanks for Reading. You can follow me @LastwordLindsay and fellow LWOS writers @BrittneeTaylor, @MikeTag98 and @GigemRoss on twitter for your NCAA Football needs, and follow the site @lastwordonsport and like our Facebook Page while you are at it.
Interested in writing for LastWordOnSports? If so, check out our “Join Our Team” page to find out how.
Football fans…check out our two partnered NFL podcasts – Thursday Night Tailgate Radio and Overtime Ireland. Both shows bring you interesting commentary, critical analysis and fantastic guests including former and current NFL players, coaches and personalities.