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Florida State Denies Miami Comeback Efforts

Florida State Miami

Against Pitt two weekends ago, the Florida State Seminoles locked up their first ACC title game berth since 2014. Now they can officially notch another tally on the belt. After a gritty 27-20 win over heated rivals Miami on Saturday, the Seminoles have now secured the program’s first 10-win regular season since 2015. It certainly didn’t come without adversity, however. Florida State would have to deny a late Miami comeback attempt late in the contest.

The first half was a feeling-out process for both sides. Slow, methodical offensive drives were stalled by impressive defensive showings from both teams. With a 10-10 stalemate heading into halftime, it was anyone’s ballgame; with cautious optimism on one side and nervous concern on the other.

The Hurricanes would grab their first lead at 13-10 early in the third quarter. It would end up being short-lived, however, as FSU rallied with 17 unanswered points to jump out to a 27-13 lead early in the fourth. Miami would score once more to close the gap. The Noles secondary stepped up as they have all year, however, and forced a game-sealing interception off quarterback Tyler Van Dyke late in the fourth quarter to secure a 27-20 victory.

Standout Performers

RB Trey Benson

The Noles offense struggled to get much going on the ground for much of the contest. This was to be expected against a stingy Hurricanes defense. After all, they came into this game as the top-ranked run defense in the conference. However, a 1.8 average yards per carry mark seemed even lower than anticipated. Benson was the lone bright spot, and he definitely was a difference-maker. He carried the momentum from his strong form into the matchup and logged similarly solid production to the Miami matchup from last season. Benson finished with 16 carries for 80 yards and two scores. This included a 38-yard scamper that put FSU up 20-13 late in the third quarter and changed the tone of the game.

After a somewhat slow start to 2023, Benson has really come on the past few games and shown everyone why he was considered a potential first-round NFL prospect in the preseason. The impact he’s provided is a great sign for the Seminoles. Moving forward, opponents will have to continue to worry about defending the potent passing attack. However, defensive coordinators will have to almost equally worry about the rushing attack, as well. That wasn’t nearly the case for the majority of the first half of the year.

LB Kalen DeLoach

DeLoach has been a workhorse all season long for the Florida State defense. Saturday was no different, as he showed up all over the field in a stellar performance. DeLoach displayed his usual experience and seniority leadership with 10 tackles, including two tackles for loss in the form of two sacks. He maintained his team-leading statistics and now sits at 59 total tackles and seven sacks in 2023.

Having DeLoach on the roaster is a huge asset for Mike Norvell and his staff. He has repeatedly proven himself as one of the more consistent linebackers in the nation. He’s also one of the best open-field tacklers, and possesses versatility to be utilized in a variety of ways. Look for DeLoach to continue to be a vocal leader on this experience-laden defensive roster. It will continue to be a challenge for opposing offensive coordinators to find answers regarding how to defend both him and one of the best defensive line units in the nation.

Improvements Moving Forward

The Florida State victory over the Miami Hurricanes was a true dogfight for the Seminoles’ offensive unit. The team was held to a season-low 322 total offensive yards and was slightly outgained by an average Miami offense. Granted, this is a stellar Hurricanes defense, especially when it comes to defending the run. They frustrated the FSU line for a good portion of the contest. The Seminoles only managed 57 rushing yards on the day, another season-low. It certainly didn’t help that star quarterback Jordan Travis finished with eight attempts for -30 net rushing yards. For one of the more efficient dual-threat signal callers in the country, that certainly wasn’t to be expected.

Overall, the execution just wasn’t quite there. How much of this is due to the chemistry not being 100%, with star receiver tandem Keon Coleman and Johnny Wilson fresh off injuries? The offensive line had a mediocre showing and will need to focus on improving blocking schemes. The secondary has been elite this year, with a top 10 national efficiency rating and the lowest completion percentage allowed, the only team under 50%. However, there have been rare occurrences with big chunk plays given up that shifted momentum. That’s precisely what occurred midway through the fourth quarter.  Miami receiver Jacolby George kept upset hopes alive with an electric 85-yard touchdown through the heart of the secondary.

Chunk plays were also allowed on the ground. Donald Chaney Jr. only had 12 attempts but made the most of them with 85 yards for an average of 7.1 yards per carry. That’s not gonna cut it in two weeks against Florida, which possesses a more dangerous and dynamic rushing attack.


Florida State’s close win over a talented Miami squad was another great entry in the historically evenly-matched rivalry. The Noles have now won three straight in the series, and the Canes now lead by a mere 35-33 margin. This should be another performance the Seminoles learn from and use as fuel. Next up, a tune-up game against North Alabama before the big Sunshine State Showdown against the hated Florida Gators.


Florida State Miami
Photo courtesy: Alicia Devine/Tallahassee Democrat / USA TODAY NETWORK


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