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3 posts from November 2, 2013

November 02, 2013

Halftime: FSU 21 Miami 14

Florida State has had several shots to grab control of this game so far, but they have not been able to completely take it over.

With the ball back on their own 20 -- mid-way through the second quarter -- FSU had a chance to grab the momentum of this game and they capitalized on it, going five plays for 80 yards to make it a two score game. 

But after forcing a quick three-and-out they were unable to put their foot on the Hurricanes' throats. Jameis Winston has now thrown two interceptions -- including a very costly pick late in the 2nd quarter when the Seminoles had a chance to go up by 21 -- and Miami has turned it into 14 points.

The game started out tight.

Florida State came out and scored on their opening possession. Jameis Winston wasn't as sharp as he's ever been but still managed to go 4/7 as FSU punched it in on a 13 play, 72 yard drive to open things.

Miami got the ball and had some early success running it, but failed to score after a field goal went wide left. The failure was short lived though. UM turned Jameis Winston's first interception into points on the very next drive when Stephen Morris found Allen Hurns on a beautiful ball to beat single coverage.

But Florida State's offense quickly rumbled back -- even in spite of itself at times -- and went back ahead. James Wilder capped an 11 play, 79 yard drive with a one yard touchdown run to put the Seminoles back up 14-7. 

After a drive that saw UM come up on the wrong end of a forward progress call (Telvin Smith was credited with a tackle a split second before Duke Johnson broke free), the Hurricanes punted and FSU once again began to drive the football. 

Whereas FSU had been forced to drive the ball on their first two scoring drives, this time FSU connected on a big play. Miami sent a blitz and the Seminoles had the perfect play dialed up, Jameis Winston let the rush get close to him and then dropped the ball into Devonta Freeman's lap on the screen for a 48-yard touchdown. It put FSU up 21-7 and put UM on the spot.

A three-and-out gave FSU the ball back but Winston's second pick set UM up near mid-field and they were able to score a touchdown with just 22 seconds remaining in the half to make it 21-14 with the teams heading into the tunnel. 

Stephen Morris has looked as solid as he has all year. FSU has given him some opportunities to throw and he has taken full advantage -- the highlight being on a near-perfect 33-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter. In turn Duke Johnson has had room to run and Florida State has found themselves unable to get the 'Canes into the third-and-long type of situations they thrive in. Not to mention UM has converted a few third-and-longs too.

Offensively for the Seminoles Jameis Winston has been a little off and FSU has had several uncharacteristic penalties -- but they can move the ball. 

This game is far from over, UM gets the ball to start the second half. So far they have played like the number 7 team in the nation.


For all the latest Florida State news and updates, follow Patrik Nohe on Twitter...

Pregame: Miami at FSU


It's here, Florida State and Miami square off in just a few hours as one of college football's greatest rivalries finally returns to form. Florida State University set a new record for media credentials issued this week. Both teams are in the top ten. ESPN's College Gameday was here. On paper this should be a great game.

Vegas disagrees. The Seminoles are 22-point favorites in this one. A lot of people shrug that off -- and admittedly it's a little bit of a gray area when you ask a college athlete to comment on a betting line -- but Vegas oddsmakers don't just throw darts at boards and jot down the corresponding numbers. There's a reason these multi-million dollar operations have chosen to put so much faith in the folks they pay to determine these things. Somebody said to me the other day that if you take the logos off the sides of the helmets and just look from an analytical standpoint that this game shouldn't be close. That's what oddsmakers do and they would agree.

But as Jimbo Fisher so commonly reminds people, sports are not scripted entertainment -- it's competition. And that means anything could happen. 

Here's some pregame reading:

Miami at FSU Preview [From Print]
Previewing the Opponent: Miami Hurricanes
Five Things to Watch For
FSU Injury Report

More Coverage: 

A Look Back: Uncle Luke and Devonta
FSU Receivers Taking Pride in Their Blocking
Defense Starting to Mix Things Up
The Tao of Jaboo [Miami Week]
Jameis' Cool Rubbing Off on Teammates [From Print]
Jameis Winston on Pace to Rewrite FSU Record Books

FSU's Fisher: Let's Not Even Make a Preseason Poll
FSU Not Worried About Style Points
Mondays With Jimbo [Miami Week]


For all the latest Florida State news and updates, follow Patrik Nohe on Twitter...

Five Things to Watch For: Miami at FSU


Here are five things to watch for when Florida State and Miami renew acquaintances tonight at 8 PM.

1.) Can Stephen Morris exploit single coverage?

Miami can't win this football game if they can't run the ball. Florida State knows that and they are going to try to load the box on running downs and trust their corners and safeties to be able to handle their responsibilities in single coverage. Given that FSU sports the number one pass defense in the nation, that isn't bad logic either. If Miami has any shot at pulling the upset tonight Stephen Morris has to prove he can beat single coverage in order to loosen up the box. And he has to do it early. 

2.) Can the Hurricanes' secondary hold up?

Florida State has the best trio of wide receivers that Miami will see all year, Nick O'Leary has turned into a consistent redzone threat and Jameis Winston is decisive and accurate. If Miami's secondary can't at least slow down the Seminole passing attack it could be a long day for the Canes. Depending on whether UM tries to blitz, their job could be even harder too. Either way, Miami has to keep Florida State from hitting on big plays and they cannot afford to miss tackles. FSU's offense can put up points in seconds, Miami can't let that happen. They need to force FSU to drive for them.

3.) Does Miami blitz Jameis?

“I think they’re really going to try to put pressure on Jameis. But you know -- you’ve seen him play -- he’s going to react to that," Kelvin Benjamin said on Tuesday.

Added Kenny Shaw: "You’re still going to see blitzes because you’ve got to test him -- he is a redshirt freshman and it’s still new to him -- but we just work it every week [in practice] is what teams don’t realize though, they can keep bringing it.”

So far this year Jameis Winston has had no compunctions about eviscerating secondaries when teams blitz him. He doesn't mind stepping into a throw and taking a hit and he consistently exploits single coverage. Not to mention his escapability. If Miami blitzes they better get there or Winston might have a field day.

4.) Who gets the big special teams play?

This series has seen more than its fair share of pivotal special teams plays. Whether it's big returns or missed kicks, it seems like there's at least one big play every year. Miami has the edge at punter, FSU has a slight edge at placekicker and both teams have returners that are capable of housing kickoffs or punts in the blink of an eye. A Florida State special teams miscue could be an equalizer that would help Miami pull out an upset tonight. A Miami special teams miscue could be fatal. 

5.) Who loses their cool?

All week both teams have talked about how much they respect one another and how it's a brotherly game or a friendly rivalry -- stop. This is the first time in years that both teams have had something to play for when they met. The fans hate each other. There are players on FSU that have a chip on their shoulder over not getting recruited by "the U." Miami feels like they have something to prove and still have a bad taste in their mouths from losing to FSU the past few seasons. This game always gets heated and this year won't be any different.


For all the latest Florida State news and updates, follow Patrik Nohe on Twitter...



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