« UM injury report for Florida State | Main | Gameday blog: No. 23 FSU at No. 13 Miami »

Who has the edge? Breaking down FSU-Miami

Saturday night at Sun Life Stadium, a sellout crowd and national TV audience will watch the 13th-ranked Hurricanes and 23rd-ranked Seminoles renew their rivalry. So, who is going to win? I don't know. But I have a feeling its going to come down to the wire -- just like the last three meetings have.

Here is a breakdown of who owns the edge on paper...

WHEN THE HURRICANES RUN THE BALL
> Damien Berry is averaging 4.9 yards a carry and Mike James is averaging 5.1 a carry. But the Hurricanes running game ranks 77th nationally (136.5 yards a game) and probably will not have its biggest home run threat in speedy redshirt freshman Lamar Miller (right shoulder). Graig Cooper, UM's leading rusher each of the last three seasons, is being listed by the team as probable after missing the last three games with an ankle injury. But how much Cooper will really be able to help remains to be seen.
> The Seminoles have only given up more than 100 yards on the ground once this season (103 on 43 rushes by Wake Forest) and held sixth-ranked Oklahoma to 93 yards rushing on 41 attempts. FSU's run defense, led by linebacker Nigel Bradham, is ranked fourth in the country (74.8 yards per game) and ranks second behind UM in tackles for loss. UM true freshman Seantrel Henderson and redshirt freshman Jermaine Johnson are still working out the kinks at right tackle.
> Edge: Florida State.

WHEN THE SEMINOLES RUN THE BALL
> Florida State has run for over 200 yards in each of its last three games and owns the nation's 26th best rushing attack averaging 208.6 yards per game. Junior Jermaine Thomas (5-11, 192), junior Ty Jones (5-10, 210) and sophomore Chris Thompson (5-8, 185) have each broken off runs of 50 yards or more this season and are averaging 6.3, 7.9 and 7.7 yards a carry respectively. Jones, who is returning from an ankle injury, could be limited Saturday.
> The Hurricanes' run defense will be the toughest the Seminoles have faced so far this year -- ranking 43rd nationally and fourth best in the ACC (Oklahoma ranks 80th in run defense)> The Canes also lead the country in tackles for loss (10.5). But UM has been prone to giving up a few long runs this season. Ohio State's Terrell Pryor had his moments scrambling for big gains and last week Clemson's Andre Ellington ripped off a 71-yard touchdown run. If the Canes can prevent those long runs they can swing this category their way. But for now...
> Edge: Florida State.

WHEN THE HURRICANES PASS THE BALL
> Jacory Harris has thrown 25 interceptions over his last 17 games as a starter -- including eight in his first four games this season. But he's also been very productive, tossing 34 touchdowns and averaging over 250 yards a game over the same span. Few receivers in the ACC have been as productive Leonard Hankerson (23 catches, 388 yards, 6 TDs) and few have burned FSU quite as often as Travis Benjamin, who plays his best against the Seminoles.
> FSU will counter with a stout pass rush. The Seminoles lead the nation with 25 sacks including 20 over their last three games. FSU's pass defense has improved since being scorched at Oklahoma (394 yards, 4 TDs) giving up an average of only 159 yards a game while producing four interceptions and allowing only three touchdowns through the air. But as talented as sophomore cornerback Greg Reid is, the rest of FSU's secondary is young and the Seminoles rank 60th nationally in pass efficiency defense. The Canes have also only given up six sacks in their first four games.
> Edge: Miami.

WHEN THE SEMINOLES PASS THE BALL
> Three-year starter Christian Ponder has enjoyed some big games against UM in the past. This season, he's averaging 168.8 yards passing and has eight touchdown tosses against only three interceptions. Receiver Bert Reed (28-251-1 TD) has been a steady and consistent short-yardage target. But FSU's offense hasn't been able to get the vertical game going much in part because of an offensive line that has given up 11 sacks in five games. The return of three-year starting left tackle Andrew Datko (shoulder) will help Saturday.
> But the Hurricanes are is good as anyone in the country at shutting down opposing passing games. UM ranks second nationally in sacks (17 total), No. 2 in pass efficiency defense and has five interceptions in their last two games.
> Edge: Miami.

SPECIAL TEAMS
The Hurricanes have All-ACC kicker/punter Matt Bosher, who is one of the best in the country, and are one of only two teams (USC is the other) to score on a kickoff and a punt return this season. But in terms of kickoff and punt coverage units, FSU has done a better job statistically this season than UM. Where the Seminoles struggle is on kickoff returns, where they rank last nationally and UM ranks 22nd (averaging 25.2 yards a return). But FSU kicker Dustin Hopkins has 19 touchbacks on 33 kickoffs compared to Bosher's four touchbacks on 25 kickoffs this season. Hopkins has also made 16 of his last 20 field goal attempts. Greg Reid, who led the nation last season in punt returns, has already taken one back for a touchdown this season. UM has had a field goal and extra point blocked this season. FSU blocked a punt in its season opener versus Samford.
> Edge: Florida State

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

You forget about the 2 we housed at OSU on special teams?

Manny??? Wow FSU has all these advantages? I doubt it. Miami is better than FSU in the return game, and with Bosher kicking and punting. You think FSU's undersized front 7 is going to win the battle against Miami's big physical running game? FSU is smallish up front, and Miami should have success running behind Franklin, Washington, and Henderson! With FSU having this many advantages in your opinion how is Miami favored? Take care!!

FSU has the ability to break big runs like Clemson. Gap responsibility will be key in prevention of potential big play cut back.

Not sure how Manny came up with his breakdown. UM has more talent across the board than FSU, a team that has beat up a few cupcakes at home and lost big time to the only quality team it played. No way FSU is better on special teams, and its "26th-best rushing attack" has come against inferior teams.

The Canes have been their own worst enemy, but still have managed to beat some tough teams on the road. If they put together four quarters of crisp, disciplined football, the score could get ugly.

miami has more to lose at this point. and harris tried hard to give clemson the win, but fsu has really played no-one since okla. this would give us a real chance for a great season with a win, so go canes.

well for sure fsu has the better quarterback

Damn Manny its seems to me you're pulling for the Noles how about our punt returns for TD's was that a dream or something and last time i checked we have one of the best defenses in the state. Yeah i know J12 and his INT's are a problem but i believe the teams we've played on the road have been of a higher caliber than FSU. My money is on the home team always has been and always will be. GO CANES!!!!!

gators suck

No matter how many picks Jacory throws, none will be his fault.

Breakdown of his INTs this year:

3 to the WRs
2 the tooth fairy's fault
3 Larry Coker's fault
1 Sante Claus
2 Mark Whipple's
3 Donna Shalala's
2 to some dude posting on his twitter account
3 legit ones though go to Waaaaandy Shannon's poor coaching

Manny.

Love ya homie but FSU with those advantages....PUHLEASE! 36-17 The U...Watch us tomorrow!

Manny you have many good thoughts,,, one variable you do not list , Who Wants It More!
CANES - The U by 7 points in a slugfest.

I don't care if the New Orleans Saints take the field tomorrow tonight! Go Canes! get it done and dominate this team.

FSU will zone blitz till thay get burned doing soooo, look for the TE to break out. Then out of the same formation watch for the delayed draw. It'll be ugly in the trenches......real ugly. Pad level will be a key. Which ever team resorts to trick plays looses.

i dont think this one will be as close as past years. canes by double digits.

Manny, you over rely on stats without considering the level of competition. FSU has yet to beat a team that will even finsih the year with a winning record.

Manny, your picture makes you look like a nerd and so does your post. Move to Tallahasse and let the herald hire someone with a little more knowledge of the game.

what the hell happened to overhyped Jef luc? i thought he we suppose to be the second coming of derrick brooks

FSU = deer in the headlights just like Oklahoma. This wont be close.

I dont understand how fsu has the edge on our running game. Sure we dont rank to high overall running but yds per cary avgs are against some good teams. Fsu's yds are against teh dregs of college football.2 Miami has stopped osu and pitt and clemsons running games. NO offense but look at what those teams do best run the ball and how does fus have the edge running against us? Im sorry clemson is a better running team then fsu. miami except for one huge run by ellison kept there backs to under 3 yds per carry. As for pryor hes a beast compared to ponder. Pryor is 250 ponder is easier to tackle then pryor. Miami has done a pretty good job on scrambling qbs other then pryor who broke enough tackles to get the yds he got.

J12 and The Jugernauts will handle business tonight. J12 plays much better at home and doesn't throw as many picks at home. And even with the picks he is deadly accurate on 90% of his throws and moves the team. Our D will be the KEY!! D-Line is playing off the charts and oh yeah there's a guy named Sean Spence who is having an All American type season who'll be wearing the Orange and Green. LETS GO CANES!!!!!!!!!

Miami and FSU - both in the Top 25 - will meet for the 55th time in front of a sellout crowd in a rivalry that always entertains.


Re the old days ?

wonder where Ponder be tweeting from this morning ?

Top 20 waaaahtt,

Why now does this game sellout? I've been at games with only 35K people. Where are the others coming from? Typical SFLA fans, without question, the worse in the country

game day baby! 38-24 go canes!!!

this guy does not know anything

The national rankings, such as run defense and rushing offense are based on yards per game, not yards per attempt, which would be more accurate. For example, Manny downplays Oklahoma's rush defense as being ranked 80th nationally. But one of Oklahoma's games was against Air Force, who runs nearly every play. So if you removed 100 or so extra rushing yards to unscew the data, maybe OK's defense isn't really 80th best.

Ponder sure has the statistical edge over Harris? 170 yd avg., 8 tds, 3 int. very impressive. Why are people still talking about him as one of the best QB's this year. I guess that td/ int. ratio tells the story. Clemson is simply better than FSU this year. FSU will finish 3rd behind Clemson and NCSU in their division. Maybe even behind UNC.

Go Canes!

This Miami team has one problem and one alone...interceptions. In the first half against clemson we were moving the ball on every drive and only the interceptions kept 10-14 additional points off the board. Our D is better than theirs. Clemson and Pitt are MUCH better than UVA and BYU, and I wouldn't trade our backs of O-line for theirs at all.

Come on Manny, you getting nervous or something?

Go Canes!

Manny: Your analysis was too generous is assessing the Canes. Every one of the fans posting above was wrong. Miami was inept in every facet of the game and the vaunted Miami defense gave up in the fourth quarter. I remember when Jimbo Fisher was with the LSU team that beat UM 40-3. LSU scored on eight consecutive possessions and Miami Defensive Coordinator, Randy Shannon, did not have a clue as to what was happening or what to do. It was the same in this humiliating loss. Shannon just cannot compete against a good coach in big games. Forget about all the BS about experience, maturity, depth, etc., blah, blah,blah....Shannon's team was crushed by a first year coach rebuilding the FSU program. Miami is unlikely to beat a ranked team this year.

The comments to this entry are closed.