Game #5 Preview: Miami (FL) Hurricanes Vs. #12 Florida State Seminoles


Game #5: Miami (FL) (3-1, 0-0 ACC) Vs. #12 Florida State (4-0, 2-0 ACC)

Where to Watch: 8:00 PM ET, ABC

Last Week: 

  • Miami (FL): Loss, 34-23 at Cincinnati
  • FSU: Win, 24-16 at Wake Forest

The Match-Up:

Consistent improvement out of the offense from week to week is what Jimbo Fisher and Florida State have hung their hat on early in the season. Coming off of the bye week, quarterback Everett Golson looked much more comfortable in commanding the offense, thus moving the improving offense even further in the right direction. Despite encouraging numbers from Golson on the surface (64%, 786 yards, 7 TD, 0 interceptions), those who watch the Seminoles on a week to week basis know that there is even more room for improvement on the offensive side of the football against the Hurricanes, as well as in the weeks to come.

Last Saturday against Florida State, it was apparent that Jimbo Fisher and the offensive staff intended on making it a priority to opening up the passing game with more passes deep down the field. Despite throwing a couple of the passes late, especially down the seams, Golson was able to show his inherent arm strength, which perhaps will lead to more of the same type of deep shots down the field in spots tonight against the Hurricanes. The receiving corps, currently being led by Jesus “Bobo” Wilson, must continue to become more consistent with catching the football, as the group has been plagued by drops at times throughout the course of the early part of the season.

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At running back, the ‘Noles are thin, thin, thin. Dalvin Cook is a game-time decision with the hamstring injury he suffered against Wake, and has been limited in practice all week. Meanwhile, his back-up, Mario Pender, was just released from the hospital late in the week as he continues to recover from surgery for a collapsed lung, an injury that he suffered during the team’s bye week. Summoned up next for the ‘Noles, with Pender out and Cook’s status in question, are sophomore back Johnathan Vickers and true freshman Jacques Patrick. Vickers carried the ball ten times for 33 yards and a touchdown after Cook left the game last week, while Patrick, buried on the depth chart, has not been featured much at all, but the consensus top 50 recruit shows a ton of promise and may be utilized more in the game this evening.

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports /

Defensively, the Seminoles will have to use their pass rush to stymie Miami quarterback Brad Kaaya. Kaaya, a true sophomore, has been extremely impressive in his two seasons with the Hurricanes, commanding the offense effectively while showing off his passing ability with passes both short and long. This season, he has completed 61% of his throws for 1094 yards and five touchdowns to only one interception. With that said, the one constant in the first two seasons that Kaaya has been at the helm is the fact that the offensive line has not done well in pass protection, so expect a large dose of Dalvin Cook’s high school teammate, Joseph Yearby, in the run game for the Hurricanes. Yearby has played quite well this season in his own right, rushing for 424 yards and four touchdowns, helping to take some of the pressure off of Kaaya in the passing game. With Nate Andrews likely limited with a knee injury at safety for the Seminoles, the pressure will be on cornerback Jalen Ramsey to slow down featured receiver Rashawn Scott, who has hauled in 23 passes for 307 yards and a touchdown this season. Scott has been more of a possession-type receiver than anything this year for Miami, but that doesn’t mean that he can’t break one if given room. His big play ability will be something that the Seminoles will have to key on in this contest, and I expect them to try to slow him down or completely eliminate him from the Miami offensive arsenal.


With Florida State yet to fully hit their stride on offense, what better way to break-out and perform than against a hated rival in primetime on national television? Golson will finally show an ability to push the football deep down the field to make up for the losses at running back this week. Additionally, there is a reason why the ‘Noles have had so much success in recent years against Miami, and the defense has why. Brad Kaaya is a good quarterback no doubt, but what was apparent in their loss to Cincy last Thursday night, was that if you continue to bring six, even seven defenders on the blitz against that offensive line, they cannot protect Kaaya. We will see a ton of blitzing by this Florida State defense, and perhaps a defensive touchdown or two to decide the final tally. I love the ‘Noles at home, especially when you consider the fact that the Hurricanes haven’t beaten a Florida State team ranked in the top 12 since 2004.

Florida State 35   Miami 14