Florida State columnist predicts Seminoles win in close contest

Photo credit: FSU Media

It’s that time of year again for the No. 13 Miami Hurricanes football team: Florida State week.

To preview the annual matchup between the two rivals, The Miami Hurricane sat down with FSView and Florida Flambeau columnist Michael Hudak to get his insight on the big game.

TMH: Clearly the Seminoles’ season took a turn when redshirt sophomore quarterback Deondre Francois got hurt in week one. What was the reaction like on campus? How did the students feel?

MH: Losing a starting quarterback never goes over well. Like Miami, FSU fans were not only eagerly waiting for the season to begin but also thrown off by Hurricane Irma’s effect on the entire state of Florida. These fans just want to see their team play, regardless of who’s under center.

TMH: Freshman quarterback James Blackman has gotten a taste of ACC football, and, as expected, has had some ups and downs, completing just 56 percent of his passes. How do you predict he fares against his first ranked opponent?

MH: This game will be tough for the true freshman. Miami’s defense is the best that he will have faced so far, besides his very limited reps in the season opener against Alabama. Not unexpectedly, Blackman hasn’t been efficient throwing down the middle of the field. However, he has proven that he can bounce back from inadequate drives and handle a pass rush. The key to his and the offense’s success is to start this game well. FSU has not been efficient to begin games this season on offense, and if the trend continues, Miami could smell blood in the water if it doesn’t already.

TMH: Florida State’s defense came into the 2017 season with high expectations. Most believe the Noles haven’t lived up to them, as they are ranked 39th in the country in yards-per-play allowed and 88th in opponent passer rating. They also have only recorded one interception. Is this the game where the FSU defense finally gets it together?

MH: No defense had held Alabama’s offense to under five yards per play and under 300 yards of offense since 2014. FSU’s defense accomplished both of these, while single-handedly keeping the Seminoles in that season opener until late in the game. Their performance against North Carolina State’s offense was near unacceptable, and it should’ve been much better against Wake Forest, too. At home, against a rival that they haven’t lost to in seven years, I think Florida State’s defense rectifies some of their early-season inefficiencies.

TMH: For the first time since 1983, Miami will be the only ranked team in the UM-FSU annual matchup. What are your thoughts on this? And how does this change the attitude, if at all, fans in Tallahassee have for the game?

MH: Doak will still be rocking. Fans will still show up and show out. Players will come to play. Miami is still a team that hasn’t won in Tallahassee since 2009, and both Nole and Hurricane fans know that. Nothing has changed.

TMH: Game prediction … and why?

MH: Miami is the better team coming into this matchup. They have the better offense, a more productive defense and more momentum in that stupid gold chain they wear on the sidelines than Florida State has in its entire football program.

It doesn’t matter.

Miami will lose this game the same way they lost last year’s meeting. Get ahead early, slow down, fall behind and then catch up – only to lose on a late blunder.

FSU 23 – Miami 20.

Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. Oct. 7, at Doak Campbell Stadium.