For ‘Canes football, no matchup this season will mean more than when they play against Florida State on Saturday at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee.
The two teams have played each other once a year for the past 54 years, and the ‘Canes lead the series all-time 35-32. However, the undefeated ‘Noles are the No. 4 ranked team in the nation and are looking to protect their home when kick-off occurs at 8 p.m.
Here’s what four members of The Miami Hurricane’s sports section are predicting for the game:
No. 4 Florida State remains undefeated, while Miami has lost three of its last five games. The ‘Canes come into Tallahassee as 14-point underdogs, and with the way the ‘Canes have played as of late, that might be a generous line against their long-time rival.
One of Miami’s (many) weaknesses during its underwhelming stretch has been the secondary. While All-American safety Kamren Kinchens has made splash plays, the rest of the defensive back room has been inconsistent at best.
Enter wide receiver Keon Coleman. The third-year wideout leads the ACC in receiving touchdowns and has a case for being the nation’s best wideout not named Marvin Harrison Jr. Miami will need to key in on Coleman, but with the secondary’s struggles against significantly lesser receivers, I’m not sure the ‘Canes will be able to hold back the Seminole offense.
Overall, I don’t see Miami ending Florida State’s perfect record, and I don’t even see it being much of a fight.
Prediction: Florida State 35, Miami 14
A once 4-0 Miami team full of optimism has dropped three of its last five contests, now sitting at 6-3.
In last week’s game against NC State, quarterback Tyler Van Dyke and the offense looked completely out of sync, only mustering six points against the Wolfpack. Van Dyke, who began the season with a bang, has disappointed in his first two games back from injury, as he has thrown five interceptions and has yet to throw a touchdown since his return.
Meanwhile, the Florida State Seminoles look like one of the best teams in the country and have already clinched a spot in the ACC title game. The undefeated Seminoles have looked top-notch for most of the season, with convincing wins over teams like LSU and Duke.
Their explosive offense, led by quarterback Jordan Travis, has looked excellent and consistent all year, as Travis has totaled 26 touchdowns with only two interceptions.
While this Miami team is better than the squad that was embarrassed at home by FSU last season, playing such a well-balanced team on the road may prove too much for the ‘Canes. The Hurricanes will have to play an almost perfect game to have a shot against the Seminoles, which seems unlikely based on how the offense has recently performed.
I expect Miami to be in for another rough one against its rivals to the north.
Prediction: Florida State 41, Miami 13
Heading into this rivalry matchup against the undefeated Florida State Seminoles (9-0, 7-0 ACC), Miami needed to come in with momentum. Still, after losing three out of its last five, the ‘Canes season is crumbling at the worst time.
Tyler Van Dyke’s recent struggles may only get worse this week against a Seminole defense that comes into this week ranked No. 15 in scoring defense, allowing just 17 points per game. Questions remain about who will start the game at quarterback for Miami, as Coach Cristobal has not announced a starter. Still, whether that is Van Dyke, Emory Williams, or Jacurri Brown, I do not think the score will be heavily impacted.
Moving over to the defensive side of the ball, forcing turnovers is essential if the ‘Canes want to pull off this rivalry upset. However, slowing down the No. 9 ranked Florida State offense, scoring almost 40 points per game led by elite quarterback Jordan Travis, will likely be even more of a challenge than putting points on the board themselves.
Unfortunately, Florida State is the better team and will show that on Saturday.
Prediction: Florida State 33, Miami 17
The ‘Canes face their toughest test of the season traveling to Tallahassee to face the undefeated and fourth ranked Seminoles. Heisman hopeful Jordan Travis, leads a balanced offense ranked 7th nationally in both points per game (39.6) and yards per play (6.8). The balanced attack averages 5 yards per rush (16th) and 9 yards per pass (18th). Defensively, FSU is 10th in the country giving up a paltry 17 points per game. While FSU pass defense is strong in its secondary, where they are second nationally in opponent completion percentage at 48%, they are only a middle of the pack run defense giving up 4 yards per rush.
For Miami to have a chance at the upset, they need to run the ball successfully with their quartet of backs Henry Parrish Jr., Don Cheney Jr., Ajay Allan, and Mark Fletcher Jr. control the ball and the clock and keep FSU’s potent offense off of the field. The other key is for the ‘Canes to win the turnover battle, which means Tyler Van Dyke has to cut down on the interceptions and make quick throws to Xavier Restrepo. If they do this then Miami’s strong defense can keep them in the game and give the ‘Canes a shot of pulling off the huge upset.
Ultimately, I believe that the ‘Noles have too much on both sides of the ball and have too much to play for with the football playoff in the balance to stumble against its interstate rival. Miami’s terrific defense will do its best to keep it close, but FSU will pull away in the fourth quarter.
Prediction: Florida State 31, Miami 16