Thursday, October 2, 2008

Florida State-Miami Will Be Won In The Trenches

Florida State Seminoles 3-1 @ Miami Hurricanes 2-2
Line: Mia -2

This Sunshine State Rivalry does not have the same national cache it did in the 90s, but there is still no love lost between these two. FSU is coming off an impressive win over Colorado last Saturday. Meanwhile, Miami will try to regroup after letting UNC come from behind to beat the 'Canes last week.

FSU Offense vs Miami Defense
The Seminoles have had their struggles with turnovers at the QB position this season rotating Christian Ponder and D'Vontrey Richardson. Ponder is more of the drop back passer type while Richardson is apt to use his feet to move the chains. RB Antone Smith had a break out game last week against Colorado. This offense is averaging over 400 ypg including 209 yards rushing, but half of these stats come against FCS opponents.

The Miami defense is strong again this year led by their run defense. The Hurricanes are giving up just 65 ypg and 2.1 ypa. However, the young secondary is giving up over 200 ypg through the air including the game winning TD last week by the Tar Heels. Despite limited yardage given up, this unit has had trouble keeping teams off the scoreboard allowing 21 ppg.

Key: Is this Seminoles running game for real against a good defense?

Miami Offense vs FSU Defense
QB Robert Marve has shown promise in his first four starts despite splitting time with true freshman Jacory Harris. Marve is completing 66% of his passes while throwing 6 TDs so far. The running game is paced by Graig Cooper who is running behind an improved offensive line. Miami is averaging a stout 144 ypg on the ground thus far. The receivers are young, but are doing better than in seasons past.

FSU's defense has not let them down in recent seasons like the offense has and this season is no exception. The 'Noles are also very good at stopping the run allowing just 65 ypg and 1.9 ypa. FSU is allowing just 221 ypg and 10 ppg. Despite turning the ball over five time against Wake Forest, they held the Deacs to 12 points.

Key: Can the Hurricanes move the ball on the ground or are they forced to throw to a young receiving corps?

News and Notes...
Miami has won 7 of the last 10 in the series. The Hurricanes have lost 7 of their last 8 ACC games. This line opened at Miami -2.5, but has moved down to -2.

Despite somewhat lackluster performances by these teams thus far, this game will be very intense due to the nature of this rivalry. I think this game will come down to the rushing battle as both teams have been able to run and stop the run in '08. The QB play will be important as well in regards to which QB can avoid mistakes. Neither Marve or Ponder/Richardson has to win this game, they just can't lose it. I think Miami's stats are little more reliable having gone against better competition, but this one will be very close.

Miami 24 FSU 23
FSU Covers

Last Week: 2-1 ATS, 1-2 SU
13-5-1 ATS, 12-7 SU


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