Florida State Opponent Preview: Miami

It’s time for one of the greatest rivalries in all of sports; Florida State vs Miami! No matter what’s at stake this one always guarantees to be a heated, high-energy thriller. I don’t know if we’ll see quite the ending as last years 31-28 wild game in Tallahassee but if you aren’t excited for this game I don’t know what to tell you. When it comes to FSU vs Miami, you can throw out stats and records and get ready for a good rivalry game.

For FSU, a win gives them bowl eligibility, 2 wins in a row over their in-state rival and momentum in recruiting. In my opinion, it would be a major disappointment to lose to THIS Miami team as bad as they’ve looked. On paper, FSU has performed better and against considerably better competition too. But in a rivalry that 15 of the last 20 meetings have been decided by one score or less, nothing is guaranteed.

Let’s start with some stats for the game and compare both teams head-to-head in the graphics below. One stat to note, Miami is averaging 27.1 PPG but against P5 teams that number drops to just 17.6 PPG. A big theme of everything we talk about with Miami is the weak strength of schedule they have played. The combined record of Miami’s opponents so far this season is 31-33 whereas FSU’s is 38-26. Miami has played 1 team currently ranked in the College Football Playoff rankings, FSU has played 4. This carries a lot of weight when comparing resumes between teams. 

Head to Head Comparison graphic
Head to Head Comparison graphic

Offensive Preview

After battling injury for a majority of the season FSU looks to be as healthy as they’ve been since the LSU game as they prepare to face a struggling Miami offense. Having Fabien Lovett and a healthy Jared Verse will  be key in pressuring Miami. 

Miami got their best receiver Xavier Restrepo back last week but still didn’t manage to score an offensive touchdown vs UVA in 4 overtimes. A lot of that had to do with TVD not playing. His status is still uncertain, but Cristobal is optimistic he’ll play despite some mixed reports. It will obviously be a huge factor whether he plays or not, and if so, how close to 100% is he?

Although he hasn’t looked comfortable in their new offense and struggled to the point of getting benched vs MTSU, he’s still a talented QB. Without TVD, Miami will turn to Jake Garcia who has not looked good and been a turnover machine so far. 

Whoever starts will be behind an offensive line that has seen some struggles this year allowing 21 sacks and not running the ball effectively despite playing some poor defenses. They will also be throwing to a receiving core that lacks a real threat and has 20 dropped passes this season. Miami will have Restrepo back and Will Mallory is a talented tight end. 

Miami Offensive stats
Passer Profile TVD

Defensive Preview

Miami does have a solid defense with some good pieces and a legit front four. But they’ve only faced two offenses ranked in the top 90 in FBS so how good are they? They already gave up 38 offensive points to Duke and Middle Tennessee State who also put up over 500 yards on them. Their secondary has some talent played but has underperformed this season.

FSU has already faced LSU, NC State and Clemson who all have good defenses. They are also currently on a 3-game streak of rushing for over 200 yards which included games against two against top 25 rush defenses. I look for FSU to establish the run game here as well including Jordan Travis’ legs. That should help FSU get the pass game going with Johnny Wilson and I also look for Mycah Pittman to have a big game against his former coach. 

FSU’s biggest concern in this game will be staying out of their own way. If they can avoid penalties and turnover I think they will be fine. I can see FSU breaking into the high 30’s here which feels like enough to win the game.

Miami Defensive stats

Final Thoughts and Prediction

One other thing I noticed is that Miami has not played a team with balanced strength on BOTH offense and defense so far this season. Every team has either had a good offense and bad defense or vice versa. Or they were just bad at both. FSU is currently ranked Top 25 on both sides of the ball and has played a tougher strength of schedule than every one of Miami’s opponents besides Texas A&M. 

This will be the second highest ranked offense Miami has seen and the best defense so far this season. Miami did hold North Carolina’s top 10 offense to only 27 points but they did allow 470 yards in that game. How FSU performs in the red zone will be key in this game as they have moved the ball well but struggled to turn that success into points.

Miami has had some success in the return game which could be something to watch on special teams. However, Mycah Pittman has had some nice returns as well and Ryan Fitzgerald hit two kicks last week which is nice to see.

This will be the biggest crowd at Hard Rock of the season, but it may be a home game for FSU. Miami also has a 2-3 record at home so it’s not exactly the hardest place to play. Both teams will be motivated for this one and I expect both to bring their A game. It just feels like Miami will have to play thier best game of the season and hope FSU makes critical mistakes to win this one.

IF TVD plays, and looks close to 100%, I think they will keep it a little closer. If Garcia starts, I think the game will get out of hand. Either way I think FSU gets it done in Doak South. Norvell knows this is a chance to make a statement against a struggling Miami team that could pay dividends going forward. Give me…

| 𝐅𝐒𝐔 𝟑𝟖 – 𝐌𝐢𝐚𝐦𝐢 𝟏𝟕 |

Thanks for reading, and Go Noles!

Enjoy this article? Share it on social media so others can too! We thank you for your support.

PTS podcast logo

Be sure to check out the Plant The Spear Podcast for those who bleed garnet and gold!