NCAA Football: Florida State/Miami Preview

by Big Al Staff

Florida State and Miami (FL) continue their annual rival as the prime-time game for Saturday night on ABC. The broadcast starts at 7:30 PM ET.

Miami (FL) is off to an impressive 2-0 start this season after they defeated Louisville on the road last Saturday by a 47-34 score as a 2.5-point favorite. Second-year head coach Manny Diaz appears to have solved the team’s problems on offense over the last few seasons with two inspired additions to the program. He started the transformation with his offense by poaching Rhett Lashlee away from SMU in the offseason to become the new offensive coordinator and install his version of an up-tempo spread offense.

Diaz then convinced D’Eriq King to transfer from Houston to South Beach to be the Hurricanes starting quarterback. King completed 18 of 30 passes last week for 325 yards with three touchdowns against the Cardinals defense to lead Miami to the victory. King is also dangerous with his legs as he rushed for 85 yards in the Hurricanes opening 31-14 win over UAB. His mobility has helped to make an offensive line that allowed 51 sacks last season to appear improved. Miami has had their quarterback sacked only three times so far this season.

The Hurricanes’ defense is, once again, loaded with playmakers. A couple of transfers in defensive end Quincy Roche, a grad transfer from Temple, and Jaelan Phillips, who came over from UCLA two seasons ago, lead the defensive front. Miami already has 18 tackles for loss in their first two games. Yet the Hurricanes needed three takeaways last week to overcome the 516 yards of offense that Louisville generated. The Cardinals had success in both their rushing and passing attacks as they gained 209 yards on the ground along with 325 yards in the air.

Florida State has had an extra week to prepare for this game after getting upset at Georgia Tech two weeks ago by a 16-13 score despite being a 13-point favorite. Things started well in the first game of the new era of head coach Mike Norvell as the Seminoles scored 10 points on their first two drives. But Florida State then saw three of their subsequent drives stopped from two fumbles from quarterback James Blackman and one interception by Blackman. The Seminoles also failed to convert two 4th down opportunities, which resulted in them scoring just three more points the rest of the game.

The Seminoles face the additional challenge of playing this game without Norvell on the sidelines after he tested positive for COVID-19. Norvell has coached the team to prepare for this showdown but will not make the trip to Miami. Norvell is considered an offensive guru who called all his plays as the head coach Memphis. It will be offensive coordinator Kenny Gillingham who will call the plays for this game. Gillingham was Norvell’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach with the Tigers from 2017-2018 before he took the offensive coordinator job at Auburn last season. Tight ends coach Chris Thomsen will serve as the head coach on the sidelines for Norvell. Thomsen was the head coach at Abilene Christian for 2005 through 2011.

These proud programs have something to prove after both settled for 6-7 campaigns that ended with losses in their bowl game last year. Miami has won the last three meetings between these in-state rivals after upsetting the Seminoles in Tallahassee on November 2nd by a 27-10 score as a 3-point underdog.

BetOnline has Miami as an 11-point favorite for this contest with the over/under set at 53.5.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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