MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The University of Miami Hurricanes need a victory Saturday night to keep their bowl hopes alive, the only problem is arch-rival Florida State will be standing in the way at Sun Life Stadium.
UM comes into the game against the Noles as a heavy underdog. The Canes are 4-3 on the season and have been crushed the only other two times this season they have faced a ranked opponent. Fourth ranked Kansas State beat UM 52-13 and fifth ranked Notre Dame crushed UM 41-3.
UM’s offense, despite the numbers in the Notre Dame game, hasn’t been the problem for the Canes. Quarterback Stephen Morris, who is not certain to play against FSU, has led a dynamic passing attack and over a course of two weeks earlier in the season threw for more than 1,000 yards.
Overall, the Canes average 27.9 points per game, according to cfbstats.com, but have been held to just 17 points over their last two games, losses to North Carolina and Notre Dame. Now, the Canes’ offense has to deal with the Noles’ defense, which is one of the best in the nation.
FSU’s defense is ranked fourth in the nation in scoring, giving up just 11.6 points per game this season. Through seven games, FSU’s defense has surrendered a total of 524 rushing yards and is giving up just 2.45 yards per opponent’s carry.
Overall, FSU’s defense is allowing just 3.45 yards per play in 2012. The Noles are doing it with one of the most dynamic pass rushing defensive end duos in the country. Bjoern Werner and Cornelius Carradine have 18 tackles for loss and 13.5 sacks on the season.
Opponents of the Noles have had little to no success on third down, converting just 22.94 percent, and are struggling in the red zone, 76.92 percent conversion rate. But the Noles are not a one-trick pony as the offense is just as dynamic as the suffocating defense.
FSU has scored at least 49 points in a game five times this season and has gained more than 600 yards of total offense four times in 2012. Overall, the Noles average 46 points per game and gain on average 7.85 yards per play on offense.
It looks like a lop-sided matchup on paper, but this is also the Florida State versus Miami rivalry. It used to dictate which team would be contending for the national championship every season. While it won’t have that kind of pressure this year, it will be in prime time for the first time in several years.
The Noles and Canes will kick off on Saturday night at 8 p.m. on ABC/ESPN.