TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami) – Throw out the records and get ready for a rivalry game that harkens back to the heyday of the 1990’s as Florida State and Miami are set for a Top 10 match-up Saturday night at Doak Campbell Stadium.
Miami’s offense will have two jobs on Saturday. First, the offense needs to be able to do what no other team has been able to do against FSU, put up points in bunches. Second, the Canes would like to keep moving the football to keep dynamic FSU quarterback Jameis Winston and his explosive offense on the sideline.
Most of that responsibility will fall on the shoulders of running back Duke Johnson and an offensive line that averages 313 pounds per lineman. Johnson is the No. 11 rusher in FBS, racking up 117.6 yards per game for the Hurricanes (7-0, 3-0 Atlantic Coast Conference)
“What doesn’t he do well? That’d be easier,” Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said when asked about Johnson. “We could have a shorter conversation. He makes you miss. He’s very durable. He’s strong. Has got great balance. Has got great body control. Catches the ball out of the backfield. Blocks. I mean, that guy is a competitor and just a complete football player.”
Only one team has been able to stay within shouting distance of Florida State this year, Boston College. The Eagles forced the issue with a ground and pound attack and banged out 200 yards on 45 carries against FSU’s defense.
Since then, FSU’s defense has come to life and the defensive line has been abusing opposing offensive lines and stuffing most run games.
Cornerback Lamarcus Joyner believes Florida State will be successful if the front-seven wins the line of scrimmage.
“Smash-mouth football. You have to embrace that,” Joyner said. “If you don’t, you’re going to get smashed.”
When the Canes are on offense, they will face the fourth best scoring defense in the country. Florida State is allowing just 13 points per game and the numbers could be better had FSU not struggled against Boston College.
The Seminoles defense held Clemson to 14 points, dominated North Carolina State last weekend in a rout and shut out the Maryland Terrapins earlier this season. FSU’s run defense has been suspect at times, but still is ranked 30th in the nation, allowing 135.7 yards per game.
While Duke Johnson will need to find some room to run, the Canes’ passing game could face a big problem with FSU. Miami quarterback Stephen Morris has been inconsistent most of the year and he will be facing the nation’s top passing defense.
FSU allows just 153.7 yards through the air per game. The Noles have also given up just seven passing touchdowns all season, but have pulled in 10 interceptions in 2013.
And while FSU’s defense is great, Winston and the offense aren’t any slouches either. FSU’s offense ranks fourth in the nation in total yards per game (553.7) and is ranked third in points scored per game (52.6).
Miami gives up less than 17 points per game, meaning the proverbial irresistible force will meet the immovable object on the field at Doak Campbell Stadium Saturday night.
If Miami can withstand an early barrage of punches from FSU and a very hostile crowd in Tallahassee, the Canes have a shot at pulling an upset. But Duke Johnson will have to have a big night against the Seminoles’ feisty defense.
While FSU has been getting the upper hand in recent years, Tallahassee hasn’t been a death sentence for the Canes. Miami is 4-2 in their last six games at Doak Campbell Stadium, outscoring FSU 172-137 in those games. The two losses at Doak were by a combined seven points.
And while FSU is heavily favored to blow out the Hurricanes, if the game gets close, FSU fans may be dreading seeing a field goal kicker taking the field. But, this year, FSU has freshman kicker Roberto Aguayo who has made 58 consecutive kicks including 10 field goals.
But, Aguayo hasn’t attempted a pressure-packed kick to this point in his collegiate career. Miami’s kicker, Matt Goudis, is 6-9 on field goals in 2013.
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