Let’s just get something straight off the top. Florida State is an underdog at Miami – and should be – but what I’m hearing from the so-called pundits that the Noles don’t stand a chance in this game is straight B.S.
Defense: Slight Edge Miami
Both defenses are really going to decide who takes this game over. You’ve got the difference between a defense that is doing and one that can do. Both defense are great at creating opportunities, but the edge is given to Miami because they actually capitalize on them.
FSU’s defense leads the nation in forced fumbles and is good at stopping the run, except Syracuse. Its weakness is something I’m not sure Miami can exploit: the secondary.
N’kosi Perry would have to be dialed-in and that’s a tough ask for a young quarterback against FSU defensive end Brian Burns who is quietly putting up numbers in the sack column along with being one of the nation’s leaders in QB hurries.
The question is this: is FSU making other offenses look better in the passing game or are those teams good? Dino Barbers, Justin Fuentes, Chris Hatcher and Bobby Petrino all have something in common; they’re offensive-minded. They are all good with spread concepts. Can Harlon Barnett stop teams out the gate, that is the question.
Manny Diaz has his Miami defense playing so well that the entire team’s identity is based around it. The defense has literally won or lost every game on the Canes schedule. Miami’s only loss was to LSU and that’s where the defense was caught slipping.
This defense gives up yards, but this is what they also do: create turnovers.
It doesn’t matter how many yards a team gives up if they can stop you from getting into the end zone. They also fly around to the ball – all 11 guys. This makes them fun to watch. The energy they play with can instantly change momentum.
They are also good at shutting down third down – ranked number one – and they have the ability to score on defense.
Offense: slight edge Miami
It’s tough for me to breakdown something non-existent, at times, for one team (FSU’s offense), and something skewed by playing against inept teams with the assistance of an explosive defense (Miami’s offense).
I will base this comparison off the two FSU games I was able to watch live and which made me kind of believe in them.
What makes FSU’s offense scary – besides its total lack of production at times – is that if you’ve played the game and aren’t looking at it solely from an entertainment value, you can see what’s there. The other factor is that when they are able to execute and run consecutive plays without penalties, they move the ball.
What has stopped FSU’s offense this year is FSU. No unit has been on the same page this year for an entire game. When the line blocks, the quarterback makes the wrong read or a wide receiver drops the ball. When the WR makes a great play, offensive line doesn’t block. When everyone is on the same page, there’s a penalty. That’s a lack of execution problem.
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