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Florida State Football: The Hidden Yards Vs. Miami

In a prime time rivalry matchup of top 10 teams, the Noles came out and dominated the Canes. Let's see what some of the numbers tell us.

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

If you are a Florida State fan, this game was rather magical. There are not many feelings in this world better than when your college football team of choice absolutely obliterates a bitter rival. I witnessed this contest from the stands and I felt rather uneasy about the overall performance of the team. However, after looking back at the numbers, Florida State completely dominated Miami (almost).

Miami is a vastly improved team from the one the Noles faced last year. According to football outsiders, Miami was the 17th best team, 13th best offense, and 28th best defense in the F/+ rankings. You could definitely argue that they are not a top-10 team as their BCS ranking indicated prior to the game, but definitely a top-20 squad. I included the almost tag when I said they completely dominated them, because I think the defense slouched a bit. That is by no means a bad thing though considering Miami has a very good offense with one of the best running backs in the country in Duke Johnson (whom the Noles consistently stopped save a few plays).

With all that aside, let's take a look at some of the stats.

Florida State's Offense
Result Possible Gained Plays Per Play % Gained
TOUCHDOWN 72 72 13 5.54 100%
Interception 73 2 2 1.00 3%
TOUCHDOWN 79 79 11 7.18 100%
TOUCHDOWN 80 80 5 16.00 100%
Interception 63 1 2 0.50 2%
TOUCHDOWN 83 83 10 8.30 100%
TOUCHDOWN 79 79 9 8.78 100%
Punt 75 3 3 1.00 4%
FIELD GOAL 69 61 12 5.08 88%
Totals 673 460 67 6.87 68%

  • Florida State gained 6.87 yards per play before garbage time set in. I'm setting garbage time at around the beginning of the third quarter, although you could argue that it set in a bit before. The Noles absolutely dominated the Canes offensively, which was to be expected. It is quite nice having a QB who throws 21-29 on 325 yards with 1 TD and 2 interceptions and still consider this his worst game of the season. The offensive line dominated Miami's DL quite consistently, giving Winston a clean pocket for most of the night. The throws that ended in interceptions for him were actually quite frustrating as he had all day to throw them, just made the wrong read and were arguably two of the worst throws of his career to date.
  • Only one drive was considered explosive for the Noles in this one (drives of 10 YPP or more). I'm actually slightly encouraged by this because I was almost beginning to question if FSU could have methodically long drives, the kind of drives that can absolutely decimate a defense. A methodical drive could be thought of as one that takes 10 or more plays. FSU did this 3 times (almost 4) and all of those drives resulted in touchdowns. What is even crazier is that those drives still had very high YPP rates.
  • Once again this offense is proving that it is wildly efficient, gaining 68% of all possible yardage in the game.
  • The Noles average starting field position in the game was at their own 25 yard line which I would categorize as pretty pedestrian. Despite this, the Noles keep proving every week that field position seriously does not matter to this team (even though we are statistically told otherwise).
Florida State's Defense
Result Possible Gained Plays Per Play % Gained
Missed FG 77 50 11 4.55 65%
TOUCHDOWN 65 65 5 13.00 100%
Punt 78 20 6 3.33 26%
Punt 75 -12 3 -4.00 0%
TOUCHDOWN 57 57 8 7.13 100%
Punt 69 0 5 0.00 0%
Interception 77 0 1 0.00 0%
TO on Downs 80 55 6 9.17 69%
Interception 58 3 3 1.00 5%
Totals 636 238 48 4.96 37%

  • Before garbage time FSU gave up 4.96 yards per play on 48 plays. This is really good considering that it was a low possession game, and Miami's offense is really quite good, especially when Stephen Morris isn't arm punting (he made some incredible throws early in the game). Normally I would like to see that YPP number a little lower, but it doesn't bother me too much in this case.
  • The Noles did give up one explosive drive to Miami, where they scored their first TD of the game. There was another drive that was almost explosive but ended on downs as the Canes were desperate to score some points towards the end.
  • The Noles only allowed Miami to gain 37% of their total possible yardage, that is once again, very good. I am very encouraged with how the run game has progressed as Duke Johnson was only able to average about 4.2 yards per carry in the game. Before his unfortunate season ending injury, Johnson was easily considered to be one of the best backs in the nation and was getting into the Heisman conversation at some point.
  • Miami's average starting field position was on their own 29 yard line, but only out gained FSU in hidden yardage by about 6 yards because they only had 9 meaningful drives, while FSU had 10. Advantage given to FSU here in neutralizing Miami when they had a slight field position advantage. Also, Cason Beatty only had to punt once. The offense is continuing the trend of not letting Beatty on the field almost at all.
So that's that. Domination over a rival, 8-0 on the season, and #2 in the BCS. Pretty darn good I would I would have to say. Wake Forest is next week and the Noles can clinch the Atlantic division with a win. I'll have another one of these articles written up after the conclusion of that game.

I always enjoy conversation on these topics, so if you have anything you would like to add, please post it in the comments section.