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Penalties, field position huge in Florida State loss to Miami

Lack of execution, again, was Florida State’s undoing

NCAA Football: Syracuse at Florida State Glenn Beil-USA TODAY Sports

As has been the case for most of the season, lack of execution was Florida State’s fatal flaw, leading to a 27-10 loss at home to Miami on Saturday.

Things sputtered early in the first quarter for the Seminoles offense because of pre-snap penalties, putting FSU at a disadvantage both because of an inability to get the run going and an offensive line not built for downs with distance.

Poor offensive play combined with shanked punts titled the field position battle sharply in Miami’s favor. The Hurricanes had five drives start in Florida State territory, while the Seminoles crossed midfield just twice (the only two scoring drives from the home team all day).

The poor execution reared its head on defense, where Miami broke off multiple explosive plays to make up for its own offensive decencies. While Florida State did manage to recover a fumble, it missed on a a good amount of turnover opportunities, again playing into the field position issues.

Quarterback Alex Hornibrook was relatively ineffective in the game, throwing for one touchdown to Cam Akers but kept getting walloped either because of bad offensive line play or a reluctancy on his part to get rid of the ball. Akers himself struggled to get going, breaking off some big runs but overall being held in check.

Now at 4-5 on the season, FSU needs to win two of its last three games to become bowl eligible.