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Staff Predictions: Florida State Seminoles vs. Miami Hurricanes

The 4th-ranked Florida State Seminoles are hosting the Miami Hurricanes (6-3, 2-3 ACC) Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 05 Florida State at Miami Photo by Doug Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The 4th-ranked Florida State Seminoles are hosting the unranked University of Miami Hurricanes (6-3, 2-3 ACC) Saturday afternoon in what is expected to be a rowdy sold-out crowd at Doak Campbell Stadium. The annual rivalry game is being televised on the ABC Network with the kickoff scheduled for 3:30 p.m.

Florida State has won each of the last two meetings, 9 of the last 13 games, and holds a 12-7 lead in the series since the Hurricanes joined the ACC prior to the 2004 season. However, Miami leads the all-time series 35-32 in this nasty, bitter, in-state rivalry that dates back to 1951.

Florida State (9-0, 7-0 ACC) is one of just seven undefeated teams remaining in FBS. The Noles enter the game with the nation's 3rd-longest active win streak at 15 games.

FSU quarterback Jordan Travis is the Seminoles' all-time leader in total touchdowns, total offense, rushing yards, and rushing touchdowns for a quarterback. Travis has accounted for multiple touchdowns in 16 consecutive games which is the longest active streak in the country. Additionally, he has thrown a touchdown pass in 21 straight games. Travis is also the only active player in the FBS to have seven rushing touchdowns in four consecutive seasons.

With last week's 24-7 win at Pitt, Florida State clinched a spot in the ACC Championship Game for the first time since 2014. It will mark the Seminoles’ sixth trip to the ACC Football Championship Game and the first since 2014 (2004, 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2014) when they won their third consecutive ACC Championship title with a 37-35 win over Georgia Tech.

In the victory over Pitt, Jordan Travis accounted for two touchdowns, a 1-yard run and a 22-yard strike to Markeston Douglas, which extended his streak of throwing a touchdown pass for the 21st straight game. Travis completed 22 passes for a season-high 360 yards without Biletnikoff Award candidates Keon Coleman and Johnny Wilson who were inactive for the game. Without Coleman and Wilson on the field, Travis decided to spread the ball around and hit eight different players with his passes, led by Ja’Khi Douglas with six catches for 115 yards, both career highs.

Florida State’s offense leads the ACC in fewest interceptions thrown (2, 2nd nationally), fewest turnovers (5, 3rd FBS), scoring (39.6/game, 9th FBS), passing efficiency (162.68, 11th FBS) and fewest tackles for loss allowed (4.56/game, 26th FBS).

On the defensive side of the ball, FSU has the 4th longest streak of allowing less than 30 points in the 9 games played, which makes the Noles one of only six teams to not allow a 30-point game this season in the FBS. The last time Florida State held at least nine straight opponents to fewer than 30 points was a 12-game streak in 2015.

Florida State's pass defense is one of the nation's best, leading the country in opponent completion percentage of 48.4, and fewest passing touchdowns allowed at 4. The Seminoles defense also ranks 4th in opponent passer rating of 101.68. FSU (48.4%) and Ohio State (49.8%) are the only two teams in the FBS that have forced more incompletions than completions allowed this season. The last time a P5 team held its opponents below 50 percent completions in a season was 2018, and the last time FSU held its opponents below 50 percent completions for a season was during the 2012 season.

Last week, for just the 5th time in recorded FSU history, the Noles did not allow a third-down conversion (Pitt was 0-for-11). The Seminole defense has faced 50 plays inside their own 10-yard line this season and allowed just 12 touchdowns. FSU ranks 16th nationally in red zone defense, allowing points on just 74.1 percent of opponents’ drives that reach the 20-yard line, and its rate of 44.4 percent of red zone drives faced that result in a touchdown is 13th-best.

FSU Lombardi Award semifinalist Jared Verse is fourth among active players in FBS in career tackles-for-loss per game at 1.12, and fourth in sacks per game at 0.64 for his career. This season, Verse has contributed 26 tackles, 6.5 TFL, 4.5 sacks, recovered a fumble, and two pass breakups.

As to be expected, linebackers Kalen DeLoach (49 TKL, 5 sacks, 8.5 TFL, 2 FF, 1 FR), Tatum Bethune (44 TKL, 3 TFL, 2 PBU), and DJ Lundy (36 TKL, 2.5 TFL, 1.5 sacks, 4 BU, 1 INT) lead the team in tackles. Patrick Payton leads FSU defensive line with 7.5 tackles for loss. Thorpe Award semifinalist DB Renardo Green (30 TKL, 1.5 TFL, 1 INT) leads the team with 9 PBU as well as 1 interception.

The unranked Hurricanes have lost three of their last five games after starting with a win against Jimbo Fisher’s Texas A&M Aggies. While the series of events that led to two of those losses were hysterically comical to the Seminoles, they were gut-wrenching losses for the Canes.

In his second season coaching Miami, Mario Cristobal’s team has at least four turnovers in each of those losses, and quarterback Tyler Van Dyke has thrown 10 interceptions since the start of October.

In the 8 games Van Dyke has played, he has completed 170 passes on 251 attempts for 2057 YDS, 16 TD’s, and 11 INT’s. Should Cristobal decide to make a change, Emory Williams (36 completions on 48 attempts) is the only other UM QB who has seen any action so far this season.

Harry Parrish Jr. leads the UM ground attack with 469 yards and four rushing TDs, averaging 6.1 YPC. Freshman running back Mark Fletcher Jr. made his first start in their last game (loss at NC State) and rushed 115 yards on 23 carries and three short receptions.

Xavier Restrepo and Jacolby George have combined for more than 1,200 receiving yards and nine TDs as the top WR tandem for Miami. Miami is averaging 30.1 points per game, which is decent for a 3 loss team.

The unranked Hurricanes are currently the No. 19 in the nation in total defense (311.4 yards per game). Safeties James Williams (51 TKL) and Kamren Kinchens (43 TKL) lead the team in tackles. Kinchens is tied for third nationally with four picks and 21st overall with nine total passes defended (5 PBU). Freshman DL Rueben Bain, Jr. leads MIami in sacks (6.5) and is tied for fourth in the ACC in the category.

The Hurricanes are one of only 10 teams, and one of only eight in Power-5, to feature units that rank in the top 35 in both “total offense” and “total defense” entering Week 11.

Miami kicker Andy Borregales, a preseason candidate for the Lou Groza Award, is following in his brothers (2020 Lou Groza Award winner Jose Borregales) footsteps at Miami. Borregales has 51 career field goals on 60 attempts (85.0%), which ranks him as the second-most accurate among those with 50 attempts.

According to DraftKings, the Seminoles are a 14-point favorite against the Canes, with the over/under set at 50.5.


FRANK’S GAME DAY FLASHBACK - FEATURING SPECIAL GUEST MATT MINNICK

It’s been said that unlike the intense loathing that permeates through the Florida State/Florida rivalry, the FSU/Miami rivalry is one shaped with mutual respect for the high quality talent and independent spirit shared by both programs. And for much of my experience with Seminole football, I would agree with this notion. Miami and Florida State were so far and away better than the rest of college football some years that players, coaches, and fans of each program, in a masochist sort of way, relished the opportunity to go up against the other, knowing it was the ultimate measuring stick.

This did not apply in 1989.

With title dreams dashed, ‘Nole fans and players embraced the role of spoiler, hoping to keep the Hurricanes from a title just as they had done to Florida State the previous two seasons. Playing in primetime, Doak was at full capacity long before kickoff and a vengeance seeking crowd buzzed with electricity. With Miami players refusing to let Renegade race across the field, a pre-game brouhaha ensued and the atmosphere grew even more frenzied.

FSU came out swinging like Iron Mike. On the game’s first play from scrimmage, senior All-American LeRoy Butler picked off Gino Torretta. What happened next was pure Seminole ecstasy.

A perfectly executed play, followed by a spectacularly imperfect explosion of emotion and celebration. Let’s look at the play first:

A. The Seminoles lined up in the classic FSU I-formation, dotted by senior running back Dexter Carter who begged Bobby Bowden to let him start despite a lingering injury. Carter takes the simple handoff and bounces to his left.

2. Fullback Edgar Bennett gets a devastasting block on All-American linebacker Maurice Crum. Crum then tumbles into another future NFL linebacker, Bernard “Tiger” Clark, taking him out of the play as well. (Keep Tiger in mind...)

D. Carter sprints to the sideline and picks up another magnificent block, this one by Fab Four member Terry Anthony.

FMFFM. Carter turns the corner and blazes down the sideline, outracing a defense that led the nation in opponent’s scoring and was billed as the fastest defense college football had ever seen.

In all, the TD sprint was the longest run from scrimmage Miami had allowed up to that point and stamped Carter’s legacy as one of the school’s all-time greats.

Now let’s breakdown the accompanying jubilation (put in your ear buds and crank up the noise).

1. Already ebullient after the Butler interception, the crowd somehow reaches another decibel level as soon as Carter turns the corner and heads for daylight.

B. Carter starts raising his arms mid-stride around the 6 and half yard line, gliding into the endzone Usain Bolt style. The crowd crescendos into a deafening, space shuttle launching roar.

4. A series of chaotic camera jumps encapsulates the scene well. A person dressed as a gorilla raises the roof. Fans are falling over themselves, jumping in the aisles, and waving giant flags that have long since been banned (Those in attendance share stories of ending up three or four rows down from their actual seats when the mania finally subsided. And I can personally attest to seats and clothes getting doused with cokes, popcorn, and boiled peanuts).

FMFFM. A wild dog-pile, complete with Carter stop-drop-and rolling, takes place along the old chain-link fence. Seminole coaches are 10 yards out on the field pleading with guys to come back to the their sideline, while the Hurricane defense stares at each other dumbfounded and shaken by what just occurred.

In a rivalry filled with big plays and crushing hits by some of the greatest college football players ever, no play has stood the test of time in the minds of Seminole fans better than this touchdown run. Buoyed by the thunderous 1-2 combo that gave FSU a 7-0 lead just 23 seconds in, Florida State would go on to pull the upset 24-10. With the perspective of time, it’s arguably the only truly elite Miami Hurricane team that Bowden ever beat.

FRANK’S GAME DAY TRIVIA

  • Out of 67 matchups between Florida State and Miami, 32 have been decided by one score. 19 have been decided by a 3-points and 9 games have been decided by a single point.
  • Since 1995, there has only been one period in which a team was not on a win streak in the series (2007-2009).
  • Last year’s 42-3 Florida State win was the largest road victory in series history, while in 2020, Miami scored its most-ever points against the Seminoles (52).

A) Read what your TOMAHAWK NATION PROGNOSTICATORS think about this Saturday’s showdown.

2) Then look over and digest all of the FREE PREGAME CONTENT we’ve posted below.

D) We would love to hear your thoughts about how you feel about this game and your final score prediction in the comments.


  • NoleThruandThru (Season record: 9-0)

Remember when Mike Norvell and his staff flipped South Florida five-star defensive tackle Armondo Blount from Miami a couple weeks ago? Saturday is going to hurt even more. FSU bucks conventional 2023 trends, comes out strong, and the Canes basically quit by halftime. Touchdowns for Travis, Coleman, Wilson, Benson, Morlock, and Toafili.

FSU 45, Miami (FL) 19

  • Jon Marchant (Season record: 9-0)

Miami is very solid to good in some areas and very weak in others. Van Dyke isn’t healthy and can’t stop turning the ball over, especially when he is not pressured.

Meanwhile, FSUs last 5 weeks have followed the theme of not allowing opponents to score while the offense figures things out.

I think Miami will make some big plays here and there and their defensive line will give FSUs OL fits. It wouldn’t surprise me if it was a one-score game early in the 4th before FSU pulls away. It also wouldn’t surprise me if FSU blows the doors off the ‘Canes. Either way they can’t hang with the ’Noles for 60min. I think FSU covers.

FSU 33, Miami 17

  • LastNoleOfKrypton (9-0)

I expect FSU to get its dynamic duo back at wide receiver this week; Johnny Wilson has had a particularly strong week of practice and I’m expecting a big game from him. On the defensive side FSU’s safeties continue to develop (Conrad Hussey has come on and Shyheim Brown has played excellent football pretty much all year) and the front 7 remains one of the best units in the country. FSU’s defensive rushing stats are misleading; Quarterbacks are the ones that have had big games and back-breaking gains against FSU. Only two RBs have gone for over 100 yards vs. FSU, Duke’s Jaquez Moore and Syracuse’s LeQuint Allen (110 each).

Miami is limping in but that should mean that they’re toothless. Miami is talented up front with a true-freshman dynamo Reuben, some fast linebackers and two talented safeties in Kamren Kinchens and James Williams. Miami is stout against the run but the true weakness lies in giving up explosive plays.

That’s why I expect FSU to win going away. Two-man pass rush games and explosives down the field will lead to a victory over the Hurricanes.

FSU 42, Miami 17

  • Brian Pellerin (Season record: 8-1)

This is not the Miami team Florida State played a year ago. They are much more solid at the line of scrimmage and won’t be manhandled at the point of attack like that route in Miami Gardens last season. The problem? QB play. Tyler Van Dyke has been dreadful the last few weeks as he works through some injuries. The best player on the field is Jordan Travis and I have no concern that he leads the Noles to victory.

FSU 31. Miami 14

  • FrankDNole (Season record: 12-0)

If Florida State can keep Restrepo somewhat under control, and I think he may be Miami (FL)’s best offensive weapon, it should make the win easier for the Noles. The FSU defensive front should be able to handle their run game and that will make harassing the Van Spike easier. If he struggles, I have a feeling Mario will finally pull the trigger on him.

If you read my story above you will see where I pointed out that their two leading tacklers are their 2 safeties. I think their 2 safeties are going to have their hands full worrying about Coleman and Wilson on the outsides, Bell, Morlock, and Douglas down the middle, and Benson and Toafili sneaking out from backfield when not ramming it down their throats.

Oh yeah, then there is this fella Jordan Travis who will do his best to get the trifecta by beating UM for the third time in his finale against them. In the last 2 wins against the Canes, Travis rushed for 2 TD’s in the 31-28 FSU win at Doak in 2001, and threw 2 TD’s in the 45-3 FSU thrashing of Miami (FL) last year in their rented stadium. I think he will try to make a statement and Norvell will mastermind it.

I wish I could feel FSU’s margin of victory should be more, but this is Florida State and Miami (FL), and any fan of either team knows that anything can happen in this series.

FSU Seminoles 37, Miami (FL) 24

  • Jordan Silversmith (Season Record: 8-1)

Florida State Miami, what else needs to be said? Open up the windows and throw out the records because anything can happen in this one. No seriously, anything. We have no idea what Miami is and what version of the Hurricanes will show up on Saturday. On one hand, this is a team that does not have a power 5 win in regulation since week 2. On the other hand, this team could have been 7-1 and ranked in the top 15 two weeks ago if not for catastrophic coaching. The truth, as usual, lies somewhere in the middle. Florida State may struggle to run the ball against this massive Miami front, and could have difficulty throwing the ball to their tight ends against these Hurricane safeties. Plus, could freshman year Van Dyke come alive on Saturday? It’s not impossible.

That looks to be the best case scenario for Mario Cristobal’s team, and even that may not put them over the edge. Florida State should be as healthy as they have been in weeks as they play in front of their home crowd for the first time in November. Jordan Travis looks to be on another level right now mixing accuracy, pre-snap play calling, and adlibbing straight to a spot in New York City. The Seminole defense should possess the answers for a decent Miami receiving room with their most recent play against the pass.

I think Saturday night will look a lot like the Duke game. A team with question marks at the quarterback position, but stout along both line of scrimmages can keep their team in the game for long stretches. The difference, in both, was their second half play. Miami collapses in the second half more times than not and should eventually be worn down by FSU as they play heavy snaps during their second road game in two weeks. Win but no cover.

Florida State 31 Miami 21

  • Evenflow58 (Season record: 8-0)

I expect this game to look kind of like the Duke and Pitt games where the Miami defense holds FSU down and the Miami offense is able to bust a long to put up a score. However, I think the dam to break for the Miami defense. Their secondary against the FSU receivers is not a good match up. Will Miami play coverage like they did against UNC or will they blitz a ton like they do most of the time? There’s a lot of Manny Diaz’s defensive philosophy in this team but the big problem with a Diaz defense is that he didn’t learn a lot of restraint until going to Penn State and I don’t think this defense has either.

The biggest issue with the defense, and really the team as a whole, is consistency. One game somebody like Ruben Bain is living in the backfield and the next you barely hear his number called. I think Miami plays TVD and for them to have a shot at winning this game they either need to hope for a more vintage game from TVD or win the turn over battle, neither of which seems likely at this point in the season.

Florida State 31 UM 17

  • Perry Kostidakis (Season record: 9-0)

2021’s win over Miami was a jumping point for the Florida State program — the Seminoles are 20-4 since.

We saw Jordan Travis take a major step forward that night, solidifying his place in Florida State lore with a miracle 4th and 14. In the aftermath, he’s been at the center of FSU’s revitalization, the latest stop featuring a showdown against the team that helped spark it all.

Miami is an offensive mess (and is incapable of running or passing the ball, am I right), one that has shown no real signs of progress in its second year under Mario Cristobal. Defensively, they’ve found some pretty consistent success, only having given up 30+ points twice this season and Rueben Bain has flashed on the field as part of a pretty decent front — according to SP+ they rank 13th in sacks per dropback (8.6%) and 23rd in run stops at or behind the line (22.3%).

But that’s about the bulk of credit you can give. If FSU plays its A-game, it’s garbage time at the start of the third quarter. If we see the Seminoles’ B-game, shift that timeline slightly to the later in the third.

Florida State 38, Miami 3

  • Matt Minnick (Season record: 9-0; ATS: 6-3)

This will be my 22nd FSU/Miami game in person, including the 19th—and final one—I’ll witness from the Doak Campbell Stadium seats in which my old man raised me (our seats are among those that will be removed in the renovations). Pop isn’t around to see the re-birth of his beloved ‘Noles this season, but I know he’ll still be smiling from above as we beat the crap out of the visitors from Coral Gables.

FSU gets healthy just in time and after a tense first quarter filled with the typical aggression-fueled penalties that are a hallmark of this series, the Seminoles make it clear who’s the better team. Jordan Travis accounts for four touchdowns, Trey Benson adds one on the ground, and the defense punishes multiple Miami QBs in the game.

FSU 38, Miami 20


Florida State Seminoles vs. Miami Hurricanes

Pre-Game Coverage from Tomahawk Nation


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